Next Up: LÉON Gives Captivating Performance & Shares Studio Process at W Hotel New York

Léon performs during Billboard's Next Up event
Nicole Pereira

Léon performs during Billboard's Next Up event at the W Hotel in New York City on Aug. 7, 2017. 

Swedish indie pop up-and-comer LÉON means business. The twenty-something star made that clear from the start of her 45-minute concert at the W Hotel New York last night (Aug. 7), where she performed her latest single "Surround Me" alongside earlier hits and a few covers.

"I'm not a comedian, so let's not even go there," joked the singer, striding onstage in a leather miniskirt and yellow bell-sleeve blouse before launching immediately into an energy-packed rendition of "Think About You." It took just a couple of songs for the artist to kick off her platform heels in favor of barefoot jumping and dancing -- "my feet are already starting to hurt," she said, laughing.

She may not be a "comedian," sure, but the mixed crowd of die-hard fans and W Hotel insiders were charmed by the Stockholm-raised singer born Lotta Lindgren, who thanked audience members for coming to see her live "on a rainy Monday night" in the city. "I love seeing you sing the lyrics, it makes my day," LÉON added between songs, to which one front-row fan belted out -- "you make our day!" 

LÉON's performance marked the first of the Next Up: New Artists, New Music concert series, a partnership between Billboard and W Hotels that brings emerging musicians to New York, Las Vegas and Santiago, Chile. And the singer offered an intimate performance as promised, doling out tidbits of her songwriting process for fans throughout the show.  

"I was really tired about writing love songs about being sad, so I told the producers I was working with, 'I don't want to write anything that brings me down,'" said the singer about her most recent single, "Surround Me," which she performed live for only the second time last night. "This song came about, and it's very new."

Then, before performing her goosebump-inducing piano melody "Liar": "I was back in Stockholm, and I was hanging with my dear close friend who I've known since I was 10 years old," explained the singer. "We talked about things that night and got a little frisky, but something good came out of that -- I wrote this song."

Halfway through the performance, LÉON even invited the crowd to help her sing acoustic track "Lullaby" as a duet, teaching the audience the chorus line-by-line herself before giving her band the go-ahead to begin. Aside from her own catalog, which spans her EPs Treasure (2015) and this year's For You, the burgeoning star squeezed in covers of the Arctic Monkeys' crowd favorite "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?" and Fleetwood Mac's classic "Dreams."

"Me and [my keyboardist] Nick Poulios love Fleetwood Mac, and we just tend to sit in his studio and drink whiskey and try to come up with ideas for the show," the singer explained. "'Dreams' is just one of the best songs of all time, so we started doing it, and we're going to do it again."

LÉON saved the best for last with "Tired Of Talking" -- the track that put her on the map back in 2015, and which led Katy Perry to call her "one to watch." 

The Next Up: New Artists, New Music series will showcase a total of three artists with performances open to W Hotel insiders, members of the Starwood Preferred Guests rewards program and lucky fans selected through sweepstakes.

Stay tuned to see exclusive content captured with LÉON, including moments from her intimate performance, launching on Billboard this month.

LÉON Set List

Think About You
Nobody Cares
Sleep Deprived
Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? (Arctic Monkeys)
For You
Surround Me
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
Tired Of Talking


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