Today, rising Los Angeles-based songwriter and producer Max Leone shares his new single, ‘Malleable’ which saw its world premiere on triple j’s Good Nights earlier this week. ‘Malleable‘ is the fourth track to be lifted from his forthcoming debut EP. Listen HERE, watch HERE.
Off the strength of just a smattering of singles, Max Leone has already emerged as one of 2020’s breakout new artists across the first half of the year. ‘Malleable’ follows the previously released ‘First Grade’, ‘The Beach’ and ‘Cautious’, which premiered with Billboard, received full rotation across triple j and won praise from Pilerats, Purple Sneakers, Ones to Watch, Earmilk and more.
With a lilting guitar line tinged with a classical flourish, crackling tape hiss and Max’s wounded vocals carrying the track’s opening half, ‘Malleable’ is reminiscent of some of Leone’s idol Frank Ocean’s recent downtempo work, settling into the cross-section of ambient, poignant R&B and wistful indie before resounding percussion shatters the track open at the halfway mark. Touching on themes of self-doubt and superficiality, Leone’s forthright lyricism laments the loss of a friend who he thought he once knew, someone who was too easily willing to mould their personality to please those around them. “You’ve changed and it sucks / There’s nothing I could have done,” he confesses on the diaristic chorus.
Of the track, Max shares: “Malleable is about that friend you have who is always changing themselves to fit in with the people around them, and sometimes it feels like you don’t really know them at all.”
Trained as a guitar principal at Berklee College of Music before eventually dropping out, the music Max is now producing represents the marriage of his formal musical background and his affection for contemporary alt-pop and R&B, spending countless after-school hours as a teenager teaching himself production via YouTube and uploading remixes to Soundcloud. Like his previous singles, ‘Malleable’ keeps one foot in both of these worlds while also seeming to exist entirely outside of them, packaging an enviable amount of compositional finesse into a highly consumable, sub-three-minute bedroom-pop gem.
Inspired by childhood influences such as Otis Redding and Nina Simone, Leone’s music is defined by the combination of soulful, acoustic-led songwriting with the left-of-center production choices of Lorde and fellow Darkroom-signee Billie Eilish, harnessing the DIY, genre-averse pop intelligence of bedroom stars Omar Apollo and BENEE.
‘Malleable‘ by Max Leone is out now via The Darkroom, buy/stream it here.
PRAISE FOR MAX LEONE
“Max Leone, pop’s newest face, is worthy of your attention”
“A thrilling sign of of things to come from this up-and-coming artist”
“Burgeoning pop star”
“A real winner, complete with smooth vocals and sticky melodies”
“Max Leone is making a case for himself as one of pop’s next young stars”
Pigeons & Planes