Laura Flora Leon, a 20-year-old from Anse Boileau, won the SBC Paradise FM Award for Most Requested Female Artist on 30 December.
Lauren, who took Seychelles by storm in 2021 with the song “Atrap Lafimen” (“Catch smoke”), written by popular Seychellois singer-songwriter Jean-Marc Volcy, said winning the award made her feel appreciated and is planning releases of new singles in 2022.
SNA met with the young artist, who is also a student at the Seychelles Business Studies Academy, to learn more about her music career and life.
SNA: You are not new to music, how did it all start?
LL: My childhood was just like anyone else’s, playing dolls and rolling outside in the dirt. I grew up with my mother Marie France who singlehandedly raised me with my two sisters – Colleen and Ashleen – and little brother Aidan.
My mother would always tell me how whenever she sang “Petet en zour” [“Maybe one day”] by [singer] Antoinette Dodin in the kitchen, I’d always try to sing along even if I didn’t know the words. I went on to sing that same song at the age of six at one of my aunt’s staff parties.
SNA: How do you feel about winning the ‘Most Requested Female Artist award?
LL: In all honesty, I was not expecting to win anything at the award ceremony. When they were about to announce the winner for the Most Requested Female Artist, I was thinking of going to the restroom because I never in a million years expected it to be me. However, as soon as I heard my name, this sense of relief washed over me. I had never won anything as close to this, ever!
I felt appreciated in a way but I was already happy knowing people enjoyed the song.
SNA: How did you get into the music business?
LL: In 2018, at the age of 16, I participated in ‘Sesel i annan talan’ [“Seychelles has talent” competition]. That was when I met Jean-Marc Volcy face to face. I didn’t reach the finals but he offered me the opportunity to sing on one of his future albums and I agreed.
I didn’t hear from him for a while so I went on to participate in “Bring It On”, which is a gospel talent show, so as to improve my chances of getting into the music industry. I won first place with an original song.
After about a year, Mr Volcy contacted me and told me he had a song for me. So we went to [the music artist] Ruben’s studio and Mr Volcy told me to make the song my own but keep to the melody.
SNA: Tell us about the song “Atrap Lafimen” and what is the song all about?
LL: I didn’t write the song. Mr Volcy did. While in the studio, I asked for clarification on some of the words used because even though they were Creole, I had no idea what they meant. He went on to explain what the song was all about, saying it’s about the separation of two people. He explained that when you lose someone, no matter how hard you chase after them, they are gone and you just have to accept that fact.
I believe the song tells that story perfectly.
Lauren said she also does some modelling because it has helped in boosting her confidence a lot. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
SNA: Is singing your career now?
LL: I’m currently a final year student at the Seychelles Business Studies Academy, following a diploma course in accounting and finance. I intend to focus on my studies before really diving into the music industry head first.
I do pray I get the chance to build a career in doing what I love most and that’s singing.
SNA: The past two years with COVID have not been good for local musicians, how has it been for you?
LL: COVID has had a negative impact on local musicians but if it wasn’t for COVID itself, the Maestro would have never recommended me to sing ‘Gratitid’ [“Gratitude”], one of the songs based on COVID, written by Mr Volcy. The song features other artists as well. I wouldn’t have met Mr Volcy again to get this opportunity. So, I guess everything does work out for the greater good, thank God.
SNA: What are some of your other interests in life?
LL: Obviously, I’m really into music because it allows me to express myself easily and it’s always there in the times when it is difficult to express myself. I also enjoy reading because it gets me out of my own head and hikes because I love nature – it’s truly a marvellous thing.
I also do some modelling because it has helped in boosting my confidence a lot. It makes me feel empowered and although I’m not where I want to be, I know I’ll get there eventually. I enjoy spending time with my family as well – they’ve always supported me in my endeavours.
SNA: What are your plans for 2022 – will fans see more songs from you?
LL: I’m eager to see what God has in store for me this year. I’m eternally grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve received and as for 2022, rest assured there will be singles to be released now and then but my studies come first.