Los Angeles based R&B singer Lenis will have you feeling like you are sitting in a grassy field of butterflies the moment you hit play.
Lenis' lyrical talents and perfect pitch stem from an early exposure to music and immediate obsession of early 2000’s pop. Being the first in her family to be born in the U.S. she is representing not only her South Korean heritage but the emerging (and still vastly underrepresented) Asian - American wave of women in the music industry. With the sudden abundance of down time due to the pandemic, Lenis has found time to look inwards and channel positive energy and inspiration. She is not only working on new music but also writing for other artists. Her creation process is colorful and functional with her main critic being herself. The standards of which must be pretty high because the quality of her music is sensational. Here we get to chat about all things Lenis while also manifesting a future of diversity in the music industry as well as self empowerment.
Let’s get into this. What are five fun facts about Lenis that will help the lovely readers of BOP get to know you a little more?
I’m the first generation in my family to be born in the U.S. from South Korea
I have a pet snake. His name is Stogi and he’s about a year old now.
I love Pinkberry. Pomegranate flavor with yogurt chips, coconut flakes, and raspberries. I get that every time.
I’m an extrovert introvert.
I really want a pair of Heelys so I can glide, not walk. Never had them as a kid.
What got you into music? Were there any specific inspirations growing up?
I was exposed to music pretty much the entire time I was growing up as a kid. My dad played the guitar for us all the time, and around 7 or 8 years old I was put in piano lessons. I started listening to popular music around age 10, and that’s when my interest in music exploded. I would walk back home from school everyday to watch MTV’s music video countdown show TRL. It was practically a routine. All I really knew before then was classical piano, so discovering all these sounds and artists like Missy Elliot, Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake, etc, changed my world.
I’m a little embarrassed to say, but the Lizzie McGuire Movie was a pretty big inspiration for me as a kid! If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a girl who becomes a secret pop star. I wanted to be her so bad! Now after all these years of growing up I’m actually chasing the dream.
Who are your all time favorite R&B icons? Or maybe they aren't specifically R&B? Either way any music icons on the list?
These questions are always so tough. Usher, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Kehlani, Riri… There’s too many. I’m sorry.
Can you walk us through your song writing process from start to finish?
Sometimes I start with lyrics. Other times I start with melody. It just depends on how I feel in the moment. I usually sit down on my bed with headphones playing the beat over. Sometimes I grab a pen and other times I type in my Notes app. I have this amazing lightbulb that changes colors via remote so I’ll turn the room certain colors while I write. I’ll try to find colors that fit the mood. Music is great because there are no rules. Just create!
How do you know when a song is done and ready to be shared with the world?
I think a song is done when I can no longer hear the inner critique inside me pointing stuff out I need to fix. She can be relentless sometimes.
Has the pandemic given you more time to work on new music?
Absolutely. My heart goes out to anyone affected by the virus. It’s a crazy time to be alive… I’ve been working on a few songs as of late. I’m fortunate to have found quarantine to be a massive blessing because it’s given me so much time to focus on music. I was just going through a creative block at the start of the lockdown, and all this downtime allowed myself to become recharged and recentered. You have to make sure you got yourself before you do anything creative. So yeah, just taking it a day at a time. Being in quarantine has sparked an interest to write songs for other artists. I’m excited to explore that more.
What are some songs that have been at the top of your playlist lately? Any new songs? Classics?
I’ve been listening to…
Levi High feat. DaBaby by DaniLeigh
Off the Goop by Young Gravy, bbno$ & Cuco
1992 by YNG Martyr
Tap In by Saweetie
dork by Sueco the Child
What are some things you are excited to see change about the music industry in 2021?
To see more of my asian sisters and brothers make their faces known in music! There’s so much underrated talent still!