This week we are excited to share with you the music of Connor Leimer, currently a senior at Blue Valley North High School and already an accomplished and prolific Kansas City singer-songwriter, guitarist and performer. His love of the recording-making process shows in the energetic studio performances he captures. Connor is a natural performer whether fronting his own band or playing solo. In this edition of Listen Local we learn more about Connor's love of the Kansas City music scene, his influences and more.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Connor Leimer and I'm an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from Kansas City. I consider myself a musician, guitarist, and performer with a knack for songwriting and a love for recording albums. More recently, through live shows and studio work, I've been participating in the robust music scene that KC has to offer and have successfully made a name for myself as an indie artist in the KC area.
Where do you go to school?
I'm a senior at Blue Valley North High School graduating in May 2015!
How long have you been a musician and songwriter?
My first instrument was the drum set at age 7. So I've been in music a while, but I would practice drums so long that I eventually got burned out and looked for something new. So like many musicians, I stumbled upon my dad's acoustic guitar buried in the closet and taught myself chords which immediately evolved into songwriting. From then on, I've primarily focused on guitar and recording albums in effort to realize the full potential of my songs. Over everything else, I love to make records. The studio is where I realize the full potential of my songs and experiment with various types of instrumentation.
How do you balance school with your creative and performing life?
My experience with school has been symbiotic. It has become a place to shop my music around and get feedback while also serving as a tremendous foundation of support among my peers. The fact that my classmates recognize my musicianship is everything to me. I was actually nominated the high honor of being "Most Artistic" in my class this year for Senior Superlative so my school has always been very supportive.
Describe your songwriting process. Who or what inspires you?
The thing that inspires me most is other bands and artists. I'm really just a huge fan of music. My biggest influences are people like Chadwick Stokes of Dispatch or the local KC band She's A Keeper. These are people who are passionate about what they do and have created grassroots followings among local scenes. They were some of the people that made me think I could try my hand at music. As of late, I'm listening to such bands as She's A Keeper, The Lonely Biscuits, Del Water Gap, Bahamas, Dispatch and much more.
You released an album last year (“Coast to Sea”) and also have an EP available. Where do you record your music?
I have two EP's (Extended Play) out currently that are both available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. You can keep up with our latest endeavors at www.connorleimer.com
I recorded my debut EP, "Like It's June (2013)", at the local Weights & Measures Soundlab with Duane Trower and my sophomore effort "Coast To Sea (2014)" at Element Recording with Joel Nanos. Both are location in Downtown Kansas City with the former being located in the Crossroads Arts District. Currently, I'm working with my bandmate and new-found producer Max Griffith on my first full-length album expected for release this summer 2015.
What advice do you have for others who want to do the same?
Get to know your local music scene and the musicians that comprise it and write something new every day. Songwriting is your competitive advantage.
Wes Anderson's Bottlerocket
Must see movie!
Let It Be by The Beatles
The Last Waltz by The Band
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway