Lena Esposito is a DC-area singer-songwriter whose album taps the skills of 5-time Grammy-nominated producer Bob Dawson to capture the depth of Esposito’s songs. Her music is based in folk traditions, while the sound is augmented with perfectly understated rock textures. Jon Carroll’s keys and accordion couples nicely with Pete Kennedy’s mandolin while Kennedy’s electric guitar leads always offer the perfect counter. But the strength of the album is Esposito’s voice evoking the emotions expressed in her songs. She is struggling with love and relationships, with God and spirituality, with family and humanity, and with making all of what she feels her own; and through her songs we face our struggles more clearly too. Highly recommended.
Bryan Baker, April 2003
Tell us about how you approach songwriting.
I tend to approach songwriting very organically. I don’t have a set system; sometimes I start with a lyrical idea and build the music on this. Or sometimes I happen upon a progression that brings about a particular feeling to write about.
How does performing strengthen your songwriting?
There is no better feeling than getting positive feedback from a live audience. It’s a great litmus test for new material. It definitely shapes what particular songs I will play out. But I do not write my songs thinking “will this go over well in a bar or club?” I do find however, that the more universal the message, the more people relate. As a result, the feedback from a live audience tends to be positive. My song “Push” is a perfect example of this.
Do you play a song before you feel it’s complete? Do you change them often or at all?
I like to try and keep songs somewhat fluid and mutable depending upon my mood or audience. I always feel there’s room for improvement. Today I may decide a song is ready and play it out, but tomorrow I may revisit it and see how I can tighten it up and improve it.
What or who influences you?
Lyrically, I am influenced by every day people in every day situations. Simple human emotions such as happiness and anger motivate me to reflect in songs. Melodically, I like to keep it simple; nothing to overwhelm the lyrics. Naturally I am influenced and drawn to other artists who flawlessly do this; Ani DiFranco, Paul Simon, Indigo Girls, Pete Yorn, Beck. The list goes on and on.
How has playing in the DC area helped you artistically?
Needless to say, the DC area is very culturally rich. I am always happening upon different types of music from different cultures. I feel the more kinds of music I am exposed to, the more “colors” I have in which to paint a musical picture. My song “Take Me Today” has Spanish music undertones, a definite influence from all of my Latino friends and their culture.
Lena currently runs Sky Music Instruction in Centreville, Virginia.
You can still purchase Lena’s CD through our Amazon affiliate link.