Leanne Larson Godoy, or just Leanne Larson, is an up-and-coming Puerto Rican & Dominican-American singer-songwriter. As part of our Women in Music & Mental Health series, we spoke to Leanne Larson on how she practices mindfulness through reading, songwriting, and TikTok.
HangTime Magazine: The first question we have is, how do you practice mindfulness?
Leanne Larson: How do I practice mindfulness? That’s a good question. I don’t even know. I’m bad at interviews for this reason. I don’t know. I read a lot of self-help books and that kind of stuff you know?
HT: Do you have a favorite self-help book?
LL: I’m reading this one right now called Good Karma. It’s basically about how to help your career by being a good person.
HT: That’s super cool! How do you have a self-care routine?
LL: Yes. Every morning I do a little meditation and I have little affirmations I say while doing my skincare routine. That’s been my thing lately.
HT: That’s super cool! How have you seen that help you?
LL: It keeps me way more energized throughout the day and more positive. I feel like because I’m starting my day off so peacefully, the rest of my day doesn’t feel as — like anything negative could happen but I have a way more positive reaction to it than if I didn’t do it. You know what I mean?
HT: That’s awesome! How did you develop that over time?
LL: So honestly, TikTok. I watched this TikTok about it and I was like you know what? I feel like I should start doing that so I did.
HT: Honestly, I feel like TikTok is good for a lot of stuff like that.
LL: Yeah I’ve learned such random things.
HT: How do you incorporate your art into your healing process or just day to day self-maintenance?
LL: So it’s not super regular because of work, but if I’m going through like super happy or super negative emotions, I like to write it out and write a song about it. Even if I’m not going to do anything with it. Like recording it or anything. I just like to write in my journal in the form of a song. I’m not really good at just writing, it definitely has to be in a structure. You know what I mean?
HT: For sure! And when did you start writing?
LL: I’ve been writing music since I was like two. I was making up little songs in my backyard all the time and my parents would make fun of me.
HT: That’s so fun! So could you explain a little more about how writing music vs. just journaling helps you process things?
LL: Yeah! I feel like I could just be writing in my journal about my day and that could be beneficial to me, but I feel like creating something with what I’m feeling makes me feel more accomplished so I like to make a song and then I’ll be super excited about it because I’m like, “wow I just wrote something that I could do something with if I wanted to!”
HT: That’s awesome! Have you ever put pressure on yourself to write music when you don’t feel like it?
LL: I used to be really hard on myself like I need to be writing more songs, I need to be doing this and that and this and that. Then I realized it should be something that I love, not something that I have to do. So I definitely became more lenient on myself by writing full songs every weekend. I definitely have made it more when I feel like I can, then I will do it.
HT: Do you feel like that has had an impact on the quality of your work at all?
LL: I feel like it doesn’t sound as forced as it does when I’m writing all the time. It felt really bland, but now I feel like there’s meaning behind the words I’m writing rather than just words.
HT: That’s so cool! Has creating ever negatively affected your mental health?
LL: No. I feel like if I’m doing it too much and I’m overworking myself then yes but in general no.
HT: How has creating helped you discover yourself?
LL: Interesting, I feel like it has helped me discover myself — well I have explored many genres through writing and I’ve been able to figure out what I feel most comfortable in and that’s helped me discover myself as a person. Did that make sense?
HT: That makes sense! And what genre did you come to the conclusion fits you best?
LL: Honestly I love — what was that genre called? What was my song Feelings set to? — LoFi! I loved singing to LoFi music. I discovered that that’s definitely a vibe and helped me portray my lyrics more than just doing super upbeat, pop stuff.
HT: I love that song, big fan.
LL: I love that one too!
HT: Are planning on producing any music any time soon?
LL: I want to but I’m in this weird phase of life where I’m working a ton — I work ten hours a day basically everyday except Sunday. So it’s a lot but I was definitely planning to record stuff last semester and I just didn’t because of my wedding. But I feel like once things settle down and I’m making good money and I’m not worried, then I’ll get back to actually recording the stuff that I write.
HT: How has other people’s art helped you heal?
LL: Yeah, I love finding a song that describes a situation I went through exactly. I feel like it makes me feel less alone. No matter what I’m going through, there’s someone else out there going through it and I love that. The human experience.
HT: What’s your favorite part of the process of creating/ having a song?
LL: I just love getting to sing. It makes me so happy. Like I love writing the lyrics and I love the creating process with my producer, but honestly I just love getting to sing. I feel like I release some sort of energy when I sing that just makes me happy.