On his latest single “Power Trip,” LEFFWay ponders over his journey to the top. “I’ve been up for four days, five nights. Sacrificed for the Broadway bright lights,” he coos. The New Jersey bred artist is a quadruple threat of singer/songwriter, rapper, producer, and engineer. Sometimes he’s all four in one studio session, a nod to his understandable lack of sleep. It’s a testament to the hustle that LEFFWay has put into his craft for well over a decade, fueled by a drive that has now culminated in this very moment. His time is now, as LEFFWay is geared to be a household name.
Growing up in Northern New Jersey, LEFF had the proximity to New York City, though it wasn’t within reach when he first started rapping in high school. “Me and my friends started rhyming early,” he recalls, “though it didn’t really click for me until I booked my first studio session.” He used his own money to enter into the studio and cut a track as a teenager and the result was game changing. “Once I heard my vocals and the clarity of my sound,” he says, “I knew this was something I was good at. I could just hear it.”
He traded homework for writing more rhymes and lunchtime for playground cyphers and battles. Raised on artists like Jadakiss and Fabulous, LEFF knew how to balance flashy rhymes with straight bars. By the time he graduated high school, the goal was to kick off his music career, but at the behest of his mother he attended college at the Art Institute of Boston—majoring in Audio Media Technology. “I didn’t take it too seriously until my last semester,” he admits. “That’s when I realized I could put my engineering knowledge and experience into my own music.”
By graduation, he was back in New Jersey waiting tables at the Cheesecake Factory, until he was given the opportunity of a lifetime by working as an in-house engineer at Jay-Z’s Roc the Mic Studios. From there, he landed a job as an engineer at a prominent studio in the Bronx, mixing tracks for everyone from Dream Doll to Method Man. All the while, he was perfecting his rhymes, waiting for the moment to strike. “It got a to a point where engineering took the place of my other jobs,” LEFF explains. “I was even driving Lyft until I didn’t have to anymore, but I wanted my music career to take a front seat.”
He started making his way to performing at artist showcases, even taking meetings with major labels like Def Jam. “It didn’t feel like the right time to sign,” he says, opting to stay independent and dropping his debut EP Paris In Maryland in 2020. The project garnered some traction, fueled by the versatility of the cut “Love Is...” It was through this project that LEFFWay found his sound: a combination of his knack for lyricism coupled with catchy hooks and smooth singing vocals. Think RUSS meets J. Cole. LEFF spent the pandemic putting in work, aligning with independent powerhouse All Fam Entertainment to prepare his next rollout, which brings his elevated sound to new heights. He’s already shared stages with the likes of Styles P and has hit festivals like SXSW and Rolling Loud, winning new fans over at every show.
LEFF’s current single “Power Trip” is a musical memoir of his experiences to date. “It's just me talking about coming up from the mud and doing everything from scratch and doing it for myself, sacrificing sleep and putting in the time to get where I’m at,” he explains. “It’s an inspirational song that anyone can relate to.”
While LEFFWay is continuing his steady rise into 2022, he keeps his mission clear. “I just want make a living off this gift,” he advises, “while also using my platform for good, to brand and expand.”