Toronto-based queer alt-hip hop artist, Lex Leosis, shares her EP, Terracotta, today — just in time for peak summer vibes. The now Tiktok rap battle champ is also debuting a brand new video for “That Feel,” which shows an easy, breezy afternoon of skating in the sunshine. Leosis’ signature attitude is in full force in video with her lioness hair, long nails and high energy.
“That Feel” feels like a celebration, and this new release deserves exactly that. The video was shot in both Los Angeles and Toronto. Director, Yohalmo, who is embedded into longboard communities in LA, shot all the California scenes. He brought together the cast and both main characters Shannen Soriano and Laura Paragano. Director, Sharleen Meinke, who also directed the “Wanted” official video, shot Leosis’ parts in Toronto.
The previously released single and outlaw anthem, “Wanted,” arrived with an icon Thelma and Louise-inspired video. The debut single from the project was the sunny, tropical-beat infused, “Won’t Wait,” which showcased a breezy, bouncy beat under Leosis’ vulnerable lyrics and she yearns for real talk and love, but not at the expense of self-worth.
“Won’t Wait” and “Wanted” were produced by Rainer Blanchaer (Drake, The Weeknd, French Montana, The 1975), who is an executive producer on the whole EP. Having met through Leosis’ roommate, Blanchaer became a pandemic pal, and one of the only people she’s seen consistently during lockdown. They’ve used their time making music together in Leosis’ bedroom studio and the result is Terracotta. Describing the new EP, she says:
“In the Terracotta pots process, clay starts by being refined and molded. Through fire, time, and attention to detail…the terracotta pot is complete. I wrote this project through the pandemic. I was coming off releasing “Mythologies” (March 2020) and I was sad that I had to cancel a lot of my roll-out plans. No interviews, shows/tours or celebrations. I put my whole heart into that project and to see that I couldn’t continue my rollout because of the pandemic was a big blow. Instead of letting it defeat me, I decided that it would make me stronger and that I would use this time to rebuild.”
Creating a space to make music in her bedroom, she decided on a re-design for her space to inspire her creatively. She says, “I started looking into colour palettes that would inspire the re-design…and there it was Terracotta. The summer had passed and it was getting colder and we were all aware of what was about to happen. Locked down in the cold with little sun. Like a lot of other people, my mental health doesn’t do well in these conditions. My bedroom design had to be warm, it had to be bright and happy. It had to channel summer. The vision of summer 2021 represented a time where this might all be over and things may be better.”
She adds, “So as the pieces of my bedroom start to come together, so does this project. My space is giving me the energy I need to focus every day. I immediately started learning instruments (piano and MPD). The Terracotta bedspread becomes the place I write “Won’t Wait.” I started daily meditation and writing a verse every day. I was lying down on my geometric gray rug when I came up with the hook for “Reality.” I start working out more and envisioning my live show. I was surrounded by plants in terracotta pots when I penned “That Feel.” Then at the end of this writing period, I have a warm, bright home space, at the exact same time as I have this incredible project. One year later and I’m a completely different person.”
Leosis also admits, “The EP definitely had a muse. Someone I really love and has consistently inspired me. This EP details all the feelings I’ve had about them, and consequently, about myself over the last year.” A dedication to the softness that quarantine created in her, a part of herself she didn’t have time to look at before, she also had time to dig through her grandfather’s old jazz records that she loved as a kid. When he passed in 2009, the records were given to her but had been dusty until Covid made her slow way down. The piano, saxophones and live drums on those records inspired the live elements on the new EP and Leosis says, “He had this foresight to leave those to me. We used to sit in his car outside our house and just listen to Jazz and I loved music as a kid.”
Between her quality time with Rainer, her grandfather’s records and her time to be with herself, she found a way to channel summer’s warmth, growth and freedom into 6 tracks. Terracotta is out everywhere now.