PRESENTED BY LAYLA ANNA-LEE
Leni Ward has gone it alone. Risking all the money she had, she set up her own home studio and, over the course of ten months, recorded what was to become "Body".
This intense, multi-layered work is a true solo effort, on which Leni is the sole composer, performer, producer and recording engineer. Mastered by Tim Debney (Thom Yorke, Low, British Sea Power, Lily Allen) and released on British independent label Tunica Adventitia Records, this melding of electronic and more traditional instrumentation is already garnering a wide range of fans in her native England, even being picked up by BBC 6 Music only weeks after the recording was completed.
Tracks from the record have gone on to be played on national, local and internet radio whilst the album's videos have been playlisted on national television.
Beginning life as a cathartic exercise, in an attempt to rid herself of the traumas experienced during a prolonged childhood illness during which time she was put on experimental drugs trials, Body quickly expanded to cover a wide range of topics, from mortality to philosophy.
"These are things I've been thinking about for a long time," says Leni. "When you're nine years old and your body is just falling apart and you're curled up a ball on the floor thinking "I'm going to die", you very quickly become aware that this meat suit you're walking around in isn't really you, isn't necessarily on your side and can have a seriously malicious sense of humor some days.
"At 22 I knew I had to get past that. So I started writing an album intending it to be about the whole experience. So I fiddled around with the equipment, getting to know it, wrote a couple of brief sketches, and then over 5 days in December without really sleeping or eating, Can't Be Won't Be came out. It took another two weeks to make it sound and speak the way it needed to, but at the end of that I felt like I'd surfaced from this place where I'd been holding my breath for years. I felt lighter. And then I thought: now what?
"When I'd written most of the album I took a step back and realised I'd been writing down this battle I'd been trying to ignore. And I had to accept that.
"The tracks put themselves in order for me at that point and I could see this journey that I'd been taking in my head for all this time: run, hit an obstacle, run, fall apart. Repeat. What this album was saying to me was "This is what you've been doing. And it's been hurting you. Isn't it time you moved on?" Maybe that's advice everyone needs."
Tune in again tomorrow!