We had the good fortune of connecting with Leena Rhodes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leena, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Creativity has always been a compulsory release for me. It is the avenue I use to understand myself and my emotions. I work a full time job in addition to Little Lungs, so making time for Little Lungs as a creative outlet is extremely important to me. Growing up, I wrote constantly, and originally had the intention of studying English to ultimately become an author. I would write everywhere, constantly; I distinctly remember sitting on an airplane and having the abrupt but overpowering urge to write a story on the back of a Southwest napkin. Songwriting opened a whole new avenue of writing and expression for me. I taught myself guitar when I was 13. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I would write constantly, obsessively. I started Little Lungs in college and it became an avenue for emotional release and a way to examine my vulnerability. Songwriting was the only avenue where I truly felt like I could access emotions or experiences that would otherwise be repressed.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I approach my artistic practice as one of self-reflection and connection. In songwriting, I often uncover aspects of myself that I was either unaware of or unwilling to face. In this sense, my songwriting can become an almost therapeutic mechanism. I find a sense of fulfillment in connecting both with myself and others through songwriting. As a queer artist, that aspect of connection and inclusivity through music is particularly important to me.

We started Little Lungs as a full band in 2014. The closest genre I could compare our music to is indie rock. I think our music is unique in that it is very emotive. We are able to capture and convey emotions both through lyricism and the music itself. We often incorporate multiple time signatures and tempos within individual songs, which I think reflects the fluctuation of emotions and the human experience. Additionally, we record all of our music live. It can be extremely difficult, but we have found that it is the best way to capture the energy of our songs.

We have grown a lot as a band over the past few years, and I think that I personally have grown as an artist since our band’s inception. We are currently writing new music that I am really excited to share.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Baltimore is a unique town. Growing up here, I have always found that Baltimore has a unique charm that is reflected in its local businesses. For food and drink, I’d recommend the Neighborhood Bird at Ekiben, the Huevos Rancheros at Little Havana, or coffee at Baby’s on Fire. Baltimore’s is a very vegan-friendly city with restaurants that are either exclusively vegan or offer vegan options. Golden West Cafe and Liora are two great options. For places to just hang out and relax, I’d recommend walking through Patterson Park or Fort McHenry.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Little Lungs would never have become what it is now without my 3 bandmates – Erik Schwarzenberg, Ethan Salem, and Jordan Mercer. Our band is truly a collaborative effort and so much of the energy in our songs stems from that collaboration. I think that each of them bring a unique energy to the songs we create. The songs I write are just skeletons until they add their unique perspectives to them. When we started Little Lungs as a band, it felt like a chance to make something real of my songwriting and our collective musicianship.

I’d also like to give an extra shoutout to our drummer Erik. He recorded and produced all of our music. He dedicated a lot of time and effort in producing our last EP, Better In Blue. The record would not sound as great as it does without his dedication and hard work.

Website: www.littlelungsband.com

Instagram: @littlelungsband

Twitter: @littlelungsband

Facebook: @littlelungsband

Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/56od9ypuydxwHWVkDXCzQV?si=XwFkm5cHTquoD_5uo3OLLw

Image Credits
First and second photos are by Kyle Andercyk Third and fourth photos are by Zac Buete

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