New York-based Mikala Leaf McLean, better known as Leaf, is gearing up to release her first new music project in three years. An EP titled “Fashion Bitch,” the project is a tribute to the swagger and confidence of native New Yorkers.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Leaf on her upcoming EP (dropping April 10, 2020), why she’s no longer signed to Fool’s Gold Records, and how Covid-19 might ultimately impact social media and creativity.
Enjoy the exchange below.
Snobette: First of all congrats on the EP! It’s very moody, sexy hot. What did you to communicate with this project?
Leaf: “Thank you, I really appreciate that!With this project , especially since I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus. I separated with Fools Gold Records and wanted to release this music independently with a new distribution company. I wanted to express all of the different facets of who I am, my talent and personality:This is me I’m from New York, I’m a model but, I’m also rapper.”
Snobette: What would you say is your defining music genre?
Leaf: “As an Afro Latina female, I’m always put in the R&B category, and I find it more limiting than rap. I’m an artist, I don’t limit myself to a genre, but being concretely known as a rapper is important to me.”
Snobette: What’s the story behind the title track “Fashion Bitch”?
Leaf: “I’ve been in too many instances where the diversity of my interests and talents is questioned or seen as not focused, and I wanted to be very clear that I do not have to pick a lane. That’s who I am. I’m a fashion bitch. I do music and style, as well as modeling comes naturally to me. More than ever now it’s about being true to yourself and be who you want to me. I’m a girl from New York, and I’m a fashion bitch, most of us are lol.”
Snobette: With the social isolation caused by Covid-19, how do you think the arts and social media will be affected?
Leaf: “Social media feels like 2013/2014 when we first found out about Instagram. We were forced to create real connections through the platform and I think it’s moving in that direction.
“So much of digital content has been about perfection. This situation is forcing us to be more authentic, more raw, less cuatated. We’re living in a time where companionship and compassion is what is needed most. We’re all in this together, and it’s scary not knowing whats is ahead. I really love to perform, and It’s my birthday in two weeks, but I know that everything happens for a reason. On brighter note I’m also excited because I know the best art comes from these tough moments.”
Snobette: What defines a New York fashion bitch?
Leaf: “I like to see girls in their most confident state. That’s the essence of a true fashion bitch, feeling good in your skin, walking with that strut we all know in New York. Your hair does not have to be done, your nails don’t have to be done. It’s the confidence you have within you that makes you a fashion bitch.”
Snobette: What’s the future of your MBM (Magnetic Bitch Movement) line?
Leaf: “MBM has always been clothing, fashion music and social activism. With everything that is going on, I want to focus on social activism. It’s necessary to educate women in business. It’s important for women to be talking about money, pay rates, investing etc. I want to be part of that conversation.”
“Emerging artists especially need to be savvy about business, if there were more platform educating young artists not just women on what contracts should look like, there would be less situations where artists are taken advantage of.”
Snobette: What songs do you have on repeat right now?
Leaf: “Captain Hook” by Megan Thee Stallion is fire, I love that song, Lil Uzi, A Boogie, and I will stream Pop Smoke’s music forever. I also listen to all a lot upcoming New York artists.”
“Fashion Bitch” single and visual will be released on April 10, 2020