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Photo by Vixxion

“I want them to feel like they just drank a cup of coffee then did a backflip on the first try with their crush watching.”

LoveLeo sings with a soft rasp that moves like jagger along upbeat, memorable songs. LoveLeo may be 21 years young but his artistic repertoire has already burst into the viral mainstream. In a colorful lane all his own, he doesn’t just make music, he makes ‘songs for you.Bop along to LoveLeo’s latest gift, ‘LEMONS’:

The official video for ‘LEMONS’ was shot, directed and edited by LoveLeo himself. The eclectic visionary made it in his Los Angeles apartment with two friends after the stay at home order went into effect.

“So I had a whole music video planned for my song ‘LEMONS,’ there was gonna be race cars, explosions, maybe even an elephant, but life decided to give me a lemon…” He shares, “So I made this video entirely in my apartment with my two best friends, a green screen and 127 lemons. Stay safe, stay clean. Enjoy <3″

Casually fixating your attention on every melody and lyric, you’ll have no idea these songs are going to be stuck in your head for days. LoveLeo creates a familiar atmosphere, drawing upon a vintage 80s aesthetic, while at once updating the continuum of funk music. Playful and probing, his repertoire has been praised as the “future of anti-pop,” gracefully evading genre and instead reflecting the perspective of a spunky and skillful 21-year old.

The man behind the tunes, Leo Reilly, has a lot to share. Releasing music only over the last year, Reilly became infamous for putting his face where it doesn’t belong: like on eggs in his breakout single ‘Boyfren,’ or on a sexy, female bod in ‘Rosie.’ Both songs have since racked up millions upon millions of streams, and the former went viral on TikTok after charting on global Spotify playlists.

A DIY character through and through, LoveLeo creates art via an exceptionally unique channel. And his success is only just beginning; get to know the man behind ‘LEMONS’ below.

Ones to Watch described your music as anti pop – if you could name your genre, what would you call it?

I would call it “Smoothie Pop” because I like to take little bits from all the different genres I love and combine them into one nicely blended delicious smoothie. Also who doesn’t like a good smoothie. You can put literally anything you want in a smoothie.

You’ve said that you began writing music as a response to a “really bad rap song” your friend created. What inspires you nowadays?

Literally anything. Shitty movie posters, empty coffee cups, two flies hanging out on my windowsill, how weird the concept of online dating really is, getting frustrated about getting a pimple, hugging my mom after a great meal. Anything.

What originally inspired the song “LEMONS”?

I love taking old phrases and interpreting them in my own way. Everyone knows the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The central idea being you have to make the best out of a bad situation.

When I first recorded “LEMONS,” I had just finished dealing with a couple shitty situations and was pretty fed up with having to find a solution for everything. So I changed the phrase to “but I don’t like lemonade,” implying that I was fed up with having to figure out all my problems.

Before the quarantine hit, what was the “LEMONS” video supposed to be?

In an alternate world I would be a racecar driver. I’ve always loved racing movies. The adrenaline, the speed, the helmet that matches the racing suit that matches the car, everything about being a racecar driver is so enticing to me. In every great racing movie, there’s the one scene where the car blows a tire and it seems like all hope is lost.

The original idea for the “LEMONS” music video was to rent a racetrack and a racecar. I wanted to capture that feeling of having a flat tire but instead of pulling over to fix the problem, just refusing to give up and winning the race against all odds. I also wanted to get an elephant because I bet you’ve never seen an elephant on a racetrack.

How’s your quarantine treating you? Any routines you’ve developed to stay sane?

I’ve been BUSY. Which is good! I’ve filmed two videos and finished my EP all while quarantined. I’ve got some new plants, which is nice because when I take care of them it also reminds me to take care of myself as well. I’ll drink a glass of water then feed my jujubee tree a glass of water too (the tree is named Finn).

You asked your fans this – your turn: what’s the stickiest situation you’ve ever been in?

I got expelled from a high school study abroad trip in Spain when I was younger, but that’s a story for another time ahahahaha.

Lemons or limes?

Limes for taste but lemons for appearance.

What’s your favorite beverage?

Coconut water (with pulp)

Share an unreleased lyric? What’s the song about?

“I’ll remember you like the alamo”
When I was a little boy, I had a phase where I was super into Davy Crockett and that whole era of wild west. I used to love this old movie about the Battle of the Alamo, where the American troops were severely outnumbered but still put up a valiant effort, which started the famous phrase “Remember the alamo.” I took that phrase and changed it to be about somebody I used to be in a relationship with that I will remember forever.

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

Superspeed. I’m talkin’ being able to freeze time level of super speed. Nobody could kill or capture me. I could get so much done in one day, my productivity would be off the charts.

Do you have any new projects on the horizon?

Yes I have an EP coming out really, really soon that has so many different genres and feelings on it, I’m so goddam excited to put it out 🙂

How do you want your fans to feel when they listen to your music?

I want them to feel like they just drank a cup of coffee then did a backflip on the first try with their crush watching.



photos / Josh Flores

story / Ariana Tibi

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