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Interview with Aiden Leslie

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Divine Magazine is thrilled to be able to interview singer-songwriter Aiden Leslie about his music career, his success to date and his inspiration for his songs

A man obsessed by Elvis in his formative years, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. He started out in an off-Broadway play and learnt about music creativity both in front and behind the scenes, and also found time to scour the local vinyl shops with the sound engineers for musical treasures J

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Aiden. I’m really pleased to be able to welcome you to Divine Magazine.

 

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Your music appears to be rooted in emotional baggage, personal tragedy, and life experiences in general. As a writer myself, I can understand the need to use personal emotions to move people, whether it be music or words. Tell us a bit about your music and the specific inspiration for the lyrics and melodies that you write.

For me, expressing myself through my music is like my therapy. (laughs). I’m always writing down what I’m going through at that moment.  Sometimes it’s a line or two that evolves into something more later down the road or sometimes I write an entire song in 15 minutes. The process is never the same for me.  When it comes to melodies, I find myself walking down the street and hearing a melody in my head…for some reason when I’m strolling the city streets I tend to hear chords and sounds and I go from there. I will grab my phone and sing it quickly so that I don’t forget. Also, when I’m working with a producer it’s very common for them to give me a 15 or 20-second loop of a beat and I will immediately hear something…I love writing this way as well.

Your new song ‘I Just Go’ was written when you say you were at a low point in your life. Too much partying, mixing with the wrong people and just generally being unable to slow down on the roulette wheel of life. What prompted you to write this song and did you manage to get back to where you wanted to be in both your career and your life?

Yes, you’re absolutely right in everything that you said…it was all of that. I remember walking down West 45th street in the city. It was cold, the wind was blowing…it was dark. I was alone and so sad with the way my life seemed to be turning out. It was at this moment that I began to write the “I Just Go” The lyric that says, “I walk along the street, my head held low, feel the cold wind it blows.” That’s how it started. I wanted the melody to reflect the “But, I Just Go”, but holding the “Go” and allowing it to trail off…because in that moment I had no idea where I would end up. There is a purpose to every note and word. It took awhile, and I would say I did hit a bottom in my life, but I did manage to get back up and move through it. Music was a big factor in this for me.

In terms of being an out, gay performer, have you come across any difficulties or stigma attached to who you are? Everyone has their friends and their foes and I imagine you’re no different. Is there anything particular you feel you can share with us in your journey to be yourself and manage a highly successful music career?

Well, that is the key…to be yourself! For so many years, I really did try to conform to the music industry and what I thought I needed to be in order to find success. But, it wasn’t until my single “Worlds Away” came out that I decided to no longer care what others might think and just do what I loved. It was in that moment that everything changed and my career really started. I think because I was being authentic to myself and that ultimately translated to everyone that was listening.

AidenLeslie2 GiovanniMartins loFor a little bit of fun and for the avid fans out there – You mentioned in a recent interview you like a person to be direct and honest and tell you what they want.  You also mentioned you liked them to smell good 🙂 Tell us what your ideal partner might be if you could order one from ‘Partners R Us’.

LOL, well…that’s a loaded question! Everything that you just mentioned for sure, but also I have to say that chemistry is so important. It’s like lightening in a bottle…it’s rare. So, when you meet someone and you have that, I try to pay attention and say something as soon as possible. I like someone that takes care of himself physically, and keeping things fun is also important the older I get.  My life can get so hectic and serious that having somebody make me laugh is important!

From a song like ‘Diamond Dreams’ which is a funky, upbeat dance track, and ‘Trying To Leave Now’ to your latest song, ‘ I Just Go’, which is a string-driven ballad, it’s quite a difference in style and rhythm.  Have you got a preference for a specific type of music or is it an ‘anything goes depending on my mood’ thing?

I would say that all my tracks have a pop vibe whether it’s more dance or more of a ballad. I think it’s important to keep trying new things but still keep a “thread” the sound. With “I Just Go,” I feel like this current production really fits the mood of what I wanted to say, but it’s also great on just a guitar as well. Any well-written song will work however you decide to do it. That’s always a barometer for me.

What advice would you have for anyone trying to break into the music business? I interviewed Dario recently and he basically said, ‘Don’t’ give up, keep trying, your day will come.’ Is this an idealistic view, do you think or is it that anyone can get anywhere if they try hard enough and believe in themselves?

I think that is true, to do what you believe and never give up. But, I see so many artists that do not understand that it’s a business as well…you must approach it that way in order to break in. Work on your brand and take it seriously. Think about how you might be perceived and go for your market…who are they? Target them. There is a lot of competition in the music business and there are so many great artists, but being talented will not always break you into it. You need more than that. You need a tough skin. You have to work your connections and constantly knock on doors…staying persistent is the key. And most importantly, try to build a team of people that believe in you is crucial. You will need support when you have low days to sustain you, and I think that is key to longevity. Ultimately, you’re artist, but you’re an artist playing a game. Think of it that way and I think you will see results that may surprise you.

 

“I Just Go” – {Official Music Video} – Aiden Leslie

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http://aidenleslie.com

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