Brother Leo is a real craftsman. The Swedish songwriter can spend years on just one song, refining it, honing it, and pushing it further towards excellence. Astute, lyrical pop music as only Scandinavia can truly conjure, his slim catalogue to date is peppered with emphatic singles, glorious choruses, and bittersweet effervescence.
New single ‘Barcelona’ continues his journey, and when Clash grabs Brother Leo on the phone for a quick chat he’s all bluster, excitement, and laughter, relishing the opportunity to share something new. “Oh I’m definitely excited!” he exclaims. “I want to show people and get it out there, along with the other songs I’m really proud of.”
The story of ‘Barcelona’ goes back a number of years, with Brother Leo drawing on a whirlwind few months in the Catalan capital. “I wrote down lyrics for in one hour and it was basically done,” he recalls. “Then we worked on the music. The best feeling is when they work together, it’s like they connect. It’s the relationship between those two that creates the magic”.
There’s certainly something magical about this Swedish artist. Breakout singles ‘Push Up’ and ‘Shine’ had a viral impact, gaining millions of plays across the globe. It’s a case of pure, simply artistry winning out – carefully sculpted, there’s a deeply human, openly emotional core to his work.
“I mean, you’ve got that Swedish formula, the Swedish math for pop music,” he jokes. “I know all about that but it doesn’t really inspire me, if that makes sense. So I want to get out of that box. Sometimes I can feel that songwriters get a bit too brainwashed with that. I want to be more free when I create music and I don’t want to limit myself to certain rules.”
Highly independent, he develops close relationships with those around him, deep, trusting bonds that help to elevate his music. ‘Barcelona’ was actually recorded in London - “I have two homes, Stockholm and London” - alongside Dan Grech, a vastly experienced producer.
“Oh he’s an amazing producer,” the songwriter marvels. “I mean, we had a proper demo so that the direction of the song was pretty much there. But I definitely think he got that, and he connected with it, and he finished it, basically. It was exactly what we wanted.”
Right now Brother Leo is fixated on his music, constantly writing and visiting the studio. More singles are planned, and an album remains in his sight. “There’s so much more,” he says. “I just want put out a body of work that fully explains who I am as a musician, a songwriter, an artist.”
Closing, we chat about his appearance at a Clash Live event in 2018 – his first performance onstage as Brother Leo. Nervous but effortlessly charming, it’s been followed by some huge support slots, with the rising Swede embracing each challenge.
“Performing is so important to me,” he notes. “That to me is the closest to religion I will probably get.”
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