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May 6, 2017
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If you’ve overdosed on pogi rock bands or have had your fill of indie-pop goodness to last you for a while, you might opt for the laid-back, soothing, easy listening groove of acoustic duo Leanne & Naara.

They launched the music video for their single, “New York and Back,” at Craft BGC recently. In a brief interview with FHM.com.ph, the girls talked about their musical preferences, how they got together as performers, and what sets them apart from other homegrown artists, among other things.

Leanne & Naara are Leanne Mamonong and Naara Acueza. They were blockmates in Assumption College who started performing together during campus events. Naara plays the guitar while Leanne can play the keyboard, and both of them sing to create lush, soulful harmonies.

They come from different musical backgrounds. Leanne grew up listening to blues and jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and is a huge fan of Amy Winehouse, which manifests in the way she sings. Naara on the other hand is mainly influenced by mainstream artists like Coldplay and Ed Sheeran, something that comes out as an advantage for a guitar player like her.

Leanne was quick to point out, however, that she and Naara both listen to music outside their preferred genres. She explains, “Each of us listen to very different genres, so we’re both very open to a lot of other genres. I don’t restrict myself to listening to just old music or blues. I also love listening to rap and hiphop and I guess that comes out too in our lyrics, the way we sing, the way we write...”

“The way we put it together,” Naara adds.

Aside from playing their original songs, they also cover songs of various artists during live gigs—from songs of indie-electronic acts like Honne and Lany, to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” They’ve even covered the Eraserheads’ “Magasin.”

According to Warner Music exec Joey Valverde, Leanne & Naara’s songs have been garnering massive attention on Spotify, with listeners from other parts of the globe playing their music. The girls’ acoustic version of the Academy Award-winning classic ballad and Judy Garland original “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has garnered over 1.5 million plays on the music streaming platform, while their two other singles, “Again” and “New York and Back,” have been played over 5 million and 2 million times, respectively.

Contrary to what many would think, the girls have never been to the Big Apple. The song “New York and Back” was actually inspired by a line they wrote on a greeting card for a friend who’s fascinated with New York. It read, “I love you to New York and back.”

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“It’s something that’s really sweet, so we thought, ‘why not make a song out of it,” Leanne shared.

As much as the girls appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to record their songs and share their music with a larger audience, their love for live gigs remains unfazed. They’ve come to enjoy performing for bigger crowds and with a full band during gigs, which more people now attend.

“Whenever we sing, the harmony flows out naturally...” Naara begins.

Leanne continues, “That’s what we like about performing live. We get to sing our hearts out without having to get too technical about it. We don’t like being to staged or anything. Whenever we feel like harmonizing or changing the song a bit during a live performance, we just do it.”

“I think being authentic is what makes us different,” Leanne notes.

Other musicians, such as Keiko Necessario, Ben & Ben and Soapdish played during the “New York and Back” music video launch. Leanne & Naara will be releasing yet another single in the coming weeks and will also be shooting a music video to launch the single.

Meanwhile, here’s the music video for “New York and Back,” which was conceptualized and created by Sindikato Productions.

For band info and gig scheds, follow Leanne and Naara online: INSTAGRAM (@leanneandnaara) / TWITTER (@leanneandnaara) / FACEBOOK (@leanneandnaara) 

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