Leo Sawikin can only be described as a multi-faceted, undeniably talented artist emerging from New York. The singer-songwriter debuted in 2021 with an acclaimed album that received radio recognition in both the U.S. and the U.K. His latest single, “Hold On,” delves into an aesthetic he describes as a “sort of indie folk-pop with a dreamy shimmer."
The song starts with a nostalgic acoustic guitar solo performed by Leo himself, reminiscent of a warm, carefree summer’s day. The consonant melody is uplifting, welcoming and hopeful, instantly setting the vibe and drawing the listener in. The guitar drives into the first verse, where Leo says, “Someday I’ll be somewhere where I need to be.”
This opening statement will resonate with listeners, for within all of us resides dreams and aspirations waiting to become a reality, but we may wonder how we’ll achieve them. It’s his way of reminding us that where you stand today will not be where you stand tomorrow, and he brings this idea to light with his ethereal reverberant vocals. Leading into the second half of the verse, the song completely transforms by adding drums and a rhythmic bassline into an infectious sound you can’t resist bopping your head to. This uplifting energy is carried throughout the song, making it an infectious tune.
Coming into the chorus, the melody switches into a new chord progression that is even more captivating in the last. Leo’s rich entrancing voice pairs beautifully with the melodic sequence and will effortlessly captivate listeners throughout the entirety of the track. He pushes the boundaries of the typical male vocal range by showcasing his register, hitting an impressive C4. With each resounding note, he exudes emotion, passion and soulfulness, and it’s nothing short of an inspiring and dynamic listening experience.
In an era where uplifting songs run few and far between, Leo stands out as a voice for those who feel alone in their journey by conveying a straightforward yet powerful in its execution. He is committed to his personal growth and continuous improvement, and “Hold On” demonstrates his remarkable development as a musician, singer and songwriter.
“Hold On” is available now on all platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Leo Sawikinm, and congratulations on your latest release, "Hold On." The “Hold On” message will undoubtedly resonate with many listeners as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Was there a specific event in your life that influenced you to write this song? Thank you, I certainly hope so! I did not write the bulk of the lyrics for Hold On. I wrote the song with a very gifted singer-songwriter named Lucy Isabel. When I came to her with the music for this song, the only lyric I had was “Hold On,” and she took it from there! The only other lyrics I wrote in this song were for the bridge, which was about not shutting people in your life out while chasing success/happiness, which is a habit I fall into from time to time. What has influenced your style of music? A lot of different things, but I think the fact that I grew up listening to alot of 90s indie folk had a big impact on this round of material. That, combined with many of the 70s and late 60s folk, defined this album. Walk us through your songwriting process. What comes first to you – Melodies? Lyrics? I usually start with chord progressions, but not always. I’ll write a chord progression, start playing through it repeatedly, and do my best to sing through it with various melodies. After going through it a few times, I put down my guitar and go about my business, and if there’s anything to the chord progression or melodies, I’ll get one stuck in my head. As I’m singing it/thinking about it, I subconsciously simplify the melody. Each time I sing through it, it gets whittled down and simpler. Once I only hear one melody, I know I have something worth turning into a song. After that, I usually make sure the structure and flow work, and once that is all squared away, I’ll work on lyrics which can take a few months.
How would you say you’ve grown as an artist from your debut in 2021 to now with your release of “Hold On?'
I know what I want stylistically now, and I’ve figured out my sonic identity. My songs are less about trying to pull off impressive musical feats, and I focus on writing simple but unique-sounding songs that I enjoy playing and listening to. Your guitar skills in “Hold On” are remarkable, to say the least, and a true highlight of the song. If you could play another instrument, which one would you choose? Thank you! Piano/keys. It would open up a whole new world of possibilities regarding textures and arrangements. The guitar can be a little limiting sometimes in terms of choices for inversions since you can only hold down four notes at a time (5 if you have a big thumb.) I’d love to write more on piano since I could execute almost any chord progression I could imagine. That being said, I discover many interesting guitar harmonies that I might not think of otherwise if I was writing on piano.