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  • Justice Petersen

Leah Marie Mason Conveys Feminine Rage and The Power of Female Friendships in New Single “YOUR BOYFRIEND SUCKS”

Nashville-based artist Leah Marie Mason has released a catchy new single “YOUR BOYFRIEND SUCKS”. Not only does the song - released on Galentine’s Day - serve as a girl pop anthem for female empowerment, it also marks a stark change in Mason’s signature country sound. Now switching gears and moving towards pop, Mason sat down with Fever Dream Zine to talk about this new era, her upcoming album she recorded in Sweden, and how the niche relatability in her music is ultimately, as she says, for the girls.

Fever Dream: Thank you so much for taking the time today Leah! To start, I wanted to ask what made you decide to pursue music as a career? 

Leah Marie Mason: When I was a kid I was obsessed with putting on shows for my family, and I loved being the center of attention all the time. I am a Leo, so you know. My dad was a musician, and my brother was in a band. I just thought it was so cool, and I begged my parents to let me into my brother’s band. I auditioned and I ended up doing that and we toured across North Carolina for a couple of years. It was a 70's rock band, so I was singing Heart and Led Zeppelin and I was 11 years old. It was so much fun and I feel like from then on I felt I had to be on stage. I had to be singing or doing something creative. 

Fever Dream: Was classic rock your favorite genre or did you just want to perform? 

Leah Marie Mason: I loved everything honestly. My dad was in a rock band when he was in college, so I definitely grew up listening to a lot of that. But my parents listened to everything. I sang in a jazz club for a while when I was in high school. I love pop music. I am from North Carolina, so I listen to country. Literally everything. No genre was untouched for me.

Fever Dream: Who are your biggest influences or favorite artists when it comes to your music? 

Leah Marie Mason: I feel like there's so many, but a few recent ones that I feel have contributed to the sound of my upcoming album would be Olivia Rodrigo. I also love Kacey Musgraves. I feel like she has such an interesting diversity with her storytelling. I love Tate McRae - the new record slaps. Those are three artists that I feel were definitely the most influential on the new stuff that's coming. 

Fever Dream: Early in your music career, you took a very independent approach to getting yourself started and promoting your own material. What made you decide to take that independent approach? 

Leah Marie Mason: Kind of out of necessity honestly. It was after COVID-19 and the music industry was changing a lot. I was still in college and I really wanted to put out music, but I didn't have a team or management at that time. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I figured out a way to do it on my own. I didn't wanna wait for someone to believe in me and then be able to put out music. I thought if I can just put it out myself, why wouldn't I do that? The first song I ever put out actually blew up on TikTok. This was in 2021, and it was a country-leaning song called “Farm Boy.” I think the initial video has like 16 million views. That was crazy, and that was me completely by myself on my own. It led me to then getting a team which has been super helpful. But I feel like the hardest thing to do is start. You just have to do something to get to where you want to go and stuff will happen. But I was very lucky in that regard. One of the first things I put out ended up working out for me, but it's been a long journey since then.

Fever Dream: I of course wanted to talk about the new single “YOUR BOYFRIEND SUCKS”. It's so fun - what’s the inspiration behind the song? 

Leah Marie Mason: This one was probably the funniest one I wrote for the project. I love lyricism, poetry, and words. This one just came out so fast. It was a story that I had been going through with a friend, and she kept complaining about her boyfriend and not doing anything about it. I feel like so many girls can relate to listening to their best friend and trying to give them advice and then they just throw it out the window and nothing ever happens. They just stay with this guy. I was like, I just want to write a song for the girls. I want to write an anthem. I want a song that I can scream to, you know? Because I love that stuff. Not every song has to be an intellectual deep dive into something. It can just be like, ‘I'm just being honest - your boyfriend sucks.’ So that was the thing for this one, and it was just so fun. I feel like it's funny and cheeky and I just love the song. 

Fever Dream: I love that it came out on Galentine’s Day. Was that something you planned or did it just perfectly fall into place? 

Leah Marie Mason: Yeah, we were trying to pick the first single for a while and it was going to land somewhere around Valentine's Day. I thought this is a perfect opportunity for this song. I feel like it's a waste of a door opening for us to not put this one out first, so it just kind of worked out that way.

Fever Dream: You've established yourself as a country artist, but this song definitely takes a hard turn into the pop vibe. What inspired that change? 

Leah Marie Mason: I'm signed to Warner/Chappell, and they were doing a pop writing camp at Warner Music Nashville. I had met this producer from Sweden and we wrote a collection of three or four songs. They were all pop and I was like, ‘I'm obsessed with this.’ I don't really get the opportunity to work with those kinds of producers here, just because they're kind of few and far between. I loved the songs so much, and I felt so creatively fulfilled in a way that I hadn’t before. So then I flew to Sweden - because of course he lives in Sweden and not LA or somewhere in the United States - and we made the rest of the record in like three weeks. It was crazy. It was not planned for this to happen, but luckily I have a very supportive team that understood my vision and loved the music too.

Fever Dream: That's awesome. So is pop something that you're going to continue to pursue? 

Leah Marie Mason: I'm definitely going down the pop road, but I also don't want to close myself off. Because I really do love everything. I would be open to a multitude of collaborations or different types of genres and play with that a little bit. I don't want to box myself in, I wanna keep my doors open. But this next project is definitely leaning in the pop space with a bit of a Kacey Musgraves flare. 

Fever Dream: In the music industry, when you establish yourself as doing one genre and then you want to experiment with something else, do you ever face pressure to stick to one genre? 

Leah Marie Mason: I think I definitely felt like that for a long time, since the first song I put out was country-leaning. I definitely felt like I had an obligation to country music just because that's what worked and that's what you do. You stick with what's working and you're told to stay in this confinement of things that work. Which I get on one hand, but I'm not that kind of artist. I feel like that is not for everyone and the box isn't for everyone. For some people that's great. If you are one thing and you're niche like that, can it work? It can work out great. But I don't think you should necessarily close yourself off to other things you're interested in just because that's the way it's done. If I want to do something and I feel passionate about it I'm gonna do it. I'm very stubborn. I'm just gonna do what I feel compelled to do in that moment. I think that's how I make the best music, too. When I don't feel like the consignment of something I have to be doing, when I can just be free to play with what I want to do. 

Fever Dream: Is there anything with your music that you're thinking about experimenting with that you haven't yet? 

Leah Marie Mason: I feel like definitely pushing the boundaries more with image and getting more creative visually, which I'm very excited to do. I feel like in country music that was also something I was struggling with. I'm definitely excited to experiment with the visual stuff, because I love visual art, videos, photography and stuff like that. That's definitely something I'm excited for with this future project. 

Fever Dream: In terms of visual art, do you have any favorite photographers or directors who influence you in that sense? 

Leah Marie Mason: Petra Collins - I love that whole aesthetic. I like a weird, experimental feel. I think it's so interesting thinking of different concepts and creative ways to do them that haven't necessarily been done. I think she does a great job. That whole vibe, and also female mania and rage. I love that whole aesthetic and it's just done so well by her.

Fever Dream: Going off of that, how does feminism or feminine rage influence your music and your songwriting? 

Leah Marie Mason: Once again, as a Leo woman, it's definitely an innate part of my personality. I'm very outward with my feelings and emotions, and I think it's good to feel everything. I feel everything very fully and very deeply. I feel like writing these songs is very cathartic and therapeutic for me. There's just so much tied into the feminine rage theme throughout the whole project. I’m very excited for everyone to fully see that side of me, because it's definitely a big part of my personality.

Fever Dream: What else can you tell us about your upcoming project? 

Leah Marie: I have a whole plan. The loose plan is to do about four singles spaced probably a month and a half-ish apart and then drop the whole project near the end of the summer. It's very exciting. I've never released a full-length album before, so it's very exciting. 

Fever Dream: What do you hope people find within your music? 

Leah Marie Mason: My music is very honest about things that I've been through in the last two or three years. I thought a lot about personal and friendship relationships, and there's only like one or two songs about romantic relationships. I feel like the album is for the girl in her twenties hanging out with friends and what that life looks like. I feel like the music is something I would have loved to hear when I was that age. I needed to hear that I'm not crazy or something, you know? It’s okay to feel these things about these specific topics. So I just hope someone can listen to the songs and feel heard. That's basically the goal, but I feel like a woman even later in life could listen to it and think, ‘I can relate to this. This makes me think of my past self and all of these things that I went through.’

Fever Dream: I had read that you said you hope to redefine pop and make your music accessible to all. How do you hope to do those things? 

Leah Marie Mason: I feel like a lot of what pop has become is chasing what other people are doing or chasing the sound of someone else or whatever's trending. You can see it in decades of pop. There's a very specific sound. Around 2020, there was that Billie Eilish era where there was copycat Billie Eilishes. I feel like the music I'm making now has its own sound. I don't think I'm trying to sound like anyone and the topics are very niche to my experience. But I also feel like the more specific you are in turn, the more relatable it is, because people can insert their own feelings in their own way. I feel like - and I know it sounds so corny - just being myself is the best way to stand out. Being yourself is easier said than done I've learned, but I feel like with this record I really maintained being true to myself. 

Fever Dream: Thank you for taking the time today! I had a bunch of fun talking to you!

Leah Marie Mason: Yeah, you too!


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