The Story of Leni Black
A Lifetime of Music
Spot on reflective of Leni Black’s confessional, diaristic, no-holds-barred songwriting style, the emerging Boston based singer has no issue with letting us in on two of her most important inspirations as an artist.
Sure, she lists all the popsters that aspiring performers of her generation adored – from Britney and Christina to the Dixie Chicks, Robyn and Savage Garden. In high school, it was all about the electro pop of Lily Allen. And Leni has fond memories of her dad blasting the Grateful Dead and her mom listening to Carole King and Carly Simon alone in her room. But beyond those greats, deeper to her core, as she gears up to release her infectious debut single “Barcelona Butterflies,” Leni unabashedly admits that she owes so much of what she is – and the music she writes and sings – to her beloved grandparents.
My grandmother’s maiden name is Black – hence I call myself Leni Black. When I finally decided to focus on pursuing my musical goals and sharing my songs, one of the reasons was that I wanted to do it for my ‘bubby’ (grandma), who recently passed away with me by her side. As an immigrant just trying to survive in America, she didn’t have the opportunity to dream big. But she believed in me, and she always loved ‘Barcelona Butterflies.’”
Produced by two-time Grammy Award winning songwriter producer Marc Swersky – whose superstar resume includes Hillary Duff, Roger Daltrey and the late Joe Cocker and Natalie Cole – “Barcelona Butterflies” is a timeless piano ballad, a lush and dreamy expression of innocence and wistfulness that showcases the soulful intimacy of Leni’s voice. I
Leni likes to say that she doesn’t write a lot of love songs – but she’s written a ton of breakup songs. That’s because when she’s in the throes of a relationship, riding the wave of joy and expectation, she’s too in the moment to write reflectively about it. Yet she has plenty of time post-breakup, when she’s engulfed in tearful emotions and in need of catharsis, to write her heart out. Now that she’s going after her long-delayed dream of making music for a living, she’s got an incredible stockpile of emotional outpourings that she hopes will connect with everyone who has ever gone through these same types of experiences – which is pretty much everyone.
The Maryland native is the first to admit that she “kind of let life take me wherever I wanted throughout my 20’s. I’m basically a runaway bride who doesn’t know what eggs she likes” – a reference to a hilarious scene in the 1999 film where Richard Gere accuses Julia Roberts of not having a mind of her own because her tastes change with every new guy she meets.
“The only goal I have had was to be honest and try to connect with others through a couple core songs I have been sitting on for a while, the first of which was ‘Barcelona,’” she says. “That experience shaped how I view love, and in some sense, I have been in search of that feeling ever since. I spent every free moment since with my music, working on my craft. I have no plan, no motive other than to write my story, share it and hope it connects with people and helps them feel better or at least less alone than I did. One of the things Marc said when he first heard my songs was that he felt an innocence in my intentions. He understood my vision and helped me develop them to broaden their appeal so that others besides me and my grandmother would love them.”