Leo Stannard is a dream in every way – beautiful face, beautiful voice, beautiful songs and all around nice guy. We catch up with the singer-songwriter to talk about his upcoming album, his tour and his first song about his cat.
How would you describe your sound?
I suppose on first look I’m a singer-songwriter but I’m trying to take that to a whole new place. The raw song will always be the most important thing for me but I’m not scared to experiment in the production as well – a combination of the old and the new.
How did you get into song writing?
I’ve been writing songs since I was ten years old, so it’s something I’ve always done. I don’t know how I got into it – I just always wanted to create stuff. The first song I wrote was about my cat, a classic.
What is your song writing process? Do you start with a melody and build up words around it, or do you start with the words and story and then write music to accompany it?
I normally get all the melodies in place first and then by that point, I’m subconsciously singing words with those melodies and that’s normally a sign of something good. Then I build a concept around that and if it works, I take into the studio. Having a creative structure really helps me.
Have you been working on an album?
I have! I’ve been working on it since I was 17. The album is the biggest thing for me so I’m going to make sure it’s perfect. It’s going to be a proper journey, not just a random collection of songs.
Is it hard to make an album? Did you struggle picking the final song list from all your material?
I’ve been planning this since the moment I started to write music so it’s been a long journey and obviously the song list has evolved massively. I’m writing new songs even now at this late stage of the record, which could feature.
You’ve been getting a lot of radio play now – what’s it like to hear yourself on the radio?
It’s incredibly humbling. Simple as that. I’m very grateful for some music to be played anywhere.
Who are your musical heroes? Have they influenced your own music?
A hero for me is Neil Young. He’s definitely influenced me with his pure song writing. I’m constantly listening to Damien Rice, Kendrick Lamar, Claude Debussy, Melody Gardot, Robert Glasper, Snarky Puppy. I’m not sure if they directly influence the music I write though, I think their drive, fearlessness and creativity is what influences me.
London is renowned for its music scene. How has it inspired or developed you as a musician since you moved her?
I’m from a very small village near Leicester, and in Ragdale you’re very much in your own zone, so being in London opens you up to so many more things and that can be very inspiring. You get to mix with people who are in similar positions as you as well, which is great.
Where are your favourite music venues and regular haunts?
My favourite venue back in Leicester is The Cookie where I’m actually playing on my UK tour this October. I seem to be spending my time in different places all the time at the moment and in London. My dream is to headline the Royal Albert Hall.
You’ve been touring a lot. What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
Just playing the songs and connecting with all the people that have come to watch, it’s an amazing thing. It’s kind of like a therapy for me as well – pouring out all that emotion makes me feel so much better.
What’s been your most memorable moment from your tour so far?
When I played in Brussels with Rudimental – that was a crazy night. There were all the terrorist scares around at that point, so there was talk of pulling the show. But in the end everyone decided to go ahead with it and put fear to one side and it was a big moment.
You’re from Leicester and they’ve had a pretty phenomenal time lately – are you a football fan? What do you do to relax from music?
I used to play for Leicester Academy but music took over sport when I was younger! Football is a great way of getting away from music for a bit, especially if you’re a Leicester fan!
What else can we expect to see from you in the next year?
More music, a whole range of collaborations, again pushing my own boundaries when it comes to sound. I’ve got this UK tour in October and I’m getting more and more into live streaming on socials because there are lots of fans from around the world who I need to connect with.