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Interview with artist Owen leuellen
Interview with artist Owen leuellen
We catch up with singer, songwriter and superstar rapper Owen Leuellen about his new music style, his fashion sense and what he has in store for the future. Earlier this year, the rapper released a visualiser for his brand new hit tune Follow, the 14th track off his debut album Dreams
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR DEBUT ALBUM DREAMS?
I started working on my first album right after the X factor, but it took way longer than expected. The production took it’s time along with a set of music videos but the result was worth the wait. The idea behind the first album ‘Dreams’ is showcasing the beginning of my career and how it went from dreams to reality faster than I thought. With that being said, the projects that will come after this all depict the journey from start, step by step. By the time the second and third albums will be out, you could see the change in both style and flows in my music as I adapt to the modern scene slowly straying from what I started with.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK OFF THE ALBUM AND WHY?
This question feels like asking a father which of his kids are his favourite. It’s hard to answer as I made them all with passion
but if I had to pick the best story it would be the song ‘Dreams’, ‘Runaway for the best sound and the most motivational would be ‘Believe’.
ARE YOU DOING THIS FULL TIME?
Nowadays I’m doing this as a full time job yes, but I never really decided on it. I had shows every week, sometimes even twice a day, so I had to start prioritising it and so, I stopped looking at it as a hobby. I became self employed and the name Leuellen turned into my business but I had a lot to lear. Two years later, I’ve got the hang of it but it still requires daily effort and productivity.
HOW HAS YOUR MUSICAL-STYLE EVOLVED FROM THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER?
My style started off mostly dark and deep storytelling, sticking to the roots of hiphop. However, the more time passed the more I started evolving and adapting to the modern sounds that work in this day and age. I began to give my songs some more positive vibes as well as more melodic choruses. I even added easier words for the listener. What built the bridge for non-hiphop lovers to show more interest than usual was the moment I was featured on Ira Losco’s ‘Hey Now’.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST AND BEST MUSICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR?
From all the milestones I’ve achieved throughout these few years, such as winning four awards, performing on MTV and opening for international artists on several occasions, I’d say hitting 1.5 million views on on ‘Hey Now’, which helped me achieve the most attention and respect for my music.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF YOUR CAREER?
Even though I had fun performing ‘Hey Now’ in huge venues with the crowd singing along (which is the best feeling in the world), I’d say my favourite and best performance was on the MTV stage, where I was one of the show openers for huge international artists in a concert that housed fifty thousand people, right in front of my hometown Valletta. This experience was followed by ‘Radio Itaila’, which was as big as MTV but an Italian version. With that being said, it all started with a dream.. now I’m doing what I was writing about when I was 15.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF FILMING A MUSIC VIDEO?
Filming a music video takes a lot of patience and repetitive actions, but when you have an artistic director like Steven Levi Vella you can easily pour the vision from sound into visuals. So after all the tedious filming hours and effort, the result was always worth it, and left the final phase: promotion. I believe that if I keep stacking songs and videos on my profiles and channels, whenever the time comes for some A&R to look at my catalog while scouting for a label, I’m positive that I would bring enough to the table to get my music overseas.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO TAKE YOUR MUSIC INTERNATIONAL? WHAT’S THE GAME PLAN?
Definitely, the plan is to start off by moving to London to start putting my music on radios, later on planning to take the show on the road to the United States, preferably California.
WHO INSPIRES YOU MUSICALLY AND PERSONALLY? WHY?
My musical inspiration started from being able to relate to Eminem’s rap music, which later expanded to several artists from different genres, including rock and pop. Personally speaking, my biggest inspiration and idol is my older brother, who motivates me to chase goals and treat every experience as a life lesson.
WHICH ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE LOOKS FROM X FACTOR MALTA LIVE SHOWS?
Well, my absolute favourite look was the black leather jacket from the final show and my least favourite was the leopard print jacket; it really wasn’t my style although it worked really well with the theme we had, so no complaints here.
HAS BEING IN THE PUBLIC EYE CHANGED THE WAY YOU DRESS, AND YOUR APPROACH TO FASHION?
Indeed it has. I wasn’t too keen on self-care and appearance before, but I have come to accept that like music, clothes are a form of expression and being in the public eye, you want your message to be understood, particularly when it comes to stage- shows. Apart from this, you get approached by fashion designer and brands, and can’t help but become more aware. An example of this is my recent collaboration on the BOSS x Russell Athletic capsule collection. That was super cool.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
My goal for the coming years is to be on the road, touring different countries and expanding my platform on an international level. In five years, my aim is to be in the United States working with big names in the music industry and putting our little island on the map, hoping to create a link that makes it easier for local artists to find a connection abroad. I would say that that is my ultimate aim.