Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Leena released her debut EP, Mean Old Clock, in May and she’s currently in the midst of a several-month stint of touring, traversing the country in a mix of headline and support slots.
The EP swings from the fragile music-box melody of Family Tree to the uplifting acoustic pop of In Love & Lost. Throughout, the constant is Leena’s gorgeous voice, reminiscent of fellow Australian singer Abby Dobson. Perth singer Josh Pyke handles production duties on several tracks, a collaboration Leena said was a natural fit.
“I generally write on my own, but I’m a perfectionist so I really enjoy co-writing, and I seek out opportunities to do it. If I meet a songwriter or I’m supporting a band, I’m keen to find out what we could come up with if we collaborated,” Leena told the Star.
Her current support slot with Something For Kate frontman Paul Dempsey is the latest in a long line of choice gigs.
“In the past I’ve had amazing support slots with people like Rufus Wainwright, and I’ll never miss an opportunity to talk to people like that about the way they write or even just observe how they do things,” she enthused.
“Rufus was a great inspiration because he practises for about three hours before each show. I heard him warming up every night and it made me think about my performance in a much more serious way.”
Hang on — three-hour warm-ups before every show?

“Yeah. He was a bit of a phantom — no-one really saw him. I shared a room with his band, and he had his own room with a grand piano everywhere we went.”

After her stint on Paul Dempsey’s tour, Leena will support Tim Finn during his November concerts — a prospect the devout Crowded House fan admits fills her with a mixture of excitement and terror.

Of course, amongst all this fine company, it’s hard not to notice Leena’s the only female. Does she feel she’s in the minority, being a female singer-songwriter?

“We are in the minority, and that’s something that’s never really mentioned,” she sighed.
“It’s funny, when you’re a female singer-songwriter, people assume you must sing really soft music. Although some of my music can appear that way, it’s also got a bit of bite to it.”
Those preconceptions about ‘female music’ are obviously something Leena rails against — on her official Facebook fan page, she lists her genre as ‘not folk’. So is there more of her alluring brand of ‘not folk’ to come?

“I’ve got reams and reams of songs that I have been sitting on for years, but every song I write feels better than the last, and I get sick of the old ones. I’m in the process of getting rid of the old ones and making new ones. I’m going to hire a house in the bush and just set up there for 10 days to focus on the next EP,” she promised.

info: Leena supports Tim Finn at the Enmore Theatre on November 6.

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