Leena Culhane is an interdisciplinary artist splitting residency between Los Angeles, CA and Nashville, TN. At twenty-nine years old, she has released a substantial amount of creative work. Her last release, Storm and the Fire, marks the fourth studio album and second full-length record that she wrote, played, and produced.
Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, Leena grew up in an open-minded and imaginative world of artistic expression. Hailing from a creative family of writers and performers, she began taking piano at an early age and soon found her love of composition and songwriting. In her early teens she played in several Northern California-based bands as a keyboardist and later picked up the guitar, which opened up a universe of stylings and tunings for her songwriting. Her performances caught the attention of more seasoned local artists, eventually paving the way for her to open for luminaries such as Bonnie Raitt and The Dead. Years of backing up other bands and playing solo gigs around the Bay Area allowed her to hone a growing love of performance, including work as an actor at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Her dedication eventually earned her a spot in the Acting program at the School of Theater, Film, & Television at UCLA, where among other things, she learned the imperatives of keen observation, honest reflection, and true connection in her creative life. Leena graduated from UCLA with degrees in both Theater and Comparative Literature,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 in her day-to-day, and in 2015, she listened to a gut feeling that something needed to shift in a big way. She packed up her car and headed to Tennessee, away from the familiar and toward the untapped wells that stirred within. 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. The album explores many themes of her life as a young adult, notably the changing perspective of familial roles and relationships. In the title track, she writes, “I’ve fought like hell to be like the windchime / to turn the storm into song. This is what my love for your looks like and I’d do it all again, I’d do it all again.”
Since releasing Storm and the Fire, Leena has toured the US as a solo artist and continued performing, directing, and writing in various forms. Her music is reflective of her life: it seeks to balance the ethereal and the grounded, the subtle and the deep. She is currently working on another album in Nashville, TN, set for release in Fall 2019, as well as her podcast, Desperados, in coordination with Marfa Radio, where - as in her music - her love of creativity, curiosity, and conversation intersect.