Leonard Eze Onwuka—known professionally as Lb—is a multi-talented Afrobeats singer and songwriter hailing from Abia, Eastern Nigeria. The promising act has got a story to tell. He navigates the depth of his soul through his pen, hence delivering music as relatable as they come and doing so with a peach of a voice and a world of unending melodies.
Lb had started to write music since the age of 10. That is not the impressive part, he started making professional music at the age of 15. That is earlier than at least 90% of known Afrobeats acts. Music chose him but he chose music too, and you could tell by hearing him sing.
We got the opportunity to host the amazing Lb. Join us as we take a deeper delve into his background, artistry and what is to come.
Q: Your name is Leonard Eze, but your stage name is LB. What’s the story behind the B?
A: Growing up, I was a drummer boy. A talented one at that, such that my expertise was needed in church. That background was the roots of my love for music as a whole, which of course includes the singing part. Although my singing career wouldn’t start until it was suggested to me at Church, by the Pastor’s wife that I was a decent singer. Since then, I’ve ran with it and now we’re here.
A: So the B in LB is for beats. From a drummer boy, I transitioned to making beats for other artists and I feel that’s still an integral part of me. Even though, now i love sharing creativity and let others engage in the process of making my music. So I outsource production and engineering now, but that production is still a part of me.
Q: So growing up in that kind of environment, did you always know you were going to do music or it was a gradual realization to that career path?
A: It’s a mixed bag, honestly. From the onset, I really loved music. Even the parts I wasn’t initially involved in. Then when I was urged by other people to sing, I fell more in love with the process and knew that yeah I definitely had something on my hands.
Q: Alongside D’banj, Tuface and Sean Kingston, Wande Coal was one of the artists you grew up idolizing?
Q: I have this opinion where I believe his debut album, Mushin 2 Mohits is the greatest Afrobeats album of contemporary times. Do you agree with that?
A: [Laughs] There is definitely substance in what you’re saying. Wande Coal is a legend and one of the most influential artists. Almost every new generation artist has a little bit of Wande Coal in them, especially in the way they manipulate their vocals. So I do agree with that take. M2M that great of an album and it’s had an immense impact on the Afrobeats scene currently.
Q: Like D’banj, Wande Coal is Yoruba, but you’re Igbo. Has language ever been a barrier for you enjoying your music?
A: Never and it won’t ever be. Music is a universal language that has no barriers. I feel once the melodies are there, it’s already a done deal. Although, my love for music and even Yoruba in music has made me go the extra mile to also learn a little Yoruba for my own music too. But it’s never been a barrier and I don’t think it will ever be.
Q: I do agree with you on that front. I love Bad Bunny a lot and I’ve never for once sat down to read interpretation to his lyrics. They just sound profound already. Anyways, that’s by the way. You’re looking to incorporate Yoruba in your music, how about your native language, Igbo?
A: Well, it’s something that’s definitely on my mind. My mom has also suggested it on multiple occasions and clamors that I should include Igbo in my music, especially since I dabble a bit with Yoruba. But the thing about music is that it needs to be natural and not forced. At some point, when adding Igbo is organic, definitely. But I’m not forcing anything.
Q: In your bio picture, you’re clad in a trench coat with sleek shades and a glimmering pendant on. Quite simple. Is that how you would describe your fashion?
A: Calm. That’s the word I think describes how I aim to look. Calm, with a bad boy aura/aesthetic, so yeah.
Q: Hmm, does that bleed into your music? Because I listened to your track, Matter. A lofi, pop-tinged R&B song and it was quite heartfelt and gave me lover-boy vibes.
A: It does bleed into the music, because while parts of Matter does sound like the typical loverboy seeking to win the heart of his love interest, the hook is also reminding the babe that he would probably fuck things up, because he is no good.
Q: Which artist are you feeling the most now?
A: Burna Boy. I really love him. Great artist with a great discography and a fantastic stage presence.
Q: Another point of yours I agree with. I believe Burna is one of the greatest performers Afrobeats has seen. Do you take your stage craft that serious?
A: Definitely. Matter of fact, I constantly rehearse and practice to ensure that I’m on top of my game. My background as a drummer also helps, because I understand the roots of the music, beyond the singing. I think that also gives me an edge over other artists. In the sense that, I know what sounds can work for me and what wouldn’t.
Q: Pop or R&B?
A: Definitely R&B. Guys like R Kelly, Usher. Icons, you know. Incredible artists.
Q: What’s your favorite instrument in a lyrical composition?
A: Definitely the guitar. It has so much depth and versatility to it.
Q: We’ve had a new generation of artists come into play since 2019. These guys have changed the sonic vanguard in such drastic ways, that even our OG’s have had to adjust. Who is your favorite amongst them and why?
A: Fireboy DML. I fuck with his sonics and the calmness in his music, a lot. Also the honesty too. I also love Rema for his immense energy and the bad boy aura he has to himself. I feel that we have that in common.
Q: Has there been any point you weren’t so sure of your sound? Like, maybe you got really harsh criticism and it made you doubt?
A: Not exactly. Everyone who has listened to my music, usually love what they hear. Of course, occasionally they’d have one or two things to say about what could be improved on. But generally, it’s never gotten to the point where it’s so bad.
A: I’ve had moments where I was really critical of myself, but it’s usually self inflicted because I’m a perfectionist and I strive for really high standards and in fact, hold myself to higher standards than people around me do.
Q: Describe your brand of music in one sentence?
A: Feel good vibes with melodies.
Q: Finally, my last question for you. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A: Touring the world and performing for my fans all around the globe. And not just in small theatres. In high profile stadiums. That’s the dream.
Lb released his long-awaited first single of the year “Matter” on Friday, November 25.