"The whole idea behind Brother Leo was to create an honest and creative space for me that forced me outside of my comfort zone" We chat with Brother Leo
Hey Ola, what have you been up to today?
Been meditating, done a couple of interviews and just finished the second verse on a song I’ve been working on for a year now which is big relief.
Introduce yourself to our lovely readers.
I'm an artist and songwriter who releases music under Brother Leo’. I’m Swedish and live between Stockholm and London at the moment. I don’t eat meat and I love to gamble.
Tell us about you, what’s your first memory of playing music?
It’s probably singing this old Swedish tune with my grandpa on his balcony. Then my mum pretty much forced me to start to take piano lessons when I was about five, which I'm really happy about now but at the time I just wanted to play football! Then I joined a church choir a couple of years later. We sang and played a lot at home, there was always some kind of music going on in some form.
Obvious, and probably annoying, question, why Brother Leo?
The whole idea behind Brother Leo was to create an honest and creative space for me that forced me outside of my comfort zone. To create something new for me to be able to challenge and stretch myself creatively both as an artist and a songwriter. The name specifically comes from a reoccurring dream I used to have as a kid, about a twin brother, who I called Leo.
What can you tell us about your new single, ‘Shine’?
It’s the first song I wrote for my upcoming album, and in a way it was also the start of Brother Leo. It’s about unfulfilled dreams, a question and a search for something more. I was in a pretty dark place when this song came to life and the writing process turned out to be quite therapeutic and became some kind of turning point for me, both personally and creatively. Thinking of it now, three years later, it's pretty crazy how much of an impact this little tune has had on me.
You’ve done a video for the song, how much hard work was that? Or was it all fun?
It was definitely a lot of hard work to try to get it to a place you're happy with but I also love seeing an idea getting developed and created. Creating stuff for me, whatever it is, has always given me the biggest highs but also the deepest lows for some reason… I guess it's because it never really ends up as you see/hear it in your head which sometimes is painful, brutally frustrating and sometimes filled with a lot of anxiety but I guess that's also the beauty of making stuff.
What’s your approach to writing songs?
It’s very different every time, sometimes I have a line or a concept/story I know I want to write about. Other times I have a little melody I recorded on my phone and just let the melody tell me what the songs about. As long as it makes me feel something I'm happy.
What kind of thing have you got recorded already, are you looking at a single, EP, or album soon?
I have a couple of upcoming singles that are finished which I'm super excited about. Then I'm working on an album that hopefully will see the light early next year.
You’ve worked with Norman Cook, how did that come about?
A couple of years ago before I really knew what I wanted to do with my music a friend of mine sent out a couple of my demos to some people in the industry without me really knowing about it…Somehow the demo of 'Strangers On An Island' ended up with Norman, and then later I was asked the question if I wanted to work with him!! He’s a legend and a mad magician when it comes to sounds. I’ve always been a big fan, so the whole thing was a bit surreal to be honest.
Who inspires you the most?
People who don’t follow the stream.
What kind of thing is on your Spotify playlist?
Last week has been all about D’Angelo.
What’s been your coolest experience so far?
Recording the London gospel choir on one of my songs were huge to me on so many levels - that's definitely one of them.
What’s coming up for you in 2019?
More new music will be released. I'm also going to be supporting Take That on their European tour which will be a lot of fun and then hopefully I will get some time to spend in the studio.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
To find out more about Ola (aka Brother Leo) you can visit his website. You can also check out Brother Leo's socials.