Leilani Wolfgramm is a talented songstress from Orlando, Florida who performs her own blend of R&B infused Reggae and Hip Hop. She most recently debuted a new single for “The Trail” (listen here) ahead of her forthcoming EP to be released later this year. Leilani has earned the right to share the stage with some great names such as Ziggy Marley, Sublime with Rome, Incubus, Dirty Heads, Soja, Common Kings and more. We recently had the chance to chat with Leilani about what influences her sound how she hopes to influence society. You can catch her currently on The Marching Orders tour across the US with The Green. (Dates Below)
First I wanted to ask where are you from? I can hear from your music you have a nice island sound.
Leilani– I am from the Island of Orlando, Florida. Haha! I am Polynesian. My family came here when my father got a job dancing at a Disney show in Orlando.
Whaaaat? I am in shock! Haha. That is so awesome. So who are some of your musical inspirations? Who inspired you to get into this type of sound?
Leilani– My brothers. My two older brothers were in a Reggae band when I was a kid. I kind of always listened to the music that they listened to. I was really influenced by the music that they listened to. Then, I joined their band and that’s how I started touring. Then, I went solo and moved to California about three or four years ago. Then, started touring and finally got a publishing deal.
I was listening to your song “Herbivore” I love it! Can you tell us a little bit about why you wrote that song? Aside from the fact that everyone loves herb!
Leilani- I saw a sweatshirt when I first moved to California. This guy, he had a clothing brand “We should Smoke” and he had a sweater on that said “Herbivore” I had never seen that before and I thought that was really interesting. So, when I was on the way to the studio, he was actually with me and I just wrote it. It came together really fast and organic. And I was real high. Haha
I mean…the Herb gets the creative juices flowing haha
Leilani– Exactly get inspired
What has had the biggest impact on your work? Where do you draw inspiration?
Leilani- I think when I started writing for myself, and doing things based off of what I felt, rather than what other people wanted from me or wanted to hear. You know? Not what was trending or what was considered “hot” at the time. When I started writing for me, that is when things really started to change for me.
What effect do you hope your music has on society?
Leilani- I write because I am not great at talking out my emotions. I am really good at hiding them, so writing is therapeutic for me. I write about my life and the things that I have been through and the things I see and question. I always think that it’s amazing when someone hears something that I wrote about myself, my inner thoughts and feelings and they are completely connected with it in their own way. I feel like that is the effect I want to have on people. To stay connected in that way, not afraid to feel or be vulnerable or make mistakes. I want them to have a cathartic experience when they listen to my songs.
I was watching your Sugar Shack session on the “Change the World” Collab you did. I LOVED that! It made me feel so good!
Leilani- That song originally was called “Out come the wolves” and I was writing it in the studio and I had this hook, it was kind of like, more of a rebel song. Kind of like “don’t F*ck with us” kind of song, ya know? I was listening to it after thinking “This is f#cking whack” and if I am going to say something, I am going to actually say something. So I completely re-vamped it, I kept “out come the wolves” in the song but now I just have it as a line in the verse. We completely changed the song so that we would actually be saying something that mattered, rather than how bad ass we were.
It’s such a beautiful song, I watched that video a few different times. The lyrics are great and I love hearing that, I wish more people were brave enough to sing about this type of stuff. It’s great for society.
Leilani- It’s a part of our society we cover up. You know? Personality? Persona? Persona just means mask. That’s literally what it means. We put on these masks every day, women…we literally put on masks. We put on on nails that aren’t ours, and hair that isn’t ours. We go around taking pictures on Instagram and Snapchat smiling our asses off and acting like our lives are so happy. It’s almost as if we are trained to be fake and to not have real emotions.
I really appreciate that song and session! Sometimes I feel that way, walking around school wearing the “face” while inside I am going through some tough stuff. Normally people think I am always happy but sometimes it’s just an act. So, I definitely relate to what you are saying.
Leilani- Thank You
If you could perform at one place in the world where would you choose?
Leilani- I really want to go play in Tonga. My dad was born and raised in Tonga and he came on a boat to America. He never got the chance to go back home. I have never seen it. I really sing because I grew up singing with my dad, so it would be special for me.
What is your favorite food?
Leilani- Oh god! I am eating Cup of Noodles right now! I love Ramen! haha!
Same! People don’t understand! Sometimes I like to add some hot sauce! Don’t judge until you try!
Leilani- Yes! All day! My keyboardist was making cup of noodles the other day and he put mayonnaise in his! I have never seen anyone do that before!
Ha! I can’t say anything because I put ranch dressing on my spaghetti! So out of all of your songs, which is your favorite and why?
Leilani- My favorite song that I ever wrote, going back to my dad. I have a song that I wrote for my dad after he passed away. As I said before about hiding my emotions, I didn’t really talk to anybody about it or how I was feeling. A year went by and it was the anniversary of his death and my whole family got together. I just took out a guitar and sang everything I felt. I still play it on the anniversary of his death every year.
Thank you so much for your time and doing this interview with me!
Leilani- You are welcome!
Interview by Majesty Rich
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