Although not uncommon, it’s not every day do you hear about a pro skater moving into music as a singer-songwriter. But Covina-born leo popstar tends to seamlessly break barriers, something that couldn’t be more evident on his debut EP crying all the time. Apart from being an established skater and former member of the U.S. Olympic team, Leo’s longtime passion is music.
“Songwriting is a mode of healing for me, like many others…I’ve been working quietly on this craft for a really long time,” said Leo, who seems ready to devote himself to music if “little one” is any indication of his talent. Through soft guitar strumming and a distinctive voice that is equal parts heartbreaking and tender, the opener sets the mood for a project sure to invoke memories of a million summers from years past.
Leo, more well-known under his name Leo Baker, bears his entire spirit in a revealing look into private life in “let me weep.” In what sounds like a person crumbling apart and coming back together, there’s a certain level of intimacy that may draw comparisons to influences such as Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Buckley but stands on its own for Baker’s candor. Comparably, “passing by” sounds in line with earlier work from The Postal Service, but Baker draws you in through his vocals’ fragile tranquility, not unlike the eye of a cyclone. It’s one of the best songs out of the quartet, cinematically capturing the gloom of those who come in and out of your life.
With the faintest glimmer of hope, “summer” ends matters on a bittersweet note. While still holding an underlying melancholy that lives up to the EP’s namesake, the sunny acoustic guitar and faint sounds of surrounding nature conjure the feelings felt in first love. Baker crooning, “Oh return to me love, I ache for you,” certainly amplifies the emotions in the song, making one feel evasive for having the privilege to hear something so profoundly personal and specifically meant for a special someone.
Like Baker’s transition, which took a long time to grapple with before he could embrace his identity, music feels like the next metamorphosis in an already exciting career. Most recently a contender for Thrasher’s Skater of the Year, and traveling while working on a new video part — Baker looks forward to releasing new music and is “just very excited to be at the stage where I can share it with the world.“
Words: David Sosa
Leo Popstar’s debut EP crying all the time is out on all streaming platforms. To keep up with new music and future tour dates, follow Leo on his main and music-oriented Instagram accounts, as well as his website.