Leo Shia

“Lyricist, turntablist, label co-owner and creator of magnitude.” (Rokon Magazine – Seoul)

In only 6 years of work, prairie-born LEO37 (née Leo Shia) has managed to amass a resume that boasts accolades and accomplishments comparable to most industry veterans – and he’s done so independently.  2 solo albums, 2 digital releases, numerous studio collaborations and hundreds of performances in packed houses through 11 countries: it would appear that independence isn’t such a bad thing.

Beginning his involvement in music early on with organ lessons at the age of 8 and trumpet and drums shortly thereafter, it wouldn’t be until he got his 16 year old hands on a set of turntables that his part-time hobby mutated into full-blown obsession.  Relocating to Toronto in 2001, Leo earned a degree from Ryerson University’s prestigious Radio and Television Arts Program while also finding himself on stage and in studio with some of the city’s most acclaimed jazz, folk, pop and hip-hop artists, including Christine Bougie (Ronley Teper), Dafydd Hughes (Esthero & Feist) and Soliva.

In late 2004, following a mad season in the UK, Leo recorded Winter, his debut release on PPF House.  Met with rave response, the 7-track EP sold out of its initial pressing in just under a month and received a nomination for Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2005 Toronto Independent Music Awards.  This was followed a year later with Summer, a full length offering which traded in Winter‘s digital soundscapes for a live band made up of some of Canada’s biggest jazz heavyweights.  From jazz to rock…disco to drum and bass…the point [of Summer] is positivity, but there’s also an emphasis on pushing musical boundaries.” (The Star Phoenix – Saskatoon)

Since then, Leo’s gone on to release: Applause (2009) – with fellow prairie-born/Toronto-based producer, Sunclef; Icarus (2010) – with PPF House’s resident noisemakers, the Worst Pop Band Ever; executive produced and performed on the label compilation PPF House Basement Suite (2007) — that was declared “…one of the most original sounds in Canada.” by Exclaim! – as well as toured through Canada, the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, 7 countries through South East Asia and has been a featured guest at the: TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival, Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Spring Scream (Taiwan) and NXNE.  “…skilled flow and massive stage presence… Even the people chatting in the back of the room had to stand up and take notice when Leo grabbed the mic.” (+886 Magazine – Taipei)

 Now having just completed his newest offering, Fanfare, you’ll find a darker, more poignant Leo than years previous.  With the help of soundscapes by Toronto-based producer/multi-instrumentalist, John Poon, Fanfare promises to be Leo’s meatiest release yet.

Having shared the stage with an eclectic mix of artists ranging from Del the Funky Homosapien to the Bad Plus, Tittsworth to Aloe Blacc, and drawing inspiration from the careers of artists like Miles Davis, the Soulquarians, the Native Tongues, Radiohead and Bjork, LEO37 strives for forward-thinking, content-driven music with a thick groove.  Be it as a solo performer, a producer or a turntablist, his range is deep and diverse, offering forth a smart, danceable and utterly unique soundtrack for our times.

Advertisements