EXCLUSIVE: The artist known as LEONE brings on the heartbreak with “Talk To Me”

Okay, it’s the middle of the night as I’m writing this and I’ve had a few glasses of cheap Malbec from a bottle acquired at my local hooch hut with the double-paned glass and I’m just trying to figure out what to say about this extremely intense, emotionally unprotected song by LEONE, and its accompanying video slated to debut on the Deli today (here it is! directed by Rosie Soko!) and for starters I’m gonna say first of all that you should probably help yourself to a glass or three of cheap wine (except for recovering alcoholics, we respect you!) to get in a fitting mindspace for “Talk To Me” because it’s not a sober song at all and I don’t even mean this in the alcohol-imbibing sense but rather in the sense of being “muted, sensible, or solemn” because as a musical artist LEONE is none of these things (and thank goodness for that!) being very much willing to “lay it on the line” to the extent that you’ll be “laying it on the line” just by listening and viewing the video below that is if you’re fearless and foolhardy enough to check out this EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE not available to the general public until tomorrow (those clueless suckas!) and I’m just warning you that you’ll soon be huddled in your shower in the fetal position just like LEONE is in the music video because there’s no double-paned glass to protect you when it comes to “Talk To Me.”

With assistance by Peter Savad (co-production, mixing and mastering) “Talk to Me” is the second single and second music video from LEONE’s upcoming solo EP slated to be released in early summer (title TBD) and according to LEONE—formerly knows as Richie Bee and formerly known as frontman for the queer glam (redundant, I know!) band DEITRE for those keeping score at home—“I made a choice to get very personal and literal with this upcoming EP both lyrically as well as visually. I really wanted to paint the picture of the actual events that took place." And personally I love it when glamsters and punk rockers write power ballads because power ballads are supposed to have power goddammit, not to mention serious drama, and this one certainly ticks off both boxes.

And if you’re going to go out on a confessional limb and write a song about “the feeling of desperation after experiencing a lost connection” and a “song [that] personifies the loneliness that can live within a relationship” then it helps if you already understand battling-demons-thru-disclosure, not to mention transcendence-thru-transgression and ecstasy-thru-abjection, like any good glammy-punky rocker should and seriously just go watch Phantom of the Paradise or Velvet Goldmine if you don’t believe me. 

And here’s one cool thing that LEONE does musically to capture this state of agonized longing and vulnerability, a state that would lead someone to declare “you’re giving me the same ol’ silly lies / wrap my arms around you tight / so you know that I’m here” and that’s having the confidence to spend three-plus minutes slowly-but-surely ratcheting up the tension starting with delicate acoustic guitar and gradually adding new musical layers before finally bursting open like an overripe plum and it’s certainly fulfilling when it happens.

And so it’s extra gutting when the song recedes back into itself in its final moments and you realize (as made even clearer by the music video) that this damn-bursting explosion of emotional release was only in LEONE’s head and that in reality he’s still trapped in a heartbreaking “lonely together” co-dependent relationship mired in a state of communication breakdown and I hope you’ll excuse me while I go and curl up in the shower.

But lest I end this review on a downer note, based on these two songs by LEONE, here’s a new musical artist who knows how to write shattering, ravishing songs which, let’s face it, play an important role in this world because who amongst us hasn’t suffered the loss of a loved one, whether on the physical plane (see “Monochrome Colors” above) or on the emotional plane. And how better to begin healing than with music that confronts trauma head on and turns it into something exquisite. (Jason Lee)