Léanie is not your average girl. This pint-sized songstress hates buying shoes, for a start. She doesn’t understand nail bars, thinks handbags are tedious, cuts her own hair, is an avid hat wearer and can get both her legs behind her head. She can sing ‘One man went to mow’ in Swahili. And she can do Greek dancing. But mainly, she’s just got a thing for writing songs.
Born in London, 1970, Léanie is the daughter of Top Topham, an accomplished artist and The Yardbirds’s guitarist, and whose own musical tastes are firmly rooted in traditional Blues. Listening to her mother’s record collection as a child, Léanie fell in love with the Joan Armatrading, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan records that were played regularly. Later, studying for her English degree at Sussex University, she found her ultimate musical nirvana with floppy-haired shoegazers Ride, The Charlatans and Chapterhouse, along with a healthy dose of PJ Harvey, Tori Amos and the beautifully bonkers Cocteau Twins.
Her own style is mellow and wistful but slightly warped; sometimes gentle, often dark songs, peppered with the odd tongue-in-cheek folksy tune about breast implants, travelling witches and recurring dreams.
Her voice, described by PlayMusic Magazine as “audio-ganja”, has an innocence that belies the wry, sometimes acerbic lyrics in some of her songs.
Having shied away for years from the gigging circuit due to crippling stage fright, eventually Léanie decided to face her fear, and has used hypnotherapy and NLP techniques to get out and perform. And although she’s at her happiest writing and recording at home, she does venture out to play at venues and festivals across the south east and occasionally abroad. In fact, rumour has it that Dusseldorf has never been the same since she left.
Her début, Karamelién was released on DJC Records in 2006 and is still available through Amazon, iTunes and other online music stores.
Singles Little Star and Cardboard Christmas have been released in the past couple of years but her most ardent fans can breathe a sigh of relief as her long-awaited second album Quicksands & Shadows has just been released, the title track to which has already received praise and airplay on BBC Radio.
R J Ellory, musician & international bestselling author, sums up the new album:“Quintessentially English and beautifully-constructed, these tracks invoke the very best of our homegrown singer-songwriters. Think Beverley Craven, Lily Allen and Dido, and you’re on the right road, but Léanie is never anything but fresh and original. Listen, then listen again, and you’ll be captured…’