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Women’s History Month: Pop-punk Singer and Songwriter Rhiannon Leonard

29 year old Rhiannon Leonard is a passionate singer-songwriter from the UK who creates music that any pop punk fan would love and enjoy. When she isn’t wrapped up in her love for music she loves the gym, and is obsessed with her dog – enjoying taking him on walks. Her band, Gardner Leonard have released their debut album “Milquetoast” which is available on all streaming platforms. The album itself is full of pop punk goodness and really takes you back to OG pop punk/emo music with it’s catchy hooks, fast paced drums, strong vocals, good songwriting, sick guitar riffs. “Another Lie” is a definite highlight from the album as it has an engaging sound, good beats, and terrific vocals. We are honored to feature Rhiannon on For The Punks for Women’s History Month.

How did you first get into music? Were you always interested in it?

I think my love of music mostly comes from my mum. She’s the queen of harmonies. Some of my earliest memories are her singing me to sleep. As a teen I listened to a bit of everything, but it was pop punk I really loved. I started an all-female band with my friends in school. When we split up, I was gutted. I always wanted to be in a band again, but it never really happened. Then when I was in college I started playing acoustic stuff. I joined with one of the girls from the band and we played acoustic music together for a few years until she moved away, and then I started doing gigs by myself. I focused on that for probably 7 years or so, until Daryl approached me last year about working on some tracks together. Originally I was just going to feature on a few tracks, but we ended up forming a band and I’m over the moon, I’ve waited a long time for this!

Do you think women get enough representation in the music industry?

Definitely not in the world of alternative music. Paramore really paved the way for women in pop-punk, but there are still so few women in that genre. I think it’s changing a lot and we see a lot more women in bands now, but it’s not very often you see them in positions besides singer.

Who are the women that inspire you when you’re creating music?

There is such a long list, but I have to start with Taylor Swift. She was probably the reason I got into writing acoustic songs by myself all those years ago. In terms of the band though, Pale Waves really inspired me writing this album. I saw them live at the start of 2019 and have been a big fan since. And of course, I’d be lying if I said Paramore hadn’t influenced us. How could they not?

How would you describe the music you create to someone who has never heard it?

A heartfelt and nostalgic throwback. Most of the album is honest storytelling. I’ve said it before but for us, the album is a love letter to the pop-punk/emo music of the noughties. I hope that people get that vibe when they listen, and that it hits them in their emo feels.

Watch the official music video for Gardner Leonard’s song “Mine” here:

What is some advice that you would give to young women who are just starting out with music?

If you love it, persevere. This band is a labour of love and a passion project. We’re making music we love because it makes us happy, and that’s enough of a reason. I’d also say it’s important to develop a thick skin. We’re only in the minor leagues but even so I’ve had to learn to laugh off comments that would have destroyed me before. I think part of that comes from just getting older in general. In my early twenties I took everything to heart, but I’ve learned to laugh at myself and now I’m comfortable in just making music because I enjoy it. If someone else does too, that’s a bonus.

Do you have any future goals?

I’d definitely like to make another album. And if live music comes back this year, I’d really love to get out there and play some of our new music live. As much as I’ve enjoyed my acoustic gigs over the years, there’s a really special buzz when you’ve got a full band with you.

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1 thought on “Women’s History Month: Pop-punk Singer and Songwriter Rhiannon Leonard”

  1. Great interview Rhiannon and I just love the album. Such catchy tunes that stay in your head all day. Can’t wait to see the band live!

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