Leo Sawikin’s New Single “The Same Mistakes”

New York City native Leo Sawikin’s new single “The Same Mistakes” continues in the same intelligent and introspective vein defining his 2021 debut album Row Me Away. It represents a rekindling of his creative energies, as well, after dipping in the aftermath of the pandemic. He’s working with Seattle-based producer Phil Ek, a gifted sound merchant who helmed pivotal releases from bands as diverse as Modest Mouse and Fleet Foxes, among others. Sawikin and Ek share common artistic ground evidenced throughout “The Same Mistakes” and their sympathetic artistic chemistry will likely reward listeners when he releases his full length album.

The single boasts a relaxed and thoughtful pace. Sawikin’s songwriting for this track revolves around the guitar and it conjures a soft, beguiling ambiance that draws you in. Ek’s production captures the dream-like demeanor of Sawikin’s reflective songwriting without bathing the song in bloated histrionics. Light percussion arises in the mix soon after its introduction and the vocals are a perfect fit for the arrangement. Sawikin doesn’t have a powerhouse voice, but the material doesn’t demand bellowing lung power. “The Same Mistakes” calls for nuance and Sawikin responds appropriately.

He allows himself plenty of room to develop the song. “The Same Mistakes” runs a little under four minutes in length and eschews extensive instrumental breaks. It is not a song meant for pseudo-virtuosic displays of musicianship. The bulk of the arrangement revolves around sensitive musical textures, but there are surprises in store. He takes the last quarter of the song in a different direction, stately alternative rock without ever sounding too heavy-handed, and it imbues “The Same Mistakes” with an impressive crescendo. It is a measure of his songwriting craft that he concludes the track with a coda that ends the cut on the same sensitive note that it begins.

His lyrics are top-notch. Sawikin explores a durable theme, how human beings of every ilk persist in repeating the same failures despite the lessons gleaned from past defeats, with a keen inner eye. There isn’t a single extraneous note in the arrangement and the words, likewise, are free from any fat. It’s clear that he put a great deal of effort into crafting a sharp lyric tailored to the song’s musical strengths, but the remarkable aspect is how easy he makes it sound. The great ones always do.


Leo Sawikin’s songwriting art is in full blossom. “The Same Mistakes” shows exponential growth from his already outstanding debut and brims with promise for his work in the years to come. The New York City born and bred songwriter has already garnered a bevy of admirers and critical respect. “The Same Mistakes”, however, is certain to win him over a plethora of new fans and praise from every conceivable quarter. This is a songwriter to reckon with now, and one to continue listening to and watching in the future. His potential is boundless.

Gwen Waggoner