Writing songs and poetry, and singing since age 11, multi-instrumentalist, poet, music and creation-junkie La LEURENTOP is known for her hybrid musical tastes defined by a life-journey through music and discovery of self and sound through travel.
Born in EL Paso, Texas on Jan. 13th, 1986 and raised in Brussels, Belgium, La grew up surrounded by jazz. Her father, Rob Leurentop was a manager and producer for jazz musicians, representing well-known piano players Cecil Taylor, La’s Uncle Mal Waldron and Fred Hersch. Summers were spent back stage and on stage, discovering new sounds and making new friends with the people like Sam Rivers, Mark Turner, Andrew Hill & John Zorn. Experiencing first class jazz was frequent, and in between sets La crept away to go write poems and lyrics in her notebooks and document new songs on her hand held tape recorder. Later in life, La would manage international tours for her father and still hold a very close affinity and connection with the worldwide jazz scene.
Following the separation of their parents, at age 7 La and her younger brother Thomas returned to the United States with their mother. Spending some time in Baltimore, Maryland, onto Phoenix, Arizona and then Torrance California, La and her family were no strangers to change. Each move brought new experiences. In Phoenix she joined the jazz band playing play alto-saxophone and clarinet and learned to play some rhythms on the set and melodies on piano. During this time she also discovered alternative music, grunge and country blues. In Torrance, she discovered Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, Rap and Reggae. While in California La performed regularly with the school choir and sang with a band at her middle-school graduation ceremony. She began formal dance training at The Dance Factory, and soon was on the company Show Team, competing regionally and nationally.
With access to new gear, La started to dabble slightly more in recording, using a compact mixing table to layer tracks on cassette tapes. She continued to write and sing songs through out high-school and placed first in the Los Angeles regional Prose & Poetry competition with a piece based around a song she wrote – Superficially Skin-Deep. La was Lieutenant of the Advanced Dance Competition team at South High in her sophomore year and President of the Drama Club in her senior year. An honor thespian with recognition in both singing and dancing from California’s Spoghlight Awards, La graduated high-school and returned to Belgium in search of self-discovery and cultural identity.
Enrolled in a French Lycée, in Belgium’s bi-lingual capital of Brussels, La improved her foreign language skills. However, discouraged to go out in the cold, La spent the first Belgian winter hibernating in her cozy room on the 7th floor of her father’s apartment building. With a new MacBook and a new acoustic guitar she wrote and recorded around 15 new songs and practiced her newly found instrument in excess day after day living on Belgian Waffles and Speculoos. The following Spring she briefly moved to Antwerp for half a year but moved back to Brussels with some direction. She started school at Brussels-based college Vesalius, and majored in Communications – her capstone was on Music Censorship – a violation of human rights which is still widely practiced in the world today. During her college years, La made a living working in cultural centers, art galleries, pubs, restaurants and bars around Brussels. She was also hired to choreograph a school dance production for the theater club at La Maison Des Jeunes.
While living in Europe, techno began to notably influence La Leurentop’s musical style and composition. She worked with fellow class mate and music producer Antoine Grisay to release a house track, Rising. Soon after she began to produce beats and fell into a deep recording period in which she composed the songs Danger Zone, In Our Heads, I Think You’ve Changed and Compass of Love. She was a guest on The Complex Days with radio Panik 105.4Fm for an exclusive interview and acoustic live performance where she invited listeners to discover her selection of originals and influentials. She performed at Botanique for The Zulu Nation showcase with Loquita following the release of their first single Fresh Kicks – produced by Dakose. Just prior to her departure to Madrid La held a demo release party at Churchill’s featuring Knedliky Magnetofunk.
Once in Spain La toured the country singing back-up for Niños Velcro, then went on to playing keys and singing back up for Lightning Teeth and thereafter formed the acoustic-soul collective known as Just Us. She released more songs featuring Knedliky Magnetofunk on guitars – Anytime Now, Loaded Tongues, Standy By, and Mono Monkey. La hosted secret jam sessions at Casa Infantas and opened for PJ Bond and Marc McCabe at La Leyenda in Madrid debuting – Just Us. During her time spent in Spain, La picked up on Logic and Pro Tools and was able to build a decent home studio where she recorded songs for BKMG Music Group, release date tba. La spent 3 years in Spain, and then moved to New York where she currently lives between Brooklyn, Manhattan and The Bronx. She’s working on releasing her first piece of polished work, although she has tons of raw tunage available online for download. She currently gigs with the band One For The Road including fellow band mate Carter Mcelroy
La’s songwriting style and creative processes are mainly born out of constructive improvisation, a layering of melodies, sounds and words, released, and allowed to grow freely in form to produce a conceptualized message, a story, a feeling. Her goal is to inspire, to be raw. To open our eyes to beauty, for flaws are of such and for some are too much. She believes in the power of words and their ability to create awareness and community in an increasingly complex and global world. Her muse is human behavior – she often writes about love and politics, favoring the dark and deep or light and sweet, but never in between. Emotions are a big part of her singing style and she enjoys portraying the emotion through combination and layering with unexpected cascades of words and sounds. La Leurentop’s favorite quote:
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda
Top influences – Neneh Cherry, Imogen Heap, Mattafix, CirKus, Portishead, Ani Difranco, Fiona Apple, Jimi Hendrix, Kelis, Morcheeba, Nikka Costa, Nirvana, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Bjork, No Doubt, White Stripes, Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, The XX, Billie Holiday, Angus & Julia Stone, Tricky, Alela Diane, Erykah Badu, Johnny Cash, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Empire of the Sun, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pinback, Sublime, Asa and an entire Motown Hits generation including but not limited to Diana Ross & The Supremes, Michael Jackson, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield and Sly & The Family Stone.