Thanks for tuning in to this weeks #IndustryTalk interview! Today we are featuring a St Louis native rapper Christopher Leon (Formerly Young Leo)! This dude is dope, if you’re following his Instagram you’ll see he’s dropping multiple vids that showcase his talents as a young future rap star! At only 27 Christopher Leon has created quite the following ready to take La La Land by storm! Let’s see how he came to be, and what his deciding moment was that propelled his move to a city famous for creating stars & reflecting the broken dreams of many.
R|A: Christopher Leon thank you for being apart of the #IndustryTalk blog! You’re very talented, and I’m sure LA, NYC, and maybe the ATL were places you thought about moving to in order to propel your career, why LA, and what was the deciding factor? That this is it moment?
C|L: I appreciate the compliment! The easy answer as to why I came to LA instead of anywhere else was I had an opportunity and had to take advantage! It was a heat of the moment, ‘you only live once’ kind of decision. But honestly, I’ve always thought it would be amazing to live in California anyway. I didn’t know at the time that technically you can make it ANYWHERE nowadays. The internet made it so you don’t have to come to the high cost of living places such as this. But I truly love living here, so for me it worked out perfectly!
R|A: What’s the most terrible thing someone has said to you about your art, and how did that affect you?
C|L: I guess the worst thing someone has said to me was your standard no-name, anonymous commenter who posted under one of my videos saying something about how I’m the worst rapper to ever grace a microphone and how I should fuck my mother and die... I’m paraphrasing of course but seriously, who’s putting any real energy replying to people like that 😂.
I don’t pay any mind to comments unless there is some kind of constructive criticism. What I hate the MOST are ‘yes’ men. If I am asking for an opinion on a song and all I get is ‘yeah, that’s dope’ or ‘that’s fire!’, I’m a little turned off. Not all of my songs are good, and if I play you something I know is trash and all you have is a nonchalant head nod while staring at your phone, but you get hype once the song is over because you think that’s what I want... I won’t be inviting you to the next listening session :P
R|A: Who are 5 people that inspire you? Artist or otherwise?
C|L: Childish Gambino, Joe Rogan, Mac Miller, GaryVee and the newest person to make the list is Russ.
I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and I have heard my fair share of episodes where Joe Rogan or GaryVee say something that sparks me to work. Gary will talk about a new strategy to ‘hack’ the market or connect with people. Joe will talk about the grind of forming a new stand up routine and how tough it is to get it started. It teaches me that everything you try to get good at is a grind.... so if you want to get good GET TO GRINDING!
When it comes to Gambino and Mac, I just love their styles. Neither of them were afraid to experiment and try something different than they’re used to. I always find inspiration in that.
When it comes to Russ, I just love the hustle and grind it took for him to get where he is. He’s famous for the ‘drop a song every week’ strategy and it’s a really great one. He seems to love the grind as much as I do and that always makes me want to keep working hard when I see it paying off for others.
R|A: You have this new IG comedy skit-show with your girlfriend, what was the creative concept behind the skits and have you always been a comedian?
C|L: Ironically enough the comedy thing was just a joke at first! We had a little idea for a video and people really seemed to like it so we continued doing it. The concepts are easy enough, anytime we have an idea or a ‘that would be funny’ thought we talk to each other about it and see if we could actually make it fun. It’s a challenge but a great way to stay creative when I’m in a musical slump.
I have always been one to crack jokes, mostly at someone’s expense, but I’ve always been more of a fan of the art than actually in it. I might give stand up a try one day 😎
R|A: What’s something most people do not know about you?
C|L: Even though I was born in St Louis, I spent most of my childhood growing up outside of it. I moved to Illinois at a young age and lived in a very small town called Jonesboro. Which was DIRECTLY next to a town called Anna.
Decades ago, someone historically put a sign up next to the ‘Welcome to Anna’ billboard that read ‘ANNA- Ain’t No Niggers Allowed’.
As you can imagine, being the only kid in school with a black father was not the best experience in my younger days. And being a REDHEAD on top of it?! Oh boy, I was ripe for the bullying.
R|A: If you could have lunch with anyone dead or alive who would it be and what would you ask them?
C|L: This may sound like a cop-out but I would want to have lunch with ANYONE who was already deceased. My questions would be simple. Is there an afterlife? If so, what is it like and is there any reason to fear death...
Hope I didn’t bum anyone out 🤣
R|A: How would you describe your music? Is it more commercial, raw, political, what does Young Leo rap about?
C|L: All of my projects are about things I’m going through at the time.
My last project was called ‘26 In LA’ and it was about my first year here. The project I’m working on right now is all about my relationship with my girlfriend. I’m very excited to spill the tea. 😂
R|A: What great piece of advice have you gotten, that you would say has helped in your career development?
C|L: YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN SCHEDULE! Stop comparing yourself to Drake; stop comparing yourself to your friend who got a deal before you did. None of that helps your situation and only creates mental fatigue. YOU will make it when YOU are meant to. The beauty of today is it’s easier to make it than ever before. You just have to be consistent and always growing. Once I stopped being impressed by people on social media I noticed my life became sooo much less stressful. I would advise the same for others.
R|A: What’s something a new rapper should have before walking into a record labels doors?
C|L: Have your dignity and values in hand. Understand one thing, by the time a record label wants you... you are in a position where you no longer need a record label.
R|A: Lastly to make it fun, who are your top 4 female hip hop artist, and top 4 male hip hop artist past/present that you think changed the game?
C|L: Lauren Hill, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj and Lizzo.
For the fellas I would say Slick Rick, Kanye West, Kid Cudi aaaaand weirdly enough maybe Young Thug.