For those of us in New York, Los Angeles via Orlando reggae-hip-hop songstress Leilani Wolfgramm will make you seriously miss the sunny summer vibes. Recently we were able to chat with Leilani about songwriting, nudist colonies, Polynesian eats, and what the perfect high is to get you through the day.
Check out the interview below!
You’ve got this killer hip-hop meets reggae sound. Where do you think your songwriting voice comes from? Is it a conscious mash-up, just your natural flow, something else?
It comes from where I was raised. I’m from OBT I went to oak ridge high school. Hip hop is in my blood and reggae is from my island roots. My brothers raised me on it.
How does collaboration contribute to the sound?
It becomes a team now. I’m going to collaborate with someone who has strength where I have weaknesses and Vice versa
What's your dream collaboration?
Dream collaboration with twenty one pilots
How did living in Orlando contribute to you musically?
When I did (live in Orlando) it was very hard to find gigs. The live music scene is almost non existent. I had to move to California to get noticed. I came back to Orlando and sold out the social only after living in Cali and my music spreading. I would encourage the people in Orlando to support local artists and for bar owners to do the same.
Do you think legal weed in Florida would benefit the musical community on a creative level? (More choices, more education, public gatherings, etc..)
Weed should be legal in Florida but always everywhere. It’s insane that we live in a world with electric cars and weed is still illegal. We’re progressing at an uneven pace. I don’t think it would benefit the music community anymore than it already does. Everyone’s already smoking it I guess it would just be easier to not have to hide it. Health benefits economical benefits and societal benefits.
Favorite strain to be creative and productive vs. favorite strain to chill out and relax?
I like sativa only. I like smoking out of the pen. It’s the perfect amount concentrate for daily errands
Do you drink? Thoughts between alcohol and weed and how they might contribute to the creative flow?
I can’t write Shit when I’m stoned. When I’m a little drunk I have more confidence in my ideas but bc I’m drunk those ideas are sometimes drunk too. I’d rather write sober.
Check out "Live Wire"!
Is it important to stay true to your roots while writing? Is being from Florida a big part of that?
Florida will always be a part of who I am. It will always play a role in the music I write. Is it important to stay true to your roots? For me yes. My Tongan roots that I was raised on and the roots of the hood that I drew up in. Staying true to my roots just means remember where you came from and stay true to yourself.
What do you look at other than music for inspiration? Anyone you really look up to?
Life inspires me. I write about what I see. What I’ve been through. What’s going on in the world and how I feel about it. Authors like Don Miguel Ruiz inventors like Elon Musk politicians like Bernie Sanders scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and activists like Alicia Garza
What’s the craziest/weirdest thing to happen to you as part of the music community (or at any point related to your musical career)?
The weirdest gig I ever had was dancing luau at a nudist colony. Weirdest thing about the music industry is all the festivals I’ve played pretty much feel like you’re at a nudist colony.
What can other women do to kick ass in the (somewhat) male-dominated production industry?
The only thing that’s ever worked for me is being confident in my opinions in my likes and dislikes. If I hear the music drop out here and just vocals I’ll voice that if I hear a tempo change I’ll fight for it. It’s my creative obligation. I think there’s a stigma put on both women and men. “Men should behave like this, women should behave like this” all of that is bullshit. Don’t be the woman society expects you to be it’s just an idea it’s not reality. Women aren’t helpless women aren’t stupid. Your opinion is valid. You’re not meant to be pretty and complacent you’re meant to be important.
Any favorite Polynesian foods? What should we be stuffing our faces with? Best place to get it in the US? Everything in Tongan cooking is coconut based. It’s very simple cooking. A first timer would enjoy “Lu Pulu” which is is taro and corned beef in coconut milk. My favorite is a coconut octopus dish called Lo’i FEKE....my dad made it everything thanksgiving....we had Tongan thanksgivings.
If you starred in a Disney movie, what would your character be? What would the elevator-pitch of the plot be?
I was actually Pocahontas at Disney so I think I’ve played my character
Check out her newest release "Live Wire" here!