Chicago, IL —
Chicago-based singer-songwriter Stephen Leonard has released an exclusive preview of "Wanting It All," the lead single off his sophomore album, ‘His Fire.'
"I've been writing songs for about 13 years and find it to be a very cathartic process and release," Leonard told ChicagoPride.com. "I never really cared to play music by the book, I always felt a deeper connection to wanting to write and play my own story."
A native of Metro Detroit, Leonard moved to Chicago in 2006 and currently lives in Rogers Park. For the past two years, he has been producing live concert events within the LGBT community in Chicago, which led to his connection with the recently launched Gay Chicago TV. Leonard hosts Out Rock, a show on the network that connects the LGBT community with the music of local singer-songwriters.
"It's a great platform for artists to share their story and passion through interviews and intimate performances and also an exciting way for audiences to really dive into an artist's music," he said.FIRST LISTEN: Stephen Leonard's "Wanting It All" on ChicagoPride.com
Leonard is an emotionally-driven songwriter who unabashedly sings to his male lovers. He describes his own sound, if he had to categorize it, as folk rock and released his first album back in 2010. ‘With A Pen' is an intimate acoustic album recorded from start to finish in Leonard's bedroom. He received a tremendous amount of community support for his debut and, having found his voice, challenged himself to create a fuller sound for his sophomore work.
Leonard started work on his second album, ‘His Fire,' in October of 2010, around the time that the LGBT suicides were saturating the media. The album started out as his own personal "It Gets Better Project," but soon developed into what Leonard calls "a complete piece that all wraps around the seeds and difficulties of being a boy and man in this universe." The sound and production of ‘His Fire' is bigger than that in ‘With A Pen' and Leonard employed several talented Chicago musicians to help out with instrumentation. The album branches out and includes the sounds of everything from the cello to the electric guitar, but does not depart from the soul-bearing personal storytelling that Leonard strives for in his music.
"I really dig the rawness and intimacy of creating music, but I also enjoy challenging myself a bit," Leonard told ChicagoPride.com. "On my upcoming album, ‘His Fire,' I turned up the volume and tempo on many of the new songs, which some might think is a new path for me, but it's where I've always seen myself going while also retaining the vulnerability and intimacy as an individual."
‘His Fire' is scheduled for release in October 2012.