Exclusive Premiere: New York Rising Talent LEONE Drops Cathartic Video For New Single ‘Monochrome Colors’

After success in queer glam rock band DEITRE, lead singer LEONE pursues a solo venture with his new single Monochrome Colors. We are delighted have an exclusive premiere of the cathartic pop-rock track which showcases poignant lyrics centred on the idea that nothing lasts forever. Accompanied by a video rich in symbolism and raw energy, Monochrome Colors is an asserting first taster of LEONE’s upcoming EP which is scheduled for release early this year.

LEONE shares: “I lost my father to stage 4 cancer a few years back and never really mourned him through my music. I think it’s important, especially as a queer person, to share stories that are more honest and vulnerable. Experiences that are human. There’s freedom in letting out deep-rooted pain and I hope to help others heal with this new sound.”

LEONE is an artist from Brooklyn, New York. Real name Richie Leone, the singer specialises in connecting people with a sense of vulnerability and honesty through his music. We caught up with him to find out a little bit more about Monochrome Colors. Read the interview below.

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LEONE, thanks for chatting. How does it feel to be going solo after working with DEITRE?
Hey! Thanks for asking to chat! It feels like a different chapter but at the same time I am still working with the producer and co-writer of DEITRE (Peter Savad) so it’s been cool to still have his support as I move into a sound that is more independent. Also, I am not closing the door on DEITRE. We have just decided to give it some breath.

Can you tell me a little about the thematic inspiration behind your new single Monochrome Colors?
Monochrome Colors is about life in relation to time, how fleeting emotions & mortality are and how we sometimes can take things/people for granted. It’s a conversation with myself as I reflect on GOD & question the idea of life after death.  

Can you share a little about your writing process? What works best for you?
The first step for me is to let go of any idea or expectation. That way I can truly be a conduit to the messages that need to come through. I would say that I am someone who loves a good hook. Melodic flow is usually the thing that comes first – flowing from one part into the other – all the while accepting whatever lyrics come out. I know it’s good when the lyrics that come out startle me & bring me to tears. This whole album especially looked like that.

I will also say that the title of the track & the lyric “Monochrome Colors” came to me in a dream. I literally woke up out of the dream singing the words, “Monochrome Colors in the air”. So I chose to listen to that message.

The video for Monochrome Colors is emotional and raw tapping into a sense of catharism. Tell me about the process of conceiving and working on that?
It’s really interesting how everything just made sense for me while I was thinking about the direction of the video. I knew I wanted to let people into who I am behind closed doors. I wanted to depict loss through talking about it in the present tense vs experiencing it over an extended period of time. I wanted to incorporate childhood memories, especially memories with my immediate family & specifically my father. He was my biggest fan & is the reason I am the artist that I am today. So I wanted to pay homage to him.

The opening scene of the video shows a dialogue between my father & I while playing in a pool. At one point I playfully wave off my mother (who was behind the camera) & say, “BYE! I’ll see you in heaven!” & my father’s reply was to laugh and say, “How do you know you’re going to heaven?”
And THAT’s the ULTIMATE question, right? “Am I a good person?” & taking it a step further, “who actually gets to decide what being a good person looks like?”

Hence the second shot in the video is of me doing a line of drugs behind my fathers ashes. I really wanted that message to smack you in the face. How life changes in the blink of an eye. Furthermore, when innocence is lost, can I still say “I am good.”?

There are some beautiful arthouse flavoured touches in the video with the black veiled dancers and nostalgic video camera footage. Can you expand a little on the symbolism?
Firstly, shout out to Michele Lee for doing the amazing choreography in this video. The dancers symbolize death, and how we are quite literally dancing with death every day of our lives. They also symbolize mourners & depression. You’ll notice them constantly trying to swallow me, & in turn they do. Death wins, I die, & the twist is… I come out in a white shirt to show that yes, although I have been beaten & tainted by life, I KNOW that I am a good person and deserve good things when I leave this body.

Your EP will also be arriving shortly. Are there any particular tracks that you are dying for people to hear?
Honestly, the story & order of these tracks is very important. I love them all. So all I ask is that you view it as a complete body of work. This project itself is something I am truly proud of.

Who are the queer artists that are currently inspiring you?
I am very blessed to be in NY & to be surrounded by beautiful queer artists. Many I get to actually call my friends. I cannot attempt to list everyone for fear of leaving out someone I love.

I’d love to hear about some of your other cultural highlights of recent times: the films, books, television series or albums that you can’t get enough of.
Well, while typing this I am listening to PJ Harvey who I honestly just discovered thanks to a friend – I’m hooked. 

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