Los Angeles, CA
10.30.17. Blue Bottle Coffee / Silverlake, CA.
As I walked up to meet Leeuw I couldn’t have been more excited. I met her a few weeks ago at “The Pocket LA” and ever since – loved her vibe and was dying to get some shots of her. As she walked through the door of Blue Bottle, I knew this was going to be an amazing shoot. One hour, one look, and a few different perspectives – we created some magic. Upon shooting with her, I had a moment of complete amazement. “Would it be okay if I asked you a few questions after we shoot and maybe include some of them on a blog for my website?” I asked her. “Of course!” She responded.
This was the result.
A: So why’d you move to Los Angeles?
L: “I actually moved here with a boyfriend at the time.”
Leeuw spoke about the relationship that brought her to Los Angeles. Describing it as “unhealthy” and “negative”, it’s no surprise that it could have been holding her back during her first few months here. She described her partner at that time to be emotionally abusive; and spoke about just how negatively that impacted both her soul and her craft. According to Leeuw, they ended up breaking apart and immediately put all of her energy back into music. She hasn’t stopped since.
A: “So what genre would you place your music in?”
L: “I’d say Alternative Soul.”
A: “Hm. What is Alternative Soul? I like the sound of that.”
L: “It’s just – something you feel. You know? Like when music makes you move and vibe and just feel. It’s basically just music with a sway.”
When asking about her fashion inspirations, Leeuw gave immediate credit to global icons Liv Tyler and Rihanna. She also gave a heartfelt tribute to a best friend of hers who’s named “Genesis” - who she describes as the closest thing to her stylist and main fashion inspiration.
A: “Cool, cool. So when’d you know music was your “thing?” What was that moment for you?”
L: “My Opa actually had given an old guitar of his to my brother a few years ago, and I don’t know how – but somehow it ended up in my closet. And one day I had a friend of mine over and he saw the guitar peaking out and just asked me, “Hey! Do you know how to play?” I responded no and he ended up showing me my first chord. I wrote my first song that night. I was 16.
A: “Being that you are both Dutch and Indonesian, have you dealt with any issues of identity confusion or intersectionality throughout your life?”
T: “You know my culture was always embraced growing up. Being both Dutch and Indonesian, we always celebrated both sides and it felt really good. Then when my family moved to Rancho Cucamonga, something changed. All of a sudden everybody wanted to be the same. Blue eyes, blonde hair. It was weird. But when I moved to Los Angeles everything felt right again. I loved the diversity.”
A: “What do you think is one of the most important conversations we should be having in today’s generation?”
T: “I think women. You know, I’ve dealt with a lot of male dominating figures in my life and have grown up witnessing men who really believed they were just “superior” to women. It’s a huge problem and whether it be women’s rights, or racism in America, there is this huge gap of ignorance. And it’s not a matter of pointing fingers, but educating oneself and recognizing that somethings a problem and then doing something to try and change it.”
Leeuw radiates authenticity. As an artist, she’s passionate. As a women, she’s strong. And as a creator, she’s on a mission. Leeuw disclosed to me that 2018 should be a huge year for her music, and that she is currently working on some of her newest work that she is incredibly excited to share with the world.
You can find her on Spotify and Instagram at @whosleeuw.