nice to meet you

Nice to Meet You: Leaf on Dinner Parties and Sweating the Details

Published August 27, 2020

Photos by GUNTHER.

This is Nice to Meet Youfor all your need-to-know information on the need-to-get-to-know new voices in pop culture. Think of it as a blind date, if the date were cooler than anyone you’ll probably ever go out with. Allow us to break the ice; we promise you’ll fall in love.

Leaf doesn’t fit neatly into one box, nor does she want to. A self-proclaimed mixture of Aaliyah and Lil’ Kim, the 25-year-old New York City rapper wants to inspire people with her music. “I hope that my music gives my listeners the power to embody the person that they want to be and the person that they know that they are meant to be,” Leaf says. Her latest EP, Fashion Bitch, shows as much of her lyricism as it does her style; she shot the cover at her house during quarantine and wore her own clothes. “I hope that people put on my music the way I put on designer clothes,” she adds. “It’s like when you put on Chanel, you just feel like, ‘Oh yes, I’m a bad bitch.’” Leaf spoke with Interview about everything from crystals and anime to Tarantino and self-care.

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On her dream fashion purchase: Well, every girl wants a Birkin bag, but I love Chanel. Chanel’s my favorite designer. I love everything Coco Chanel stands for. She has this quote that I love: “A girl should be two things, who and what she wants.” That’s such a fucking good quote, and I think that’s for all genders. Everybody should be two things: who and what they want to be, and I love that.

On launching her music career: I started making music in my friend’s closet when I was 12. And I used to put my music on MySpace and send it around my middle school because that was my thing. I was getting like 4,000 plays per song and I was just promoting it at my school. I feel really proud about that to this day. I’ve just always been making music. I would make it on my GarageBand and I was in a rock band when I was younger because it was the thing to be emo at the time.

On astrology: I’m an Aries, but I love all the signs. I’m not one of those Zodiac snobs that are like, “Oh my god, you’re that sign? I can’t.” My rising is Capricorn, my moon and my Venus are Aquarius, and my Jupiter is in Sagittarius, which means I was born to be an artist. My midheaven is in Scorpio, which means that I was born to be a boss bitch and make moves.

On anime: My favorite anime is definitely Kill la Kill, which is an anime about these badass girls who fight to dominate their school. The whole thing is so dope. It shows the dynamic between a girl who comes from nothing and then a girl who’s super rich and her parents run the school, but they become friends and team up. The whole thing is about badass girl power shit and I just love that.

On channeling her inner Mia Wallace: I fucking love Tarantino. For a whole period of my life I was all into the Mia Wallace look, I was so Pulp Fiction. But I felt like the internet played it out, so it kind of got me tight.

On self-care: I take bubble baths every day and I love listening to frequencies. A good face mask, a bubble bath, and some frequencies … like, girl, chakras aligned. 528 Hz is the frequency of loveit’s said that the emotion of love radiates at that frequency. Also, roses vibrate at that frequency. When you grow roses in your garden, they vibrate at that frequency and let off endorphins in the human body that give that love emotion. I have lots of amethyst in my house, I have a lot of pyrite and obsidian. You know, keep the haters away. Definitely lots of citrine to keep the money flowing.

On domestic shit: I’m really good at cooking, but you’ve got to keep all that domestic shit quiet because boys love when you cook. I have a boyfriend, and I’ll still be like, “Um, are you cooking tonight?” My cousins love my apple pie, but I can really make anything. I make all types of Spanish food. Arroz con gandules, all that type of shit. I’m saying it in a white girl voice right now because I don’t feel like putting on my Spanish accent, but you get the vibe.

On her shelf: I listen to mostly audiobooks. There’s this book called The Art of Gathering, which I think is super important for any person who likes to go to parties and throw parties. It’s about creating the experience of an event. Obviously, we can’t have events right now, but it really goes into details: the ambiance of the room before you even walk in, the music playing. Everything. Obviously, I’m a Type-A personality. I love shit like that—I love the details of everything. Once you make things super-detailed, it just gives people such a greater experience. And that’s what I try to put in my music, too. I try to give people an experience, rather than just a song.

On her ideal dinner party: Coco Chanel, Jimi Hendrix, Brigitte Bardot, Oprah, and Elon Musk. That would be a fire party, but so weird. What would we be doing? Elon would definitely bring the good weed.

On her fandom: I’ve been trying to be better at this Instagram thing because I feel like that’s the best way to connect with your fans right now. I talk to all my fans through my DMs. Anybody who messages me, I’m really nice. I like to talk to people. If you’re supporting my music, that means everything to me, so I’m always going to reply to everybody. I don’t really even like the word “fan.” To me, it’s like my family because these are people who take the time out of their day to listen to my music. It seems, I guess, to other artists that they’re doing people a favor by replying to them, but to me that just doesn’t make sense. I’m like, “Y’all are listening to my music. That shit fire.”