TJ Leonard is a Swedish country singer; here is a link to his Facebook Page:
Q: What made you interested in country music?
A: For many years I had written and produced pop, r&b and other genres and all were computer programmed. I longed for a more organic sound with acoustic instruments. Then Keith Urban released ”Somebody like you” and that banjo intro really cought me. I thought -I could do this, so I shut out all the other genres and started to listen to country music both old and new as an experiment to see if and how my musical language would change. It did change and since then I only listen to counry.
Q: What attracts Swedish people to country music?
A: We have a country audience here that for the most part listens to older country but what is exciting to see is that people now discover the contemporary country and doesn’t even now that it is country influenced. I think that ”pop country” is easier for us to take in because of the pop culture here in Sweden. However, this can lead to an interest for more true country. Just look at me!
Q: What inspired you to write, “The River?”
A: I wanted to write a song about my youth and I sat down and thought about how it was back then. Me and my friends spent most of our time by the Mörrum River fishing and having all sorts of fun and the thought of writing a ”big thanks” to my old friends popped up. In the video you can see a couple of us in the old pictures. It was quite hard to get a hold of those photos. Back then we only had cameras and no mobiles and it was expensive to develop photos.
Q: What themes do you like to write about it?
A: I like to write about things that happens in my life or events that happens around me. I like to have a conection to the subject. Sometimes you have to add a little spice to it to make it more interesting though. I try to write lyrics that people can conect to. Every day things. I try to keep it simple.
Q: What kind of day job or income source do you have?
A: I work at a place called Anticimex as a house inspector. When you buy or sell a house I’ll go there and check out the condition of the house so that the buyer knows what he or she is buying and if there is something that has to be done with it. The inspection is a foundation for an insurance. I love the job. I get to meet a lot of exciting people that inspires me musically. In almost every house there’s a guitar or a piano so we often have a music talk during the inspection.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: I’ve played so many genres so I have a lot of heroes. Stevie Wonder, Frank Sintra, TOTO and all the other west coast bands. On the country side, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw among others.
Q: What do Americans not understand about Sweden?
A: Well, that’s a tricky question but let us once and for all get this sorted out: We don’t have polar bears walking around in the streets LOL!! And we’re not Switzerland 🙂
Q: What makes your music worth listening to?
A: As I said before I try to write lyrics that people can relate to. Things in our daliy life. Me not being from the US can maby add a little twist to the music that sticks out a little bit.
Q: What classic country song sums up your life?
A: It’s hard only to chose one. But here are a couple of songs that means a lot to me.
Three wooden crosses with Randy Travis that I think describes how great God is.
Live like you were dying with Tim McGraw that tells us that live a full life here and now. You never know what will happen tomorrow.
Kiss my country ass with Rhett Atkins, you must have a little attitude in your life LOL!
I owe it all to you with Michael Peterson. That song IS about me and my whife for shure.
Proud of the house we built with Brooks & Dunn because of the both hard and wonderful.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.