Growing up in Westbourne, England, Leah Mason a.k.a. Minke says there wasn't much excitement to her childhood beyond her father's drum kit.
But Minke is forthright when she tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that teenage angst hit her pretty hard. Once someone put a guitar in her hands, she leaped into a creative spiral that culminated this past winter with her enigmatically titled debut EP, The Tearoom.
"[Westbourne was] a little bit quiet, and I think that that was very important for my formative musical brain because there wasn't a lot else to do and I really got stuck in," she says. "Then once I sort of hit 15, I was like, 'Get me out of here!'"
With the encouragement of her guitar teacher, Minke began writing songs shortly after she began playing. That experience shows on The Tearoom, a downbeat but musically dynamic record with Minke's stirring alto vocals leading the way.
Minke says her approach has always been simple and personal, and sometimes her songs surprise her.
"It's weird," she says. "I didn't realize I wrote so much about love. I always loved love songs and, naturally, I write about my life. All these songs, when I listen back to them, I realized, 'Wait, I'm really writing about [love] a lot.' It was a terrifying realization that all of this is about this [one thing]. And it's coming out, and people are going to hear it. ... The rest of the EP really is about love, and it's about breakups, and it's as brutal as it gets."
Check out the full Out of the Box interview, including Minke's in-studio performance of "Something Better," in the player above or here.
Here's the official music video for Minke's "Too Late":