Lesha talks about her latest single “GO TO HELL!!!,” the value of personal experiences in songwriting, and her genre-bending approach to music
Alicia Litonjua, aka Lesha, is a self-taught songwriter and music producer. Since finding a passion for music at a young age, she has sought improvement in every conceivable facet—from creating her own songs with her guitar to teaching herself how to produce music through YouTube tutorials.
And while she has found an affinity for electro-pop, she continues to venture past the confines of a single genre—creating and mixing as she pleases.
Lesha independently released her debut EP “Two Faced” in 2018, followed by her hit single with Australian rapper/producer riddo, “Bury” which gained over half a million streams and charted #1 on Spotify. She also collaborated on a track for the film “Project Power.”
Her latest track “GO TO HELL!!!” dives into all the messy vibes of a toxic relationship. The lyrics capture the gut punch of being let down by someone who couldn’t make up their mind. The track exudes the iconic pop-punk feel—fusing defiance, heartache, and the empowering realization of self-discovery.
In an exclusive interview with Lesha, she talks about her latest single, the value of personal experiences in songwriting, and her genre-bending approach to music.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you tell us what “GO TO HELL!!!” is all about?
“‘GO TO HELL!!!’ is a song that I wrote with Krizia Carbonell and DELA from LA. It’s about the hardships I faced in my previous toxic relationships and it refers to the feeling of being let down by someone who couldn’t make up their mind. And they’re just so in their head about their relationship with me that they forget about treating me right at the end of the day.”
“This song tapped into my vulnerable side and at the same time it also tapped into the frustration I had for this person. That’s why when you listen to the song, it starts out really slow and sad, but when it hits the chorus, it explodes.”
“GO TO HELL!!!” is your first pop-rock song if I’m not mistaken?
“Actually, throughout my entire career, I’ve been making songs on my main genre, which is electro-pop on the dark alternative side. But this time, I wanted to try and go back to my roots. Before learning music production, I was in a few bands in high school and we always did pop-rock songs.”
“And in the album that I dropped last year called ‘3rd Eye.’ The last song on that album was closer to the sound that I wanted to go into for this year. I decided I was going all in on this sound for Lesha because I used to just write chill and dancy pop songs—I wanted to try something different.”
Since “GO TO HELL!!!” is based on a past relationship, how do you think personal experiences play a part in your own music?
“That is a huge part of my songwriting process, writing about my personal experiences—that’s how I learned how to write songs. In high school, I was severely bullied. My way of escape was to sit in the corner of the classroom eating lunch alone. Then, I had my guitar and at that time I was just covering songs. However, one lunch break when no one was in the room and I had my notebook out, I tried writing a song. Since then I started doing it every single day and slowly practiced my songwriting. Later on, I taught myself music production through YouTube over the summer.”
Do you think it’s possible to write a heartfelt song without ever experiencing a particular moment yourself?
“I have written a lot of songs that are not inspired by my own experiences, but in some way, things I could relate to. I have written songs about shows that I’ve watched and one of them is actually ‘Ciao, Bella,’ which was inspired by ‘Money Heist.’ I also did a song for ‘Project Power.’”
“It was an interesting experience especially when I have been single for seven years. I don’t date, I haven’t been active in that area, because I’m just so focused on my career.”
Being on a record label now, you have access to various writers and producers, and it’s no longer just yourself. That being said, have you had experiences where a song was given to you?
“I haven’t released any songs that I did not write and I don’t think I’ve ever taken a song that I haven’t written yet.”
Is that a personal choice?
“I wouldn’t mind taking it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I just haven’t gotten the chance to be given a song that’s already finished just for me to track my vocals.”
Going into your various inspirations, can you tell us who your favorite artists, songwriters, and producers are?
“When I was starting in music production, I was obsessing over vocal chops and samples. I was super into Marian Hill—they’re one of my early inspirations.”
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“Another artist I also look up to is Lauv who I actually met last September when he was here. He’s one of my inspirations because I saw his processes on YouTube, and how he wrote and produced songs by himself in his room. I just related to that a lot because I’m the same. Another is Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and Finneas.”
“I look up to artists who know what they want—it hits harder when I know the artists made it themselves.”
Outside of these inspirations, are there any other individuals that you would say played a massive role in your musical journey?
“My parents. They’ve always supported me ever since I was young. They put me in a bunch of voice, performance, dance, and guitar classes. I personally chose to take guitar classes because I watched the movie ‘School of Rock.’”
“They played a really big role and to this day they’re extremely supportive of whatever I do in my career. My parents always tell me that they don’t want me to regret in the future that I was not able to chase my dream or my passion. They just want me to be happy. That’s why I’m doing this—for them and myself.”
As a musician, why do you choose to create music in so many genres?
“When I was first starting with music production, I just wanted to try everything. I wanted to be a sponge, absorb everything, and tap into every single genre so I could learn and apply it to other styles of music. I just want to mix and match and it’s really interesting to my ears when I hear sounds and combinations that I don’t normally hear typically.”
“But now, since I’ve done all of that, I want to double down on a clearer path in terms of my sound. It’s still there. My core is still being able to mix and match the types of genres that I can but in a more uniform way now.”
But do you have a favorite genre?
“I do. It’s pop—I’m a pop girly. I’m also a big fan of EDM—I started producing music at the peak of EDM in 2013.”
What’s your favorite moment in your career thus far?
“Since I shifted from being a YouTube cover artist to now doing it full-time, I’ve been able to go places with my music. Last year, we flew to LA to work with various producers and writers. I can say that’s one of my favorite moments because I got to explore my sound and work with people who were also as driven as I am. I actually didn’t think that it was a thing that you could just go into the studio with people you don’t know and then come out with a really good song—I was so used to working alone in my room. And I was very nervous when we first started doing sessions but luckily we produced a lot of good songs there.”
“When I was first starting with music production, I just wanted to try everything. I wanted to be a sponge, absorb everything, and tap into every single genre so I could learn and apply it to other styles of music.”
What can we expect from Lesha in the near future?
“I’m dropping my next single ‘No Heart’ on November 24. It’s a little bit different from ‘GO TO HELL!!!’ but it’s me again just injecting a little bit of a different genre into my current roster of songs. It’s a really fun song, very danceable, and I’m excited for people to hear it. It’s also written by me and Krizia Carbonell and produced by DELA.”