With his debut EP, the Brooklyn singer-songwriter reflects on all he’s lost—and finds himself in the process
At its most powerful and pure, art exists not just as a means of expression or form of entertainment but something that hits on a deep human level. An act through which the creator is able to transform and transcend their pain, to take the bad and make something beautiful. It’s both a noun and a verb: a resulting product that make others feel less alone and a process that hopefully, on some level, helps the artist heal as well.
A prime example of is (thisbodyisntmine), the debut EP from LEONE, the solo moniker of the artist formerly known as Richie Bee from queer glam rock band DEITRE. Written during the height of the pandemic, as the artist grappled with world-shaking change and life-altering loss, the music was a means for working through trauma a tragedy—an enlightening creative and personal journey that, at its end, saw the artist emerging stronger on the other side.
“Overall this album was written during quarantine, and came from a place where I felt like I had lost everything,” LEONE said. “Death was all around me. Death of self, Death of relationships, death of my band, physical death of people around the world from Covid. As well as actually having a moment to process my father’s death that happened five years ago. I feel like I found myself as a solo artist though because of all the things I was going through. I have learned that there is power and metamorphosis that lives within sadness and emotional struggle.”
Ahead of the release, LEONE sent over insights on each of the EPs seven tracks, a stirring set of songs on life and death, breaking up and waking up, created to cope, communicate and connect. Music written for others, and as others, all while serving as a means of self-exploration, -expression and evolution for the artist himself.
(thisbodyisntmine) — TRACK BY TRACK
“Don’t Let Them In”
“‘Don’t let them in’ is meant to set the tone of the album. When I wrote the song it was actually raining outside. I wanted to take the listener to the environment I was in when I wrote it. The song was the first thing I wrote following my breakup. Reflecting on relationships, and how I have a tendency of losing myself when in love. I also open up about the infidelity I seem to keep experiencing within my relationships.
‘Next thing I knew, I was out the door. / Was I out the door before I came? / I’ve been here before / Walking out the door / Blame it on their fucking Novocaine.'”
“‘Monochrome Colors’ is code for ‘Death’ and me processing actual death, versus death of relationships and death of self.”
The interlude is suppose to take you on a journey. In my mind, I see it being a goodbye to the physical world and physical body.
“I run away from time / Watch the hand unwind / (thisbodyisntmine) / all in due time / I leave a broken world behind)”
“Talk to Me“
“‘Talk to me’ was written while I was living with my partner during the pandemic. We were having serious communication issues, and the song poured out of my one night around 2am. It was an attempt to connect with my partner and let him know how I feel. The song was presented to him when he returned from work one day, and nothing really changed. The music video (for the most part) paints the picture of actual events.”
“Back to You”
“This whole album was written during the pandemic. I was watching a lot of relationships dying around me. A friend and his partner decided to break up and move out. When speaking to him about it, he mentioned wanting to write him an email saying that he misses him, and wants to try to figure it out. After getting off the phone with him, ‘Back to you’ poured out of me. It’s basically the letter that I would’ve written if I were in his position.”
“You Should Know”
“Originally ‘You Should Know’ was going to be the title track of the album because this song is very special to me. When the song came out of me, I was very much ‘waking up.’ I had a beautiful night with some friends after the breakup where we did some MDMA and wrote citi bikes while the sun was rising in BK. That night I realized the power of friendship, and how I actually had been feeling suffocated for a lot of my relationship due to insecurities my ex partner had. His issues bled into us, and ultimately I felt like I lost myself.”
“It’s Not Goodbye”
“This song was actually written for my roommates that I chose to leave for my relationship. On the album though, it carries a nostalgic tone throughout. Reminiscing of life and change. Not to be so morbid, but it feels like a funeral song to me.”
Plus! Catch LEONE and RONI—along with Silvia K. and our cohost Arlo Indigo—TOMORROW NIGHT at STRONG LITTLE SONGS 4, a living-room fundraising show for Planned Parenthood. BYOB + Donation-based, and BdBK is matching the first $100 in donations. DM @bandsdobk for address or email us at bandsdobk [@] gmail. <3
Feature image (provided by the artist): Jeff Buckholz