So here we are on a fine Saturday morning here @skopemag HQ. We are so excited to have an awesome guest today by the name Lea B. Lea’s most recently released project is titled, Symptomatic. This concept album consists of ten tracks that offer an all-exclusive look into the lives of those with chronic illnesses/mental health illnesses/autoimmune diseases. She is an artist that is not afraid to expose her reality while also putting out great music. Lets get it going as we chat about saying bye to 2020, growing as a musician, “invisible illnesses”, and so much more, enjoy!
@skopemag: Where are we talking from today and how are you feeling as we say goodbye to 2020 and begin the holiday season?
Lea: I just moved back to my home state, New Jersey. I was living in Maryland for two years and I am so happy to be back. With the pandemic still going on and the holidays approaching, I feel better knowing that I live closer to my family again.
@skopemag: When you think of 2021 does it feel optimistic or otherwise and why?
Lea: 2021 is an unknown territory for me. I’m optimistic about the music I have been creating, but the world right now still needs to heal desperately. I hope that 2021 will bring us all some sort of peace and good health moving forward.
@skopemag: At what age did you realize you have a passion for music and wanted to pursue a career and did your family/friends support you?
Lea: I think I started singing when I was ten or eleven. I was in all of my school choirs, performed in our recitals or talent shows, and I was in our drama club productions. I started officially writing my own songs at twelve years old and I’ve been writing ever since. My friends and family were very supportive of my dreams and still are till this day.
@skopemag: I assume Lea B. is your real name, how did you decide on that to help express your music?
Lea: Well, it is and it isn’t. My full name is Evangelea Rose Bourinaris. I’m Greek and Italian, so I come from a long line of long first names and last names. I use my nickname, Lea, because people have a hard time pronouncing my full name. Syllables or other letters are always added to it. So, I just tell everyone to call me Lea and on every name tag for every job I have ever worked at, my name has been written as: Lea B.
@skopemag: At what time of day and emotional state would you say you are most creative and inspired to create music?
Lea: I am a huge night owl. So, I typically write songs at night. Although, sometimes I catch myself creating lyrics in my head super early in the morning when I can’t fall back to sleep. As for my emotional state, I usually write when I’m happy, sad, or even angry.
@skopemag: Your debut album came out three years ago – ‘History.’ How have you grown as a woman and a musician since then?
Lea: Yes. That album changed my life. With ‘History’, I was able to write and reflect on each experience as I recorded it. I created a therapeutic way to go through what every young adult goes through.There were many good memories and very dark memories shared in that album and it taught me so much about relationships; both with significant others as well as friends. It taught me that everyone has a history or past; it’s what you learn from it that can make or break your future.
@skopemag: How long would you say it took to create ‘Symptomatic’ from the writing to the release?
Lea: I would say that it took about a year to create. The ideas for these songs have actually been on my mind since I released my EP, ‘trance’, in 2018. However, they became more developed and real in 2019. So yeah, it definitely took a year.
@skopemag: Your newest album deals with “invisible illnesses.” Can you explain how that topic is something you have dealt with?
Lea: Yes, thank you for asking this question. I personally deal with illnesses that cannot be seen. These “invisible illnesses” are called Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, and Hashimotos.
The first two diseases deal with my reproductive organs and are considered to be chronic pain illnesses. Long story short, they both are linked to having laparoscopic surgery (which I had in December 2017 for my endo), extreme pelvic pain that led to pelvic floor therapy for me in 2018 and hormone treatments to help with any possible infertility issues. I am still currently on this medication and hope it works out.
Hashimotos’ is a little different. It is an autoimmune disorder that involves my thyroid. I have hyperthyroidism, which means that my thyroid is producing way too many hormones. When that happens, my thyroid tends to swell up. I’ve had Hashimotos’ since high school.
I learned about the term, “invisible illnesses”, once I received my endometriosis diagnosis. It stems from people thinking everyone they encounter looks perfectly healthy on the surface, so they should be fine. When in reality, not everyone is. People like me have to fight every day to get up and even go out anywhere. With everything going on with the pandemic, I hope this mentality of “invisible illnesses” changes because we can’t keep judging people based on how they look on the outside. We should be asking them if they are okay and those living with conditions like me, should know that pain does not define them.
@skopemag: Your social media profiles are well done. What platform do you use most for retaining and gaining new fans/followers?
Lea: Thank you, Stoli! I think I tend to use Instagram the most for that. With all the new functions they have, that app is insanely powerful in finding new listeners, artists to collaborate with or venues to play shows at.
@skopemag: I am loving your new songs especially – “Not Ready.” What inspired that song and what is the meaning behind the lyrics?
Lea: Thank you so much. For those who have not heard, “Not Ready”, it is off of my concept EP titled, ‘trance’. ‘Trance’ is a concept album that I created for my Capstone project when I graduated from William Paterson University. The whole album is about dreams or nightmares that I have actually had. “Not Ready” is about a nightmare where I attended my own funeral. Everyone I know in it and there was a slideshow of my life being shown. Then, at the end there was a sense of everyone just waiting for me to die and saying that it was natural to go. That can be heard in the bridge or break down of the song when the claps come in. I start singing about how they say it’s natural. Then, everyone started surrounding me in a circle and began chanting. So in the song, that’s why in the bridge you hear distant talking and the vocals panning in a circular motion. Of course, I did not want to die in this dream, so that is when I woke up. I love this song so much, but that specific dream will forever haunt me.
@skopemag: If one day live music venues are allowed to host shows – will that be exciting to you and do you enjoy playing live?
Lea: Yes! I miss playing live shows. There’s so much excitement and adrenaline in the air. I miss sharing my music with family, friends, and the new listeners at every show.
@skopemag: When you are not making music – what else do you enjoy in life?
Lea: I enjoy writing poems and reading. I also enjoy watching TV shows like American Horror Story, Euphoria, Pose, and Kidding.
@skopemag: For those new to Lea B. – name 1 to 3 bands/artists that influenced you and your songs are similar to?
Lea: This is so tough, wow. Okay, so everyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely adore Lady Gaga. I have been a fan since the beginning and love everything from her writing process to her unpredictable performances. Band-wise, I have always loved Queen and Electric Light Orchestra. All of the harmonies within their songs are so perfect.
@skopemag: So what can we look for from Lea B. in 2021 and where can we follow & stream your music?
Lea: A lot of new music will be heard in 2021. I have been writing, mixing, and mastering my music for this next concept album and I am so excited for everyone to hear it. You can stream my music on Apple Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud. To learn more about me, you can also check out my website! Thank you so much for having me, Stoli. I greatly appreciate it.