Nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Leslie DiNicola has a rare gift for the sonic snapshot—through the poetic accessibility of her writing style she captures personal moments with a universal perspective.
“I want to share my experiences in song so that others can see their lives mirrored and pass through the door of whatever is troubling them or holding them back,” the NYC-based artist explains. Each of Leslie’s releases is a photo journal, a collection of “in the moment,” unposed music portraits that reveal the core of herself and her artistry. Her latest, the EP Wake Up, is her most well composed and elegantly revealing body of work.
Leslie has been frequently described as “combining the grittiness of Janis Joplin with the vulnerability of Alison Krauss.” It’s a potent sensibility that has endeared her to critics, fans, other established artists, and industry vets. Things To Do, See & Eat in NYC succinctly enthuses: “This girl is going places.” October Project’s Julie Flanders says: “DiNicola pours her full soul and tremendous heart into songs you will recognize for their mysterious way of telling your secret story with her powerful voice.” Leslie has worked with such respected music biz names as Ron Allaire (Keith Richards, Madonna, David Bowie, Shakira), Julian Coryell (Aimee Mann, Leonard Cohen, Jewel, Alanis Morisette), Erich Gobel (John Mayer, Ray Charles), Mark Schulman (P!nk, Cher, Foreigner), and Ellis Traver (Diane Birch, Fischerspooner, Sean Lennon, and Mark Ronson).
As a live performer, her commanding vocals and smoldering stage presence have enabled her to sell out solo shows and hold her own alongside renowned artists like American Idol Winner: Lee DeWyze, Howie Day, Anna Nalick, Tyler Hilton, Jaymay and October Project. Leslie is also a highly in-demand artist singing the “National Anthem” at major league sporting events across the country.
Leslie experienced a creative watershed time period recording her previous EP, Draw Back Your Bow (2011). This was a sophisticated and imaginative covers collection that resonated deeply with the public, and her mesmerizing renditions of Journey’s “Separate Ways” and U2’s “With Or Without You” peaked on the CMJ charts all over the country. Simply put: Studying world-class pop songs helped Leslie become a sharper and more expressive songwriter.
There is a gracefulness to her previous five-song collection; Some Greener Yard feels quaint, emotionally direct, and hopeful. The elegantly elegiac “Weight” tenderly salutes a deceased friend. The redemptive “It’s Alright” features pastoral folk guitars and subtle gospel-y organs and sends a message of love and warmth to a friend who lost her father. And the euphoric Motown-esque-meets-1980s new wave “Stay” brightens the EP with the uplifting message that people can always fall in love and still feel that childlike wonder of new relationships.
Wake Up is Leslie’s third project with Julian Coryell, and he has been an essential artistic ally during this period of her career. “Julian doesn’t allow anything between me and the song except the truth,” she explains. With this six-song collection, DiNicola dove deeply into experimenting with production and vocal layering. And the results are magnificent. Each song combines the emotionally resonant lyrics that her fans adore with wildly sophisticated and catchy melodies that will echo in your head… and heart for days. Wake Up is DiNicola’s greatest accomplishment to date.
“When I look back at the work I’ve done, it’s like going through scrapbooks,” Leslie says thoughtfully. “Each song is like a photograph of the person I was in a particular moment. It tells a story that my soul needed to tell. I hope these songs comfort people and give them an inherent sense of hope against life’s sorrow… because that’s why I listen to music. And that’s why I write music.”