Today we’ve got an interview with one the UK’s leading lights in dancehall. Having already stolen the heat on two of the biggest riddims this year with her fantastic ‘Kisses for Breakfast' and 'Kitty Kat' we caught up with Lea-Anna just days after she landed in from a trip to Jamaica.Click the read more link below to read the full interview.
So I understand you’ve just returned from Jamaica? What were doing out there and how it?
I was mostly just writing and taking time to put a lot of things in perspective where my music is concerned. I worked with a couple producers out there, did some promotion and most of all partied hard.
So all round a well spent and needed trip! How often do you get to go to Jamaica? Do you have family connections there?
I go to Jamaica as often as I can - when it’s time to go on vacation I choose to go nowhere else! My father lives out there, he’s a radio DJ and I went to high school there (Queens High). So Jamaica is a big part of me.
You played Rebel Salute in Jamaica 2005. That must have been amazing?
Yeah it really was. I went with my mother and we did backing vocals for Queen Ifrica (Montego Bay, below), I was real young at the time and the crowd was massive. I remember being very nervous but it went really well and it’s a memory I’ll always have.
You first came to our attention through The Heatwave. How has the feedback from the likes of Gabriel, DJ DUBL, Robbo Ranx (amongst others) helped to motivate you?
I think all feedback is good and at this stage I’m just very thankful and appreciative of all the support I’m getting from everyone. As an artist it always feels good to know that people are feeling your work and that its paying off somehow. That’s all you want.
You also featured on the ‘Dancehall Day’ on 1xtra with Tim Westwood. How was that? I remember your mum being in the studio with you and Westwood being quite intense. Is he really just a cuddly bear?
Dancehall Day with Westwood was the most fun. You can’t really take him to heart. For me, the way he presents his show just makes it all the better. He didn’t even know that my mother was sitting there so when I told him the look on his face was hilarious. Coming from the family and circle of friends that I do I’m used to a lot of banter so it was just like being at home!
Your track ‘Kisses' (above), on the Transition riddim is your biggest hit so far, with 1xtra rotations and club spins. That must be so satisfying after all your hard work?
Yes it is, it’s the best feeling. It’s got me looking forward for more exciting things to come.
The latest track, ‘Kitty Kat’ (Paperchase riddim above) is also produced by Wundah and also a massive track, again receiving lots of hype. How’s the feedback been for that?
It’s been good so far. When I put stuff out I never have expectations, I’m always just hopeful that it goes down well with people. So far so good, so I can’t complain.
I know that being with the Blessed Youth fam and going in on riddims, you’ve been described as a dancehall artist. Clearly your style is more versatile than that. Are you looking to branch out into other styles of music? Or are we likely to hear you on a few more riddims?
I love being on riddims and being a part of that whole vibe. I love dancehall but obviously as an artist there’s so much more that I want to do. But for now my main focus is reggae and dancehall giving it my own vibe and embracing the dancehall vibe in me. Expect a lot from Lea-Anna, she’s a chick of many trades.
I understand you’ve done backing vocals for the like of Sizzla & Queen Ifrica in the past? Did working with them give you any tips or push you to become a solo artist?
Yeah especially Queen Ifrica. She’s such a strong woman. Reggae and dancehall gets a lot of stick at times, so it’s good to know as a genre we’re still associated with positive artists like her.
Who/what are your major influences?
Definitely my parents. I write music to inspire and influence myself; If I’m having a bad day I write a song, just to show myself I’ve still got it!
Who are your favourite UK dancehall/reggae artists at the moment?
Stylo G! And I love this girl…..her name is Lea-Anna! No I’m kidding! Seriously, Stylo G (Call Me a Yardie, below) is definitely doing his thing.
What have you got coming up in the future?
MORE MUSIC!!!! It’s the love of my life and we shall definitely be growing together. I’m excited and the future is looking brigh.. So look out!
Thanks Lea-Anna and best of luck.