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Christian Leave

Christian Leave's searching relationship songs are anchored in melody, whether couched in arrangements of spare acoustic guitar or punchy indie rock. Originally known as Christian Akridge, he first gained popularity on social media as a teen. He soon shifted from the acoustic pop of 2016 viral sensation "Please Notice" and its accompanying EP, Hope, to the electric guitar songs of his full-length debut, 2018's Heartbreak Room, to spiky, band-styled indie rock by 2021's Heavy Hitting Hurts My Head EP. Released in 2022, the Superstar EP showed signs of a more mature middle ground that combined singer/songwriter pop and indie/art rock inspirations. The son of a pastor, Christian Akridge was raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he grew up in the church. His exposure to popular music was limited by his parents when he was young, though he got his first album, Stevie Wonder's In Square Circle, at the age of 13. Already inspired by Wonder's soulful R&B and Southern gospel music, he soon discovered wide-ranging influences on the Internet and was inspired to take up the guitar. When he heard that his church needed a bass player, he started playing bass and, later, piano. In 2015, when Akridge was 14, he began sharing comedic videos as well as his cover versions of artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Cage the Elephant and Frank Ocean. He had over 100,000 followers within a few months and accepted an invitation to join the PressPlay tour, a showcase for young social media personalities. Still using his birth name, Akridge released a debut EP in 2016 consisting of original songs, mostly on the topic of young love. It debuted at number seven on both the Independent Albums and Heatseekers Albums charts as the track "Please Notice" quickly racked up tens of millions of streams. He eventually followed it with his self-released debut album, early 2018's Heartbreak Room, which found him plugging in for a set of spare electric guitar and keyboard songs. Later in 2018, after turning 18 and leaving his hometown for Los Angeles, he put out another EP, Trilogy. His debut for Godmode/Warner, it was also his first release to adopt the alias Christian Leave. He introduced a more anxious, indie rock-oriented sound on the 2019 single "Milksop/Darling," which carried over onto his February 2021 EP, the self-produced Heavy Hitting Hurts My Head. In addition to its more assertive sound, it marked a shift in lyrical focus to the anxiety and depression that accompanied his rise to fame, a formula he stuck with for that October's Days Like Lost Dogs EP. Following in November 2022, the Superstar EP struck a balance between the indie/art rock, adult pop, and singer/songwriter fare of his previous material.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo


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