The artist talks about her new album coming this summer, and plans to work with Pussy Riot again.
This interview was conducted on May 26, 2018 by Tori Bedford for WGBH, at the Boston Calling Music Festival.
This is your first Boston Calling, your first time playing in Boston, and you said this is the biggest festival that you’ve played — how does that feel?
Leikeli47: It's amazing. I've done festivals before -- brought out as a featured guest on a little stage. But today in Boston, Boston gave me my first crowd that actually knew my words. And it was my crowd today. So I just want to thank the people of Boston for that. It was an unforgettable experience. I will never forget this. So energetic It was incredible.
Talking about features — you featured on a Pussy Riot song, were you able to catch their set last night?
Leikeli47: No because we were on the road, unfortunately. But I know Nadya and the girls smashed it. They are so powerful and so inspiring. It was amazing working with her, and Dave, and the way it all came together. They're super creative and I'm sure you're going to hear more from us in the future.
You mean collaborating with them?
Leikeli47: Yes, I think we will. You know when time permits or whatever. I'm on a road working on my new album, and I know they're always on the road and working. But you know have friends do — when we get them downtown — we get it.
Tell me about that new album, what are you working on?
Leikeli47: Oh! I'm trying to see how much I can tell you. Well, to give it to you, I'm working on my new album. It's titled Acrylic and it will be coming pretty soon, within the coming months (sometime around summer). And this is another album celebrating life, celebrating the girls -- just everyone and ... it's all about us. I'm excited to be painting the game with another color. You know, just bring in some diversity to the music -- just a different kind of sound. I'm excited for everyone to hear it and I hope they like it.
That’s really important to Pussy Riot and it’s really important to you, diversity, the voices of women… you guys are also both known for wearing ski masks — can you tell me why preserving your anonymity is important to you?
Leikeli47: Because it's not about me. It's about you, and it's about the art. I don't want the focus to just be all about your image, or this or that. I don't want anything to take away from the art; the message. Whatever it is that I do the colors, I want you to see every color. I want you to feel every color. I want you to hear every sound. That's what it's about. So this mask represents a gender less race. Just people loving on each other, and loving art.
I want to ask you really quickly too about your name, if I can quickly delve into the conspiracy theory world…
Leikeli47: Yes, let's crush the rumors, if anyone has any. But what you want to know?
I have one for you: someone suggested maybe 47 is your lucky number? Luckily?
Leikeli47: Forty seven is a lucky number? No that's not why.
Okay I’ll try again next time, had to shoot my shot there. Let’s talk about "Wash & Set" — it’s a lot of themes about cutting the bullshit out of your life, empowering women, about feeling like your best self. Where does all that come from, that strength and that energy?
Leikeli47: Just living just life, you know? We go through so much, everyone does and that's what "Wash & Set" is about. It's about wash and and that's it. You know, as ladies what it is when you go in that salon and you sit next to your sister, going out you may not even know but your souls are probably connected and related. And again unbeknownst to you both, you both walk out of that salon — that nail salon or wherever you go — you walk out of there looking like nothing that you have been through. And that's what it is. It's just all about celebrating that strength, love, life and being OK to not be OK sometimes. And being OK to say it is her right even if you are a woman. So that's what the message is all about, and it's about fun. I grew up idolizing Michael, and Michael had a way of making you dance to his message. Him and Janet. Those are two of my ultimate faves -- and that's what I wanted "Wash & Set" to be. I wanted you to dance, but I also wanted you to say 'oh, she's saying something,' you know? So that's it.
So you’re on tour right now, you’re working on this new album, Acrylic, when is that set to come out?
Leikeli47: Acrylic will be out around the summertime. The crazy part about it is Acrylic that was actually finished with "Wash & Set." When I did "Wash & Set" I did three albums. It was almost like a trilogy type of thing. But as an artist, it seems like whenever you get close to that date for it to come out, you're like wait a minute --I've got another song. Wait a minute. So right now I'm just continuing to work and perfect the project because I want it to be the best thing that you guys have ever heard. It belongs to you. So I want to make sure I do you proud.
What should be the biggest takeaway from your music for your listeners?
Leikeli47: The biggest takeaway is to be kind at all times. It's to treat the janitor the same way you treat the CEO in this business. It takes a lot of working hands to make this type of stuff happen. So that's my take away -- just to be humble, to remain humble, to treat everyone the same you want to be treated. That's my takeaway and that's honestly my giveaway/takeaway -- do what you will with that. You will go very far when you're kind, you're pleasant, and easy to work with.
(Transcribed and condensed for clarity by Stacy Buchanan)