Five Questions With LEANDRO

Vancouver, BC-based artist Leandro Mendez a.k.a. LEANDRO has unveiled his EDM protest dance-pop career with the fiery and infectious “Da Vinci”. The song is also accompanied by a music video that features LEANDRO singing while donning a neo-Gothic long coat and wearing Ziggy Stardust-esque makeup as the hard-driven dance beat blares on. Together with Tahnee Langshaw (as Mary Magdalene) and  Danielle Coronado (as Mona Lisa), LEANDRO dances and acts out a choreographed event in the streets of Vancouver.

“It’s an ode to the ultimate Renaissance artist—Leonardo da Vinci,” Mendez says. “It is about the outcast, the silenced, the marginalized, the plight and struggle of women, and the LGBTQIA2S+ community.”

The single is part of an upcoming EP entitled THIS IS PROTEST POP, which is a collection of EDM tracks that come bearing purposeful messages about the world we live in. And with it, LEANDRO is leading a revolution.

“It’s a musical movement for change, honesty, joy and self-expression,” Mendez says. “It does not follow trends. It follows passion, intention, heart, and intuition. It marches to its own innovative beat—born of the Renaissance Age and Outer Space.”

Check out “Da Vinci” below, and find out more about LEANDRO via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m LEANDRO, a singer/songwriter dance recording artist based in Vancouver BC. I was born and raised in the Philippines before immigrating to Canada back in 1997. I started my entertainment career in Vancouver as a choreographer, writer, and director of live stage shows for several years, having created and independently produced two live tribute shows, “TINA: A Rock n’ Roll Journey” based on the music of Tina Turner and “REINVENTION OF DISCO”—a dance cabaret featuring the music of Donna Summer. I was also a backup dancer for several stage and live bands. In 2020, I’ve decided to come out from behind the scenes, put myself front and center and start an Independent EDM protest dance-pop career. I love dance music! As a child, I have been strongly influenced by legendary performers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson. Becoming a recording artist has always been a lifelong childhood dream.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My creative focus is to write, perform, and produce story-telling original dance songs. My compositions as a singer/songwriter represent my life, my past experiences, how I view the current state of the world, and how I want to shape the future. I want to share irresistible dance music that comes from the joys of life as much as it also comes from anger, pain, and despair. My music is not about money, fame, clout, blowing up, or going viral. It is #PROTESTPOP – a musical movement for change, honesty, joy & self-expression. It does not follow trends. It follows passion, Intention, heart & intuition. It marches to its own innovative beat – born of the Renaissance Age & Outer Space. It is dance music with a message and a purpose. Cheek, humorous, deep, sarcastic at times – I’m using energetic dance music as a way of conveying an honest message that hopefully resonates with everyone who faces the current challenges of the global pandemic, race relations, political and social injustices.

I’m very much inspired by the music of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Donna Summer, and the Queen of Protest Song, the legendary Nina Simone. She’s the musician that I truly relate to. She fought and sang for the Civil Rights Movement during the 60s in America. She was extremely brave about expressing her true voice and convictions. I want to be the “NINA SIMONE” of EDM, empowering People of Color, providing a louder voice, and encouraging authentic expression.

As a songwriter, I react to my social environment. I react to the present times. I’m very much inspired by a quote from Ms. Simone – “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

What have you been doing to keep yourself creative during the pandemic? 

Even before the lockdowns started happening during the early part of 2020, I have already started writing my own music. The pandemic had become a catalyst to my songwriting and my creative juices haven’t stopped flowing since. Isolation has helped me to truly dive deep within my untapped territory – emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. I don’t play any musical instrumentals and I don’t read notes so, during the entire year, I connected online with two upcoming brilliant and talented music producers/beatmakers – Vancouver-based Terraform Music and Victoria-based Nomadic Sound. Both helped me shape and arrange my dance tracks. I genuinely enjoy my own personal songwriting process but musically collaborating with my producers is when I’m having the most fun! Right now during the pandemic of 2021, I’m still having fun.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Hands down, it has to be “Da Vinci” – my debut single. This track truly represents the kind of artist and writer that I am. I do not hold back on this song and it comes from raw honesty. Plus, the beats and arrangement are fiery and epic – pure #ProtestPop

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

My choice of Canadian Artists are The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Allie X, Feist, Peaches, Nelly Furtado, & Avril Lavigne, to name a few.

I would like to sneak in one American – St. Vincent – as a special mention!

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