So it’s the start of another year at Bloggerhouse and what a wonderful way to start it off, than with a debut release from a artists who has been making features and writing songs for longer than Bloggerhouse has been around. The wonderful Mina Leon has an upbeat energizing attitude complimented by a soulful voice with a passion for music. Although Mina Leon is very serious about her music, as you can see from the pictures below she also likes to have some fun. With her debut solo release “Running Red Lights” dropping today I was fortunate enough to get some time to chat with her so that she could tell us a little more about herself, her music, and her future.
Bloggerhouse: Whats up Mina, why don’t you give the readers who may not know who you are a little bit about yourself.
Mina Leon: Sheesh…this is always the hardest to answer! There’s so much about me that I want people to know! But I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest Condensed version: I’m a singer/songwriter from DC but currently, I’m based in Okinawa, Japan where I spend most of my time working as a songwriter for other artists and do a lot of feature work on everything from Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Rock, and I’ve most recently been working with artists in the EDM realm. For the other 99.9% of my life, I’m a VERY proud mom of the awesomest little girl in the universe…but that’s all she’ll let me say since in her mind, she’s far from little anymore. She gets embarassed easily, so I’ll stop there. *giggle*
BH: I know songwriters don’t like to kiss and tell, but from a feature standpoint who are some of the artists you have had the pleasure of working with?
Mina Leon: Oh man! The list is very long. But I’ll stick to my favorite features I’ve done: Ollie Ox Grill’s “Glass Coffin”, Hus Kingpin’s “Dreams”, K-Beta’s “Come Closer”, Tese Fever’s “Extraordinary”, The Real Jay Mills’s “It’s Only Love”, and Maria J’s “Cell Block Tango”… I told you the list was long! There’s so many more but those are the ones that stick out the most.
BH: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you want to work with ?
Mina Leon: Oh yes! I would love to work with Eyerone, Pro’verb, Mary-eL, Common, Adele, Res, again…this list could go on and on but I’ll stop there.
BH: So how long have you been making music?
Mina Leon: I’ve actually been making music for over 14 years now and I’m blessed to have been able to for this long…I hope it keeps on keepin’ on!
BH: Oh wow so you have been doing the music thing for a while now, why did you wait so long to put out your solo album?
Mina Leon: To be honest, songwriting and arranging are more so my passion than actually singing my material. Something about hearing a song I’ve created being interpreted artistically by someone else, I guess. The process is actually really dope to experience. Since that’s my main focus, that takes up a lot of my time. But so many people I’ve worked with encouraged me to write and release an album of my own, and I simply followed their advice…Hence Running Red Lights was born.
BH: Well that’s respectable, tell us a little bit about Running Red Lights, was this a conceptual album, what was the inspiration for it.
Mina Leon:Running Red Lights isn’t a conceptual album at all. I just wrote songs about my life and specific events that touched me a certain way. So really, each song is a concept all on it’s own. There’s nothing really cohesive about the records when you put them together because IMO, life doesn’t really work that way. We each have a plethora of experiences that don’t necessarily make sense when you jumble them all together, but individually, you understand why those things had to happen at that exact moment, in that exact order, for you to continue on your path. That’s why I chose the name Running Red Lights: because my life, my music, my passion continues to drive me when everything else just seems to be at a standstill (the intro to the album explains this in more detail). So as cliche as it sounds, the inspiration for this project really was in essence my life, in real life. I just really hope everyone enjoys hearing it!
BH: Thats pretty amazing, so it seems that Running Red Lights is not only your debut album but its also an album that lays it all out for your listeners about who you are. Was it hard to make the switch from letting someone else musically interpret your writings to having to make the interpretation yourself?
Mina Leon: Well I’ve always had to musically interpret my writings as far as reference tracks go…then the artists take that and run with it…so there was no real transition, in that respect. Since they were personal, I just kept them for myself to share with the masses.
BH: How would you rate your first solo album experience?
Mina Leon: An emotional rollercoaster. So many things run through my head that it’s hard to pinpoint just one feeling. I’m happy it’s done, I’m pleased with my work, but I am also nervous about how it’ll be received… it’s crazy how many feelings there are.
BH: Are there any plans or talks for a follow up album ?
Mina Leon: Of course, I plan to have a follow up album…but not quite yet. Currently, I am working on a collaborative project with Tese Fever called “Soul Danger” which I am VERY excited about. She is an amazing lyricist and I am honored to be working with her on a full-length project. Scratch that, ECSTATIC.
BH: Well Ms. Mina, i do appreciate you taking the time to chit chat with me, do you have any last parting words for our readers?
Mina Leon: Well thank you, for supporting indie music and taking the time to talk to me! I had fun! And to the readers: Spread love, folks. It’s contagious.
Here is my personal favorite off of the Running Red Lights album “New Day”
Check out the wonderful Ms. Mina Leon at the links below: