At twenty-six years old, Leena Culhane (pronounced LENN-uh Cul-HAYN) has self-released a substantial amount of creative work. Her upcoming release, STORM AND THE FIRE, marks the fifth studio album and second full-length record that she wrote, played, and produced. After a tour stop in Nashville in support of THE RECKONING EP two years ago, Leena set her sights on returning as part of a short-term residency with an artistic aim: to write and record an album in the summer of 2015. Since then she has split her time between her home base on the West Coast and her growing community in the south.
Born and raised in Northern California’s Bay Area, Leena grew up in an open-minded and imaginative world of creative expression. In 2008 she flew her sweet little hippie nest to study theatre and comparative literature at UCLA. She graduated in June 2012 with degrees in both fields, and quickly set to work co-founding Blue Flamingo, a collaborative company that workshops and devises site-specific, immersive performance in New York and LA. Three years of odd jobs initially taken to support her creative endeavors eventually led to a sense of weariness towards her day-to-day, and in 2015, she listened to a gut feeling that something had to change. She packed up her car and headed to Tennessee, away from the familiar routine and location, and towards the untapped composition that stirred within.
Last year saw a paramount shift for Leena as she learned to navigate life in multiple places, expanding her comfort zones and living her questions with a sense of curiosity (and the world’s most magnificent support system of friends and family). Along the way she picked up a fresh zip code, a beautiful community, and a new record. Her mother’s refrain of “Wherever you go, there you are” took root in her own voice as time spent in solitude, nature, and with her creative tools shaped the content and themes of STORM AND THE FIRE. With new friends to help sculpt the record’s sound, the scaffolding of the album went up as autumn fell, and after several months back in California letting the music marinate, Leena returned to tie up loose ends and finish the project.
It is with profound gratitude for all who helped make this record come to life – both in and out of the studio – that she shares the album. This fall will see Leena on tour up and down the Eastern Seaboard in the trusty 2004 Prius that brought her this far. (May the health of the car continue to thrive.)
Thank you for your ears and hearts.