#CREATORTALK is a series of articles and interviews, with a focus on the creative industries and the talent working within them. In this edition of #CREATORTALK, we speak to Crosby Leandrul.
PW- Hey Crosby! How are you doing?
Hey! I am well. Very happy to be talking about music with you all. Thank you for having me!
PW- So, first thing’s first. For those who haven’t met you yet, how would you sum up who you are and what you do?
Alright—let’s begin! I am a musician and producer from Los Angeles. For my electronic music, I go by “Leandrul”, and I use my full name: “Crosby Morgan” for my folk stuff. I grew up in a small rural town on the outskirts of LA and began writing songs on the guitar when I was about 11. I started out as a folk musician but by the time I got to college, I fell in love with electronic music and started producing with more tenacity and experimenting with more sounds. I’ve been producing folk and electronic ever since, sometimes combining the two.
PW- You have some awesome tracks up online, I really love your style. Who or what would you say are some of your main influences, musically and creatively?
First off, thanks for listening! I’ve been touched and inspired by so many artists and songs, but one of my top influencers would have to be Lady GaGa because I respect her vocal abilities infinitely, and I love singing more than anything in the world. She is a master vocalist and constantly does innovative things with her tones, textures, breath, cadence, and inflections. Not to mention her lower register…oof! Creatively, Trent Reznor has raised the artist “bar” to an unachievable height and I want nothing more than to follow in his footsteps. I’ve been a fan of Grimes’ work for a long time and find her super inspirational as well. And lastly, but most importantly: my brother, John Steven Morgan, is my greatest influencer and inspiration. He’s a musical mad genius and has such great insight on everything from song construction to arrangement—as well as the creative process and the philosophy behind why we both have chosen the difficult life path of chasing down aural satisfaction. He’s great.
PW- I found you through Reddit, where you posted about working as a Female producer in the male-dominated electronic music industry. In your opinion, what are the main obstacles you face, trying to break through with your work?
Yes, that was a fantastic discussion on Reddit! I believe this is a multifaceted question with an important answer. The obstacles encountered in the beginning of one’s career in the electronic music scene are different than the ones that come later. For example, first and foremost, artists struggle to gain a following regardless of gender. Trying to generate a fan base requires a certain skillset, and I would argue that women and men experience the same challenges when trying to do this. However, it’s when one starts having to interact with people in the business, like label representatives, managers, booking agents, other artists or producers, image designers, etc. that being a female producer becomes problematic.
Producers who are women are no doubt rare finds in this industry, especially in the electronic music world. There are reasons for this: past suppression of women in the work force/women forced to stay home and not be a part of the work force (especially in the technological industries) and cultural behaviors and traditions of men and women throughout history—ie. Girls are often encouraged to do more “feminine” career endeavors instead of “masculine” ones and so on. (There’s some literature on this if anyone is interested: a book called “Beyond the Dance Floor: Female DJ’s, Technology, and Electronic Dance Music Culture” by Rebekah Farrugia.) So, unfortunately, when a woman walks into the room to show her work as a producer, there’s already an emphasis on her gender because we are less common. Many people subconsciously rate a woman’s work based on the premise that she is a female—and so, as many comments by female producers in the Reddit thread had mentioned, a woman will get reactions like “You did all of this?” or “This is pretty good for a girl”.
These are comments that would likely never be uttered to a male producer who is showing his work. These obstacles encountered later in a woman’s music producing career are hard to face, because many gatekeepers in the music business happen to be men, and if they aren’t confident in her abilities because of their personal bias, well, we girls are in for a different journey than a man walking into that same room. These challenges are something I have already had to deal with, and I expect that it will keep happening for a while.
PW- What steps would you say need to be taken to even out the playing field, both for females and also other under-represented demographics in this industry?
This is a great question, and I have my ideas. First off, make a change in the education system so that art and/or music classes are mandatory for a certain amount of time in schooling. This is a societal issue and a cultural one. I believe the only way to solve this unevenness is for younger generations to be exposed equally to technology (and therefore, music production). In the mean time, our world needs the women already working as producers to keep pushing their careers onward, no matter what. We need to help each other by connecting and collaborating. We need to have discussions like the one you mentioned from Reddit. We need to call folks out right when the words of bias are said, and we need to inspire others to not be afraid of being “pro-feminist” because I think that word, “feminist”, has been given a bad name, when really all it means to me is equal respect for women. And as far as under-represented demographics getting the same opportunities as everyone else, I think revising the art programs in K-12 public schools will help bring underprivileged students better options. After all, you never know where the next amazing producer or artist will come from.
PW- What are you working on at the moment?
I am excited to announce that I’m working on an album called “Psychosis of Dreams”. It will be released this Autumn and the goal of this album is to touch upon the importance of understanding mental illness as well as help hundreds of thousands of people afflicted—not only in my country, The United States, but all over the world—know that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is hope. I am super passionate about mental illness awareness, and I think it’s important to write about it and share that expression with the world. Stay tuned : )
PW- In this kind of industry, it can be tough to feel like you’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
When I get these feelings of hopelessness about my career, it’s usually because I’m comparing myself to other people. The best thing that helps me through is to remember that what I’m doing matters to me, and that this music thing isn’t about making something that sells or is super popular, it’s about creating something meaningful, as meaningful as I can possibly make it. The hope is that someone out there will find it meaningful too, but that is not in my control. So just keep being true, everybody, and while you may not be thriving as a rich person, at least you’ll be surviving with integrity and passion.
PW- And final question! It’s more of an invitation actually. Use the next few sentences to tell us what you’re up to next, and where we can follow you online 🙂
Thank you to everyone who read through this interview and took the time to hear me out. I’ll be working on getting “Psychosis of Dreams” out to you all by Fall and trying to book some shows this summer! I’m also a founder of Handsmade Artist Collective, and we’re going to try to put on some shows in the San Francisco/Bay Area this year…so stay tuned!
Check out my website: www.crosbymorgan.com
And my label’s website: www.handsmade.xyz
You can follow me on Instagram: @crosbyleandrul
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crosbyleandrul/
Subscribe to my YouTube channel too!
You can find my music on Spotify if you like streaming, and if you like buying music, you can find me on Bandcamp or iTunes. Here are a few more links: