Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.
In addition to being Troye Sivan’s longtime collaborator, the singer and songwriter Leland has worked with artists like Selena Gomez, Ava Max, Ariana Grande, BTS, Charli XCX, and Sabrina Carpenter. He’s also taken his songwriting skills to the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, having worked on iconic tracks with the queens such as “Break Up (Bye Bye),” “UK Hun?,” “I’m That Bitch,” and all of the critically acclaimed songs from of “Wigloose: The Rusical!” featured in season 15. The musical episode showed a clash between a conservative town and its drag performers — a storyline resonant with the real world.
“Performing ‘Built on Drag’ on the RuPaul’s Drag Race finale with Orville Peck and the cast of season 15 felt very special,” he says. “The songs and script for ‘Wigloose’ were written in 2022, so when this year’s push of anti-drag legislation occurred, it felt like the Rusical took on a deeper, more important meaning than how we had initially anticipated.”
2023 also included the release of Sivan’s third studio album, Something to Give Each Other, which he and Leland worked on for two and a half years. Moreover, Leland wrote original songs for Cher’s latest holiday-themed album, Christmas. During the past year, Leland has also been building a studio compound in Laurel Canyon called Laurelvale Studios, which is on track to open in January.
“I wanted to create a setting for artists, writers, and producers that channels inspiration through nature and provides a space that feels light, cozy, and private.”
Between songwriting, building studios, and being an artist himself, Leland also found time to release his latest single – “Bad at Letting Go,” featuring Muna – this year.
“The work I do is like running the gayest bed-and-breakfast – everyone’s welcome, but the clientele is mostly pop stars and drag queens,” he says. “Sometimes they stay for a night. Sometimes they stay for a few weeks. Others swing by seasonally, and some haven’t left. Regardless of how long they stay, they can expect kisses from my dog Crosby, overflowing Coke Zero, and a fun writing session where they leave with a song that they’re proud of and hopefully want to come back.” @leland
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