So, let's see what happens when Laney Lebo visits Section 36 Music!
I loved your recent debut single “Helium”. What can you tell me about it?
I wrote Helium for a class probably around this time last year for a class. The assignment involved really digging deep into your music history/roots and pulling out musical elements that define them. I’ll get into more specific examples later, but I’ve always been inspired by singer-songwriters with an emphasis on lyrics, vocal harmonies, and ambiance. The resulting song was my favorite I had ever written at the time, the first one where I felt very confident in my choices. I love the melody, harmonies, and especially the central metaphor and meaning of the song. I felt it was one of the first I wrote that really defined and expressed real emotions/experiences I’ve had personally.
What was your favorite part about the recording process?
Recording the harmonies! That’s always my favorite part of the process. Building the tracks up part by part is so satisfying to me, especially when it comes together for the final product.
You are currently attending Berklee College of Music. What’s the biggest thing Berklee is doing for your career?
Attending Berklee has allowed me time to figure out exactly where I want to be in the future. Before coming to Berklee, I didn’t believe that I was a well rounded “musician” to branch out into anything other than performance, so having time to take different classes and slowly build my skill set in terms of writing/arranging/producing has been incredibly valuable for me. I needed guidance and time to learn how to be an artist, as well as who I am as an artist.
Who or what would you consider your biggest musical influences?
My main influences (and the ones I referenced when writing Helium) are Sufjan Stevens, Hozier, Ed Sheeran, and Fiona Apple. Ed Sheeran’s first album, a super stripped, lyric/storytelling-focused collection of songs, was my first musical love. The song “Wake Me Up” blew my mind with lyrics that went on forever, depicting such clear and personal moments, accompanied by an incredibly scarce piano part. This is the first instance I remember appreciating simple songwriting, as well as the idea of hiding intricacies and creating a specific ambiance. I could go on forever about the other three, each of which have their own specific element that makes me love them so much (Sufjan’s melancholy lyrics and tone, Fiona’s vocabulary and moody chord choices, Hozier’s joyous and complicated arrangements).
What would you say is your biggest career challenge?
Getting stuff done. I am really bad with writing on my own time and work much better with deadlines, so I’ll definitely need to find an alternate writing process once I’m not in school and no one is expecting work from me:)
What are your immediate career goals?
My goal right now is to write more music that I love and build my rep. My first goal when coming to Berklee was to make money making music in any way possible. I’ve accomplished this since I joined the gig band scene and played few paid gigs of my own this summer. Helium coming out also feels like a great base-level achievement. The next goal is to make money playing MY music. :)
Let's see if we can help Laney reach those goals!