Lotta Lindgren’s aural sensibilities are what you need in your life right now. With a musical pedigree bred in Sweden, a global capital of songwriting, Lindgren is well on the way to securing her place in pop canon under the musical moniker, Léon. Her newest single “Surround Me” is a rich pop gem that immediately calls to mind the soulful power of Adele and Amy Winehouse. Not bad company to keep. “Surround Me” is the kind of ode to finding young love that will ring true to anyone searching for that summer someone. “Oh every time you cross my mind / I get stupid,” she sings ahead of a choral drop that just might have you reaching for the sky.
Catch our Q&A with Léon below, then press play on a mixtape she’s put together to keep the feels coming. If you’re in New York, Léon is set to play an intimate performance on August 7th as part of the Next Up series on behalf of W Hotels and Billboard magazine. RSVP here.
How would you describe your musical style?
Lotta Lindgren: I would say that it’s a mix of soul, pop and indie.
What is the first album you ever owned? How did you get it?
LL: I can’t remember the exact first record I owned. But one of the first ones that I really remember is Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles. My parents always gave me a record with them or The Beach Boys for every birthday from the age of 8 or so.
What are three things you look for when you see an artist play live?
LL: The connection with their audience and their presence on stage. How they interact together with the band is always fun to see.
Who is your superhero alter ego and why?
LL: When I was a kid I thought Michelle Pfeiffer as Cat Woman was the coolest. So probably her. She seemed so confident but sometimes she’d get so vulnerable and insecure. I think many can relate to that.
If we’re going to buy you a drink, what should it be?
LL: The safest bet is red wine, 99% of the time.
What’s a song you have stuck in your head these days?
LL: “All Night Long” by Beyonce.
What’s your favorite thing to order from room service?
LL: It kind of became a thing to order a Ceasar salad wherever I went on the last tour, but I’d say breakfast. That’s probably my favorite meal.
Where do you find your artistic inspiration?
LL: It can be from watching a live show, that always makes me feel inspired and excited to write music. Traveling gives a lot of inspiration too.
Who’s your style icon?
LL: I’m not sure if I have one certain style icon. But I love Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy sense of style.
How did growing up in Stockholm shape your musical background and career so far?
LL: I grew up with parents who work as musicians, so I think that always inspired me. To see that you could actually do it for a living. And I’ve only gone to schools in Sweden where I could make music in some way. That’s how I met friends early on who loved to do the same thing as me, and how I started my first band and started recording. So I think it really had a big impact on me.
And finally, why did you choose the songs you did for your playlist?
LL: I always get inspired by different things, new sounds in the studio or working with different people or something else. But I feel like I always end up somewhere in between indie, soul and pop. That’s kind of the same thing with this playlist I made. I feel like there’s music that I always come back to no matter how long it’s been. No matter how much I am changing or what kind of phase I am in, I have a few songs that always gets to me. “Losing You” with Solange is one of the songs I picked for this playlist, and I think I’ve listened to it since I was 17 or so, and I never get tired of hearing it. That’s how I think I’ll feel about the rest of the songs on this playlist—I’ll probably come back to them in years from now and still love them just as much.
1. Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano
2. The xx – Say Something Loving
3. Coldplay, Big Sean – Miracles (Something Special)
4. Harry Styles – Meet Me in the Hallway
5. Haim – You Never Knew
6. Blood Orange – Best to You
7. Sza, Travis Scott – Love Galore
8. HONNE – Just Dance
9. Solange – Losing You
10. Foster The People – SHC