Name: Leaf McLean
Swank: singer, rapper, designer of MBM
Listen to her music: soundcloud.com/itsmeleaf
Whether it’s her über noteworthy style, ever-changing hair color, or collabos with The Underachievers, 18-year-old musician—rapper—fashion designer Leaf Mclean can’t be crammed into a box. Descending from jazz royalty, Leaf has embarked on the same path as her forefathers. In this week’s Family Swank, we talk to the Queen of MBM about what inspires her, a curious fall must-have, and putting money before men.
Leaf McLean: This is just the start. If you work toward your goal a little more each day, it doesn’t seem so hard to accomplish. I am just in the creative phase of all that right now. I enjoy everything I do so it’s easy for me to dedicate my time. I wouldn’t say I manage it: it’s just what I do.
MA: Where did your interest in music come from?
LM: I’ve been interested in music my entire life. My great grandfather & grandfather are both jazz musicians, so I like to think it runs in my blood. I picked up singing at a young age and took piano classes at the age of eight. In elementary school I was a chorus member, and then in junior high I joined my school’s rock band as the lead singer and picked up guitar. I then attended LaGuardia High School and studied classical opera. As you can see, my whole life has been surrounded by music.
MA: One day, I will collab with…
LM: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur— I really love his production.
MA: Who would you say has the most impact on you as an artist?
LM: Jimi Hendrix has played a huge role in my development as an artist. Everything from his essence on stage to his electric guitar lics makes my blood boil.
MA: Is it still hard being a female in the game 40 years after hip hop took off (if we start, for the sake of argument, on the date of Kool Herc and his sister Cindy’s Sedgwick Avenue jam on August 11, 1973, as its birthdate)?
LM: I don’t know. I’ve had a wide range of experiences in the industry: some amazing, some not. I think it’s just about how you conduct yourself.
MA: My studio is…
LM: The shit.
MA: Aries are known as being eccentrics. What say you?
LM: I am definitely eccentric, eclectic, strange, hotheaded, and bossy: but I love being Aries.
MA: What do you like better—making music or designing MBM?
LM: Music. I love my clothing line because it is a reflection of my lifestyle & me, but music is everything to me.
MA: How would you describe your style?
LM: I wouldn’t. I guess it’s street wear-gothic-grunge-skater-dirty-boy look & then it can also be sophisticated-sexy-creepy shit. It all depends on my mood.
MA: Every girl must have a ___ in her closet this fall.
MA: In 10 years, I will be…
LM: I don’t like to publicly make permanent statements about my life.
MA: Favorite quote or motto?
LM: Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”