Super cool, sassy AND talented Lea Lea is a woman we want to listen to - and drink tequila with.
Named as a BBC Introducing ‘Artist to Watch’, she released her EP, Die Pretty Vol.1 in February with Vol.2 to follow later this year.
Lea Lea, 30, also runs her own record label and is in one of the coolest bands on the planet !!! (chk chk chk), according to music journalist LIA NICHOLLS, who interviewed the Hackney-born star-in-the-making about her Detox|Retox lifestyle in London this month...
Lia: Being a singer is probably more retox than detox, right? How do you maintain the balance?
Lea Lea: I wish I could do the rock n roll thing and drink my way through touring, but I don't think I'd make it past the third show! On the last European tour we played 21 shows consecutively, travelling up to 10 hours a day, playing that night then getting about 3 hours sleep so I needed to make sure I stayed healthy. On the road I try to keep fit, eat well and minimise boozing to every now and then.
When I finally get time off it can go either way. I'm either super virtuous and hit the gym, eat vegan, do some writing and catch up with friends OR I'll wake up late, skip gym, eat dinner for breakfast and drink my weight in tequila. I like to think of that as a balance though. Most days I'll work out and eat a veg/fruit based diet so my time off I see as treat time.
Lia: how do you stay fit and well on the road and at home?
Lea Lea: I carry a skipping rope on tour and will hit the gym at the hotel before a show. It really helps me to focus and kick start the adrenaline. And I try to drink at least three litres of water a day (helps to detox the free rider!)
When home I try to work out at least four times a week for a minimum of an hour. I like to mix it up and try new workouts as I have the attention span of a two-year-old. So I'll do a combination of combat training, yoga, rowing, pilates and climbing. I also try to walk everywhere, and then finish most workouts with a swim, steam and spa.
Lia: But WE HEAR you still like a tequila every now and then?
Lea Lea: Oh yes, tequila is very close to my heart. I dream of having my own brand! I much prefer to sip on it with one ice cube and a dash of lime: the Mexican way is the best. After gigs my band !!! and I will often stay behind and have a dance off with the audience. Nic and I sweat like pigs, the poor crowd? Our rider usually consists of tequila, vodka, beers and a tonne of water. They rest of the band are not big boozers and I try to keep a lid on how much I guzzle down so we end up taking a load back home after the tour and having a post tour party.
Lia: Can you reveal aNY killer barS you’ve discovered on your travels?
Lea Lea: There's a sweet rock n' roll bar called Stone Free In Koh Chang, and in Bangkok there's an incredible 'gothic chic' bar called Iron Fairies that has the best interior and vibe. In Brooklyn I always hit up the Surf Shack as I'm easily bought by a bar with sand on the floor, and then of course I'm always loyal to The Alibi in Dalston as it's been my second home.
Lia: If you could jet to any place in the world, where would you choose?
Lea Lea: I'd head east to Thailand. Ive spent a lot of time there and love the people,the food and way of life. It feels like they've really got the work/live/spiritual balance right. My close friends live out there too which is a big bonus.
My favourite part of the country is the north/north-east, places like Chiang Mai, Pai, Koh Samet and Koh Chang are a must. Southern Thailand can be a bit touristy. I'd definitely go to Bangkok, there are some amazing temples to see, but a long weekend there is long enough. I'd suggest staying around Thong Lo or Ekkamai: you'll feel like a local, be right by the Sky Train and moments away from the city attractions. And don't forget citronella spray to keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay.
Lia: Which albums/artists do you love to listen to whilst travelling?
Lea Lea: I try to get in to a new album when I'm on holiday as well as some old classics (all Joni Mitchell hits come out during my travels), this trip I was checking out the new Deftones album and Benga "Diary Of an Afro Warrior".
Lia: Name a favourite tune for getting ready for a stomping night out? And a tune for unwinding?
Lea Lea: I'd have to pick two for getting ready, depending on my mood it could either be "Immigrant song" by Led Zeppelin or " "Notorious" by Turbulence. Such big anthems! My unwinding song is "Bandy Bandy" by Zap Mama without a doubt!
Lia: And you're a big fan of festivals, any special experiences to share?
Lea Lea: My favourite festival experience took place in the dusty car park outside Coachella. I was with the Bonobo clan and my best friend Kim and we were all sat round a camp fire absolutely twisted looking at shooting stars and singing kumbaya. The jokes, songs, booze and fire were truly unforgettable...that and the fact that I went to the loo and Paris Hilton was in the next toilet along and I needed to pass her the loo roll. I think that was a bonding moment.
This summer Lea Lea will be performing in her own shows as well as !!! shows across Europe.
Her next EP "Die Pretty Vol.II" is set for release in September and she is also working on launching jewellery line Gothic Luau with business partner Kim Garrett.
For dates and more info, go to lealea.co.uk