Forging her own path towards dominating the OPM industry, Lesha is ready to let her distinct voice be heard and her style to be seen.
Much like how fashion is constantly evolving, music also keeps up with the ever-changing times. With the art of music being subjective, it will always make a way to find new sonically pleasing chords and rhythms that are fresh to our ears. Just look at how the 20th century has a specific genre of music that dominated each decade—from the jazz age, disco era, to the alternative and unapologetically pop 90s.
So, as we entered a whole new decade this 2020, it really is no different. We are seeing an influx of a new breed of artists—specifically in the OPM industry—who are poised for their prime, readily entering the music business with their brand and sound. And one of the most recent ones is 23-year-old Lesha (for the uninitiated, it’s pronounced lee-shuh). Armed with a unique take on contemporary OPM, the rising star is slowly and surely redefining the local music scene with her ingenious electropop songs.
If you’re not entirely sure of what electropop is, well, just think of it as a hybrid between EDM and pop music, wherein it places more value on heavy synth lines. Famous artists who share the same affinity as Lesha with this genre are Lady Gaga, Troye Sivan, and Lauv, to name a few, which also happens to be her musical influences.
Now, if you’re on Tiktok (which you should by the way, or else we’re judging you) her very own rendition of Ciao, Bella, the iconic soundtrack of Netflix original Money Heist, may sound pretty familiar for you. And that’s because it actually went viral on Tiktok, being used as the audio of so many users or even dueting it—not just Filipinos.
“Prior to the pandemic, I uploaded a snippet of me singing it on TikTok and it surprisingly blew up,” Lesha recalls. “[But] once the quarantine was implemented in the Philippines, so much anxiety took over me. So, as a way for me to cope, I decided to continue writing Ciao, Bella. While I was working on the song, I realized how the message I had originally written didn’t just resonate with relationships or love. It also resonated with the pain our world is going through—whether it’s a natural disaster, a pandemic, or authorities taking advantage of their powers on their people.”
Because of this, Lesha thought that this should be her quarantine project. It was perfect for her since she had tight resources due to the lockdown. But regardless, she produced and recorded the entire track in her bedroom studio and made use of anything she could find in her room as props for the music video. (Fun fact: it was also Lesha herself who directed, filmed, and edited everything, but, of course, with a little help from her fambam.)
Following the success of her quarantine project, she was given an opportunity to collaborate on a track for the Netflix Film, Project Power, alongside other global artists. She got to compose, arrange, and partially produce her parts on the track as well.
Talent At Its Finest
At this point, you’ve probably noticed that Lesha can seemingly do everything—from producing, directing, singing, to composing. While perfection was never her goal, it doesn’t stray from the fact that she is talented—very talented, for that matter.
She was only three years old when her parents first discovered how much she enjoyed singing. “So, they enrolled me in voice classes which I attended every day after school. Then in third grade, I joined guitar classes after watching School Of Rock,” Lesha reminisces. “This is how I learned to add my own flair to the songs I covered.”
But it was really during high school when she hit rock bottom. “I would get bullied for being overweight and people would always associate my physical appearance with my talent. It was during these hard times that songwriting became my escape,” she says.
Continually pursuing the most important thing that kept her going, she self-taught herself with electronic music production through YouTube tutorials the summer before entering college. “Everything was a trial and error process. I would play around with GarageBand, a bunch of iPad apps, and I would write songs for fun,” she details. “I just added my own twist by chopping up my vocals and create an EDM-ish drop which quickly became a signature sound of mine.”
Because of her pure talent and passion for music, the unique remixes of her song covers is what made Lesha rise to fame as a cover artist on Youtube. “As my YouTube journey continued to flourish, I educated myself on filmmaking and began directing, filming, and editing my own music videos which you can watch on my channel.”
With all of the many influences—both trials and learnings—that had played a huge role in her life, her experiences made it possible for her to have this very distinct taste in music creation. If you’ll look at the OPM industry over the years, the sure formula for an artist to become successful is to follow the path of balladeers aka the biriteras.
But again, we are finally at the dawn of a new epoch in OPM. Filipinos are starting to welcome new genres that haven’t actually saturated the local music scene, which is why we’re happy to see Lesha rising to the occasion making waves through electropop music in the country.
“OPM has definitely evolved so much with everything moving so fast with the help of technology. It’s so much easier for indie artists or aspiring artists to release their music to the world without the help of record labels and I think it’s dope that more people are open to hearing different genres from Filipino artists,” she says.
So, to constantly offer new music to everyone, Lesha’s really fond of throwing in some low pitched vocals in her song intros or slap on a bunch of different harmonies, apart from her signature vocal chops. “In terms of genre, I incorporate bits of trap, pop, alternative, and hip-hop into my music,” she adds.
While her sound is imperative to set her apart from other artists, it’s really how she is able to make herself relatable with the younger audience that all of us truly admire about her. “Most of the songs I’ve written came from my personal experiences,” she shares. “My songs are kind of like diary entries. I love writing while I’m in the spur of emotions. There are songs I’ve written at my lowest points in life that have definitely saved me from giving up.”
The Perfect Fit
“The last thing I want is having to wear stiletto heels and tight clothes during a show, so I can literally go crazy on stage without worrying about my outfit or in the worst case, trip!” she quips. You see, Lesha is our main girl who’s really all about living her life in her own terms of attitude. As she’s on the stage performing, she just wants to let her creativity freely flow from within her and have a good time.
In fact, one of her biggest accomplishments to date was performing an all-original set in front of 15,000 people for the New Year’s Eve Party of BGC in 2019 and at YouTube Fanfest 2019 in MOA Arena. “These were the biggest crowds I’ve ever faced and I’m proud of myself for overcoming my stage fright,” the young artist shares. So, it’s crucial that she’s definitely who she is on stage wearing the perfect fit of streetwear clothing when sharing her music.
“My favorite thing about streetwear is that it’s super comfortable and it fits my vibe as an artist,” she explains. “As I’m always on the lookout for creative expression, innovation, originality, I believe GUESS fully captures that entire spectrum. GUESS gave me the freedom to express my personality through fashion and the ability to dress however I choose.”
“When I look for outfit inspos, I would most likely check out men’s streetwear accounts on Instagram and Pinterest, or e-boys,” Lesha laughingly admits. And let’s all face it, we all like checking out e-boys on Instagram and Titkok as they just have this unperturbed attitude on the way they choose their fits. Plus, they’re hot—we gotta give it to them, right?
Now, with all of these achievements and constantly making music, where exactly is Lesha headed in the future? “We’re currently in the process of filming the music video and we’re also working on my EP release for early next year,” she says. But as that may take time, fret not, because she’s about to release a new single next month.
And eventually, she’s looking forward to exploring other DAWS soon or trying out other ways to play with her vocals and samples. “I really enjoy the process of reinventing my sound and style. So, I won’t be surprised if I decide to completely change things up or introduce an overall different vibe in the near future,” she claims. “I think it’s very important for artists to know what’s in and how they can evolve.” After all, the art of making music is ever-changing. And change is good—it is necessary.