The moment that ignited the singer, the songwriter, musician and bard in Kieran Leonard was being forced by his mum to watch a David Bowie retrospective on the telly as a 13 year old kid. He wrote 100 songs in 6 months (including the Canvey Island School hits ‘Southend’s Got a Stuffed Crust of Lust’ and ‘My Gay Lamp’) the die was cast …
Since that epiphany Leonard has been driving, guns blazing, eyes open, pen poised to this point. With a debut album about to launch, now is the moment that will undeniably propel this impassioned and politically galvanized talent onto the global stage.
With a weird & restless childhood spent living between Ireland, the US and then London and lyrical references drawn widely from Beckett & Burroughs to Shakespeare & Marlowe, his output has much more substantial bite and subsequent gut fill than many of his contemporaries.
“Hearing songs when I was small that seemed to make things a great deal better. Songs that would strike sudden sparks and the somehow the whole world was different after I heard them. Now, I have a few songs of my own.
An ambition to be a change merchant rather than trigger a revolution is probably what imbues Leonard’s songs with such compelling and provocative narratives. “However, it’s also my ambition to smoke the first Benson and Hedges on the moon”.
This ability to meld the poetic with the political in a patchwork of broad ideas is exemplified in his most recent singles “Jerusalem” and “Harold Pinter is dead”. Jerusalem was released in the start of 2011 and in a zeitgeist moment was adopted by the ‘Occupy’ and ‘Uncut’ movements, speaking directly to the social unrest gripping the UK at the time.
Legendary Film director Ridley Scott then picked it up as a sound track to his unique documentary “Life in a day” exposing the song to a growing global audience. The song continued to resonate further reaching out across the internet to the ‘Arab Spring’, attracting attention as far afield as Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, USA and Russia.
Over the last year this kind of smart thinking has put him on the same stage as Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Mick Jones, Carl Barat, Peter Doherty, Graham Coxon, Baba Maal, Fionn Regan, & Lee Mavers.
More highlights included performances at Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds Festivals, and being invited to support The Libertines at their reunion concerts in London.
A man who believes in living his principles Kieran has this year set up his “The Chance to Fail Foundation”, created to help young people develop an understanding of the relationship between music, literature and song-writing as a tool for comment and social change, as well as what he describes as ‘ the unbridled and sacred redemption of just singing a good song’.
With extensive live dates booked to support his debut album “Out of work astronaut”, which will be released on 27th August, the changing world of 2012 is about to see a lot more of the remarkable & mercurial talent of Kieran Leonard.