Apologies for the break last week. As I've said before we've got something very exciting on the way and a lot of energy is going towards it, hence no Audio File Friday last week. But it will all be worth it in the end. I promise.
As you may recall, after realizing how few women have been featured here on AFF I've been on the hunt for talented musicians of the female variety to showcase. Now the thing about all of the female artists I've found thus far is that they all seem to be of the singer/songwriter variety. Nothing wrong with that at all, but where are the nerdcore girl rappers or the chiptune loving ladies?
Earlier this week I happened to stumble upon a lady gamer that is both a talented singer/songwriter and a chiptune artist. Best of both worlds! Even better: Supporting her music goes to help suicide prevention efforts by the Jed Foundation. How could you not love her?
She goes by the name Leeni.
Based out of Seattle, Leeni has been an active member of the chiptune music world since 2006. The following year she released her first full album 8-Bit Heart and has since released two more: Labrynth in 2008 and The Only Now in 2011. Her newest EP, Headphones on Your Heart, was created to benefit the Jed Foundation. She's made quite the name for herself, performing at major game music events like Blipfest, Iam8Bit, and the VGXPO.
Leeni describes her sound as '8-bit gameboy synth pop', combining a chiptune aesthetic with soothing vocals and a charming lyrical sensibility. If I Fight Dragons are the Jimmy Eat World of the chiptune world, Leeni would be its indie darling Lana Del Rey.
Speaking of, it just so happens that I found the multi-talented Leeni via her impeccable cover of Lana Del Rey's Video Games:
First of all, I need to go dust off my copy of Barbie for the NES and give that a playthrough.
This cover takes all of the beauty of the original song and transforms it into something that really speaks to gamers. There's even a clever shout out to Legend of Zelda fans about twenty seconds in. Ladies often get accused of not being 'real gamers' but I don't think anyone could deny Leeni's legitimacy.
Video Games is featured on her new EP, Headphones on Your Heart, along with four original tracks that vary from Katamari Damacy-esque quirky to inspirational and uplifting. What's more 100% of the proceeds from this album go to support the Jed Foundation's 'Love is Louder' movement, to help prevent suicide. As Leeni puts it:
It's been 6 years since Leeni first donned her Gameboy to write her debut album, 8-Bit Heart, and 5 years since her popular track "Headphones On Your Heart" was first composed and released.
Since that time, Leeni has been receiving emails from fans all over the world, telling her a similar story: that the song was the reason they decided not to kill themselves, that it gave them hope...and that it was 'the only reason' they are alive.
These messages have touched Leeni so much over the years that she wants to do more to give back to people who may be running low on hope.
And this "Headphones On Your Heart" EP is her answer. 100% of the proceeds of all of the sales will go to support the Jed Foundation to support its "Love is Louder" movement as well as other programs.
The album is a mere five dollars, and considering you're getting great music and supporting a great cause how could you not be downloading it already?
Leeni's most recent album, The Only Now, is my personal favorite, with standout tracks like Conspiracy Theory, Spotless Mind, and Awake:
Both The Only Now and Labrynth are available in full at whatever price you'd like to pay via Leeni's official bandcamp, so there is absolutely no reason not to give this eclectic songstress some listens.
And before you get to thinking she's a one-trick pony, some vintage Leeni proves that she can do much more than just chiptune:
I am completely enamored with Ms. Leeni, and can't wait to see what's next for her. If you're just as enamored as me you can get her albums on bandcamp, like her on facebook, and follow her on twitter.
That's all for this week, Audiophiles! I'm getting back to work on
exciting things that I'm not supposed to talk about finding more original gaming music for you to fill your iTunes libraries with. Let Leeni take care of you this weekend, and I'll catch you all next week.