Meet 20-year-old songwriter-producer Max Leone, the newest artist signed to The Darkroom (behind Billie Eilish), who today releases his debut single ‘First Grade’ off a forthcoming EP. Described by Paper Mag as “a real winner, complete with smooth vocals and sticky melodies“, listen to ‘First Grade’ HERE.
Picking up the guitar at age 7, Leone quickly developed a passion for playing and quickly turned to the violin and piano as well. Countless after-school hours spent practicing, composing as well as learning electronic production via YouTube, led Leone to attend the prestigious Berklee College Of Music as a guitar principal. After his first year, Leone decided to take the chance and leave Berklee for Los Angeles to pursue music full time.
Throughout his debut EP, Leone tells his story of navigating a new city alone while chasing a potentially far-fetched dream. He explores themes of self-doubt, longing for anything familiar, and coping with ‘modern isolation’: keeping up appearances on social media while silently suffering.
Inspired by some of music’s all-time greats including Otis Redding, John Mayer, Nina Simone, among others, Leone’s music is defined by his acoustic-driven songwriting combined with electronic-tinged, urban-pop production. His songs are immediate, recalling the soulful bedroom pop of Omar Apollo or the pop-inflected R&B of Khalid.
Written and recorded in one day, ‘First Grade‘ (produced by Luke Niccoli who has worked with Joji, Miya Folick, Taylor Janzen), deals with disappointment, accepting people as they are and realizing perfection is an impossible feat. Max Leone’s debut shows to be announced soon, stay tuned for more.
‘First Grade‘ is out via The Darkroom, buy/stream it now.