Get Familiar: An Interview with Detroit’s LeLe XO, who receives Lady Gaga comparisons

Much like Ghost did with Jackpot, he went looking through our email inbox and came across a series of emails from the publicist of Detroit artist LeLe XO.

Rhyme Junkie: When did you start in the music industry, LeLe XO?

LeLe XO: Well I’ve been singing all my life but professionally as an artist about two years.

Rhyme Junkie: “Patrollin Boyz” would be your biggest record to date correct?

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LeLe XO: I don’t know. I feel like my last one “Power” did pretty good but yeah.

Rhyme Junkie: Taking a look and listen through your soundcloud and I’m sure you got this before but you have a sound very similar to Gaga…

LeLe XO: I heard that before. My new sound I’m moving away from that but it did get me some of my fans originally. I don’t regret having a similar sound to Gaga or people saying that.

Rhyme Junkie: Was it intentional to have a sound similar to her or was it organic?

LeLe XO: It definitely wasn’t intentional. I’m naturally gaudy like that but I’m not Gaga and never tried to be. I grew up to her as a teenager and it became engrained in me.

Rhyme Junkie: Those (Gaga) comparisions don’t bother you, do they?

LeLe XO: No. She’s awesome.

Rhyme Junkie: Some artists will hear that they are compared to so and so and it will drive them crazy and they’ll say they’re their own person.

LeLe XO: I mean people have to connect people to other people. Whatever you see first, anything that reminds you of it makes you go “they sound like this person or look like that person.”

Rhyme Junkie: The need to associate something that’s new with something familiar to make it comfortable.

LeLe XO: Exactly. Once you get used to them and see more that they do, you start to see it as their own.

Rhyme Junkie: You said you’re moving away from the Gaga like sound and listening to your music it sounds like early Gaga.

LeLe XO: Yeah which is my favorite stuff from Gaga. Listening to it for so long naturally in my head my songs sounded like Gaga. Since I hear the comparison so much I don’t want people to just think that that’s all I am. I haven’t decided on where to go with my new sound.

Rhyme Junkie: For those that are not familiar with you, can we get a bit of background on you?

LeLe XO: I’m from Michigan and originally went out to a convention in Los Angeles because I had no idea about the business. Like I had no clue on how to even record a song. It’s crazy to think how naïve I was knowing what I know now. After a few things, I decided to move back to Detroit and be a Detroit artist cause that’s my home versus being an L.A. artist which everyone wants to be.

Rhyme Junkie: You said Gaga was a musical influence for you. Do you have any others?

LeLe XO: Yea definitely. When I was a lot younger it was Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff. Teenage years was a lot of Gaga and Paramore. Currently, it’s Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Ray, Michael Jackson.

Rhyme Junkie:  A lot of artists from Michigan and Detroit especially take pride in making it in Detroit versus making it elsewhere. Why do you think there’s that level of pride?

LeLe XO: I don’t why others feel that way but for me after living in L.A. it made me appreciate home and the people here a lot more. It gave me an extra sense of pride.

“I’m still out here grinding and doing local festivals passing out contact cards with my information on it.”

Rhyme Junkie: Have you reached the point in the Detroit area where you can’t go to the grocery store in peace?

LeLe XO: Lol. No I haven’t reached that point yet. I’m trying to. I’m still out here grinding and doing local festivals passing out contact cards with my information on it. Trying to get people to recognize me and give me a shot cause people aren’t going to go out their way for an unknown artist. But with every show I meet more people and more fans so that’s all that matters for me.

Rhyme Junkie: What matters more to you as an artist: Is it the critical acclaim or the commercial success?

LeLe XO:  Oh definitely the acclaim means the most to me. I don’t and never wanted one song to make a bunch of money and be set.

Rhyme Junkie:  Are you working on any projects?

LeLe XO: Yea, currently working on my album. I have all the songs wrote just haven’t gotten them recorded yet as I’m looking for the right producers. I’m looking at doing a bigger album but people around me are telling me maybe it should be shorter around 12 songs.

Rhyme Junkie: You say bigger album, you mean around 16-20 songs?

LeLe XO: Yea definitely. That’s kind of what I like listening to.

Rhyme Junkie: How did you come up with your stage name?

LeLe XO: It’s actually Macedonian and I just started imitating them and they started calling me that and it stuck. I added the XO to it so that when people search my name they don’t just get all the foreign stuff.

Rhyme Junkie: Before we get you out of here is there anything you want to say?

LeLe XO: Thanks for taking the time out to do this. Also make sure to follow me @IAmLeleXO that’s for all social media platforms from Soundcloud to Instagram to Twitter.