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  • Writer's picturePrudence Mai

Suffolk's Indie-Folk Sensation Leon O’Leary Drops Highly Anticipated Debut EP ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’

Indie-folk singer-songwriter Leon O’Leary has unveiled his eagerly awaited debut EP ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’, marking a significant milestone in his burgeoning career. Known for his captivating performances across the UK at major festivals like Latitude, Wild Paths, and Lakefest, O’Leary has already earned a reputation as a rising star, being named among BBC Introducing East’s ‘Artists to Watch’.

The new EP, heavily influenced by the likes of Ben Howard, Bruce Springsteen, The War On Drugs, and Hozier, presents a refined blend of folk and alternative-indie instrumentation. The title track, ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’, stands out with its vibrant energy, melding high-octane indie backdrops with O’Leary’s poetic lyricism and storytelling prowess, encapsulating the essence of folk within his distinctive style.

Reflecting on the creation of the single, Leon shared: “I started writing ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’ after my friend Tom Dixon sent me chord progression ideas via Instagram voice notes. We developed the progression through voice messages until it clicked, and I added lyrics I had stored for the first verse. The song critiques virtue signaling and saviour complexes in society—people who adopt philosophies and ideologies with shallow understanding to appear righteous rather than for genuine good. We finished recording all the instruments at North Acre Studios in a day, despite a rushed start due to a scheduling mix-up. Vocals were later recorded in my bedroom with my sister, Issy O’Leary, on harmonies.”

Discussing the EP’s development, O’Leary revealed: “The opportunity to record at North Acre Studios last February gave me the push to create my first EP. ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’ felt like a pivotal track that defined my current sound. I didn’t want to release just another single; the chance to record the track ignited my drive to produce a full EP. The five tracks on this EP represent the sound and energy I’ve sought since getting my first electric guitar. They encompass everything I love in music, from folk’s poetic nature to Americana’s twangy blues and rock’s anthemic energy, with a touch of pop influences. This EP is my genre casserole.”

O’Leary's journey includes performances at high-profile festivals and gigs with acts like Bernard Butler (from Suede), The Feeling, RATS, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Night Flight, and The House of Love. His music has garnered support from Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing, highlighting his early releases. Now, with the release of ‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’, Leon O’Leary is set to solidify his place as a significant new talent in the indie-folk scene.

‘Pretend (To Be Saviours)’ is now available on all major streaming platforms, promising to enchant listeners with its heartfelt compositions and rich, diverse soundscapes. Fans and new listeners alike can expect a profound musical experience from this promising Suffolk artist.



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