An interview with the one, the only: Leoncie
Former long-time resident of Kópavogur, singer-songwriter Leoncie–often self-styled as “Icy, Spicy Leoncie” or “The Indian Princess” (she was born and raised in Goa, India)–is, by her own estimation, a “200% Awesome musical wizard” and it’s hard to put a much finer point on it than that.
Her self-produced songs–such catchy ditties as “Vegetarian! No Cholesterol Ho,” “Radio Rapist,” “No Threesome Here” and “Teenage Boy in Town”–have made her something of a cult phenomenon. She released her first album `My Icelandic Husband’ in 1985 and in the years since her discography has included `Invisible Girl’ (2005), `Pukki Bollywood Baby’ (2008) and `Gay World’ (2012), although the majority of her fans likely know her best through her online music videos featuring all manner of exotic pleather and be-spangled costumes.
While she enjoys a strong fan base here, Leoncie has sometimes been at odds with the Icelandic press, Grapevine included. “Journalists often make things up and print rubbish,” she stated when I called her to request an interview. “I don’t know why they try and spice things up when I’m spicy enough already.” Still, she agreed to Q&A with us before her return to Iceland in early February to perform at Gamli Gaukurinn. It bears mentioning that after this interview, I arrived to her concert to find that I was not on the guest list as expected. I was later told that Leoncie personally removed all members of the press from the list, although the lady herself brushed this aside: “I may be a very genius temperamental artist composer, but I can handle anything thrown my way.”
As is probably evident, no one speaks for Leoncie better than herself, so we’re printing her complete, unedited responses below.
Your husband Viktor features in many of your songs and videos. When and how did you meet? How has your relationship provided inspiration for your music? How closely do you both collaborate on your musical projects?
Correction. My husband does not act in my videos. God knows why some people have been spreading this rumour. I have good husband whom all my family love. We´ve been married a long time and we travel a lot together. We also work very well together, since we speak several languages too and we have lots of fun.
Many of your songs–such as ´Killer in the Park´ and ´New Wrestler´– tell stories. And many of them, such as ´Love in a Pub´ and ´C’mon, Viktor,´ seem very personal. What do you think makes for a good song subject? Is there anything that you won’t write about?
I compose songs and lyrics in many languages, I write songs on different subjects, and yes, I also write from my own experiences. God is good to me and my Inspiration to compose and write so many wonderful lyrics, and such terrific music, is because of that faith in GOD. Last week I had a stunning experience, in Iceland, and now I will be composing a song on that subject, and recording it in the USA.
Performance and videos seem to be a big part of your music. Do you ever record a song without also making a video for it? Do you ever develop your video concepts before you write a song based, for instance, on a particularly good costume?
Making Music Videos is such fun for me all the time. I meet so manykinds of people in so many countries, and everything that I do INDEPENDANTLY at my own cost. I am very proud of myself, and so is my family and many of my fans. I inspire people everywhere in the fact that “GENIUS THRIVES ON REJECTION.” I also make my own clothes that set me apart from the others.
Many people come to your music through your YouTube page and videos–how might your live shows surprise someone who has only watched you perform via the internet?
My Live music shows are always housefull and fantastic. I am the Unpredictable Icy Spicy Leoncie.
On your Facebook page, you’ve said that your song ´Gay World,´ is an “homage to all my gay fans.” Do you consider yourself a gay ally or activist for gay rights?
GAY WORLD is a Leoncie Brainstorm! Nobody can ever write a song like that. There are many copycats who want to be Leoncie, but my Mother and father only created one Leoncie. Even my sisters are Nothing like me, but I love them, and they too are Professionals at Law and Media. I am not an activist of gays. No way!
What music or musicians do you enjoy listening to yourself?
I like Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Barry White, Earth Wind and Fire. I like good music.
I believe that your father taught you to play piano when you were very young, and that you also studied music at Trinity College. Can you talk a
little about your musical background?
I am a classical musician. I studied Classical music. Then I studied Jazz, I like Jazz a lot. My father and my brother are also JAZZ MUSICIANS, I started music playing the organ in the Catholic Church in India.
From interviews I’ve read, you were born in India and have lived in both England and Iceland. Has living in these different places provided any context for your music?
I love travelling and I have learnt a lot from my travel about people and their kind heartedness and also their complexes and their selfishness. I must say the good drowns the evil. Thank God for that.
What projects do you have coming up?
I am very busy with my next album which is to be recorded in the USA and I am also doing a very secret music deal. With Icy Spicy Leoncie One never knows what to expect.