Max Leone, a rising star signed into The Darkroom earlier this year, is quickly captivating the world with his impressive musical capabilities. His songs are mesmerizing and have layers of obscurity intertwined with raw emotion that leave his listeners feeling vulnerable and arousing some curiosity towards his sound. We spent some time with Max and he lets out his thoughts about fluidity between expression in music writing and fashion, his involvement in music production, and how shifts in psychological awareness inspired his new song, 5 minutes.
Darkroom Records has stirred up plenty of noise in the music world with their booming success Billie Eilish, but are working to do the same catapult for Max Leone. The guitar playing singer sat down for an interview with Mood to help us get to know more about him and what to expect from his artistry. Already generating a buzz of some sorts, his single “Cautious” has surpassed 1 million streams, and his song “The Beach” is on the same trajectory.
The Portland native is currently tackling the City of Angels and making quite the impact. His debut song “First Grade” is reminiscent of this transition. “First Grade came out of a part of that transitional period of moving to LA and being a loner. I realized I had been so independent for so long that I wasn’t even allowing myself to take the smallest chance on anyone I met. When the song was released it felt like I had freed myself of that restraint, and it also felt like the first step on a new and very exciting path.”
Leone’s first memory of music spans back to his mother’s backseat when listening to “In Between Dreams” by Jack Johnson on CD and “just feeling a crazy urge to play guitar and sing.” From there, his passion intensified and led him to this point in his life where his voice and fingers are paving the way for an awesome career.
Max Leone’s talent got him acceptance into Berklee School of Music in Boston, but he didn’t feel it was the best place to hone in on his immense, growing talent. “My year at Berklee was probably one of the toughest years in my life, and I was having a constant debate in my head as to why I was there. I really just wanted to get started on my career and I felt that being in Boston instead of LA was a mistake. I tried to transfer to NYU and USC but got denied at both, so I just decided to leave and try to do it myself. The transition was rough, but even though I was feeling very alone and small, I somehow knew I was doing the right thing and that made it all a little easier.” A decision that has apparently proven to be the right choice!
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Photography: Anthony Giovanni
Fashion: Edwin J. Ortega
Grooming: Elie Maalouf
Words: Kris Welcome
Max wears a multicolor striped sweater in crepe cotton, Ami Paris, Bermuda shorts in textured Prince of Wales wool, Ami Paris, white cotton bottom-up, Cos, jewelry, Dalmata, black suede boots, All Saints, black socks, Adidas.
Max wears a multicolored mohair-wool blend striped jumper, Loewe, white cotton bottom-up, Cos, jewelry, Dalmata, stretch cotton nylon twill pants, Theory, white leather boots, Dr martens.