How did you get your start in music?
I've been making music my whole life, singing and writing music since I was 6 years old just as a passion. Recording-wise, I started making beats off of GarageBand when I was 13. Then I started collaborating with my friend Chris in Chinatown, recording off of a mic in his closet. At the time, we were only uploading our music to MySpace. I started to get a Facebook following from throwing teen parties and used it to engage people in my music. When I turned 16, I started to upload my music to Soundcloud, getting 2,000-4,000 plays per song. At 17, I released my first video and got picked up by a couple blogs. I just really have never given up. Music is all I've ever wanted to do.
You’re a triple threat in music. You rap, sing and produce. When did you realize that it was time for you to craft your own sound?
I think crafting your own sound takes years. The music I've put out before and the music I will put out in the future are all part of a continuous sound/lane I'm creating for myself. I believe when you're the first of your kind, it takes time for others to be able to define and understand you.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I have so many musical influences in my life.
Hendrix the reason why I picked up guitar, Janet & Michael the reason why I believe in performance art, Earth Wind and Fire why I love funk music. My musical influences are always expanding and changing. I grew up a lover of music and have a wide range of musical interests.
As a native New Yorker, how has the city inspired your creative process and music?
I think that New York really teaches you how to hustle and how to adapt to many different people and experiences. I was blessed to live in such a vast and diverse city. New York allowed me to be myself in a world threatened by difference.
You're signed to A-Trak’s Fool's Gold records imprint. What are some things that you have picked up from him on the production and business side?
I think that Fool's Gold has been a great experience because it's brought my rap/hiphop side to a more open EDM audience. What I love about Fool's Gold fans is that they're really open to new music. Production-wise he's genius, and if you've never seen him on the tables you're really missing out—he's super talented and actually puts on a real show. I remember the first show I ever went to of his, he literally DJ'd standing on top of the table while scratching (chirping) and clapping at the same time. I don't know if you understand how difficult that is, but as someone who has DJ'd for 3 or 4 years, that is beyond skill.
Speak on MBM. What does it mean to you?
MBM is my female empowerment brand catered to young entrepreneurs and DIY divas. Magnet Bitch Movement. "Magnet" because I believe we are all magnets and our thoughts reflect our reality. Anything in life that you want is obtainable, but it starts with the mind. ‘Bitch’ because as females, we are often told "I thought you were a bitch" or "You're intimidating" just because we're beautiful and can articulate ourselves. I wanted to take back that word and recreate it to empower each other. I also want to eliminate girl-on-girl hate.
’Magnet Bitch’ has delivered two powerful records in ‘Drama’ and ‘Slick’. Did you think the EP would be this well received?
I honestly didn't care, I felt like these were messages that needed to be heard and I wanted people to feel my art. And I felt like many girls could relate.
A lot of your music is about woman empowerment. How do you hope to influence the next generation of female MCs?
I just want to bring girls together and give them music to feel good to. A lot of music doesn't portray women realistically or in a good light. I'm trying to represent for all my girls who loved Kelis, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and all my 90-2000s queens.
Talk about your debut album. How is it coming along?
King Leaf, I'm super excited for it to come out! Album processes are always long and tedious, but I'm just really happy to finally be giving music to my fans. They've been waiting so long. I know they won't be disappointed.
What do you do in your spare time to relax and refocus?
I honestly just sleep and meditate as much as possible. Whenever I'm not in the studio or rehearsals or at a show I lay in bed, maybe pick up my guitar for a hour, maybe turn on Netflix, maybe read articles on the internet--but more than anything, I just try to pray/meditate and sleep.
How do you find that balance between your personal life and the music industry?
It's definitely hard and sometimes I feel like it's more work than play, but I try to keep good people around me in my work atmosphere, so when I come home, I'm really home. My family and friends still treat me the same and I just try to chill and catch up for the moments when I do have time.
LEAF went on tour earlier this year with Alessia Cara and recently released her latest single ‘Nada’ featuring Lil Yachty.