- 21 Oct 20
Written after viewing the 2020 Presidential debate between Democratic hopeful Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, Lenii decided to call out the unbalanced systems America is built on.
23-year-old singer-songwriter and producer Lenii has released a surprise single after the first verse alone went viral on TikTok, racking up over 1.3 million views in a matter of days.
Just weeks after her debut EP 'In All Fairness...' became the No. 1 album on the iTunes Ireland chart, the artist has created a track which has resonated with a massive audience of US Gen-Z TikTok fans.
'The Kids Are All Rebels' touches on climate breakdown, Covid-19 response, police brutality, racism and misogyny in the US under the Trump administration.
Later dropping a second verse of the song, Lenii's following has grown by 50,000 in under a week.
After an overwhelming number of requests to finish the 'Gen Z anthem', she wrote and produced the rest of the track in a matter of days before choosing the title 'The Kids Are All Rebels'.
Released at midnight last night, October 20, Lenii is hoping that the song will translate from the popular video creation app to streaming services.
Speaking about the process of scribing the now-viral hit, the Cork-born artist expresses her shock at the immense platform the track has now given her.
“It’s been insane. I put out my first EP (‘In All Fairness...’) three weeks ago - I had been working all year towards that - and then literally a week later, one verse that I put up on TikTok went viral. I don’t even use TikTok much, I only had around 100 followers. I didn’t think it would even reach anybody," Lenii, real name Ellen Murphy, said.
"The TikTok algorithm is built so that literally anybody can get in front of a tonne of people. I was so quick to write off TikTok at the beginning as just an app with loads of teenagers doing dance videos, I didn’t really get it. Once your algorithm figures out what you like, it’s insanely addictive.”
"I woke up morning after posting the song, and 'All The Kids Are Rebels' had hundreds of thousands of views. I started getting all of these new followers on TikTok, Spotify and Instagram - it was crazy. A lot of people just started commenting on it asking me to finish it, which never dawned on me. I produced it in two days and set the closest release date that I could, which was October 20. I wasn’t planning on putting out new songs for the next few months, but everything just happened so fast!”
— Lenii (@LeniiMusic) October 20, 2020
Considering the track's political tone, it's not surprising that Lenii has had plenty of Trump supporters on her social media pages, but she insists it won't hold her back from speaking her mind.
“I think people want to see artists who have an opinion on things, and say what they’re really feeling rather than being polished. Since posting the video about the current state of the US, I feel way more confident about saying what’s on my mind. On TikTok, there were people commenting ‘Trump 2020’ under the song and starting arguments. All of these people hating the video are just showing it to more people, so it just gains more views. Most people have been really positive about the song.”
Lenii herself has had a busy 2020, returning to Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic after living in New York for the last six years before residing in Los Angeles.
Lenii began singing at 18 months old, picked up classical violin at age 4, and guitar and piano soon after. She first moved to New York when she was 15 to study production at Dubspot, an electronic music production and DJ school.
“I have dual citizenship between Ireland and the US. I'm lucky that I was able to live in the US easily after gaining citizenship when I was 18," Lenii adds. "I vote in every election now, and I feel very privileged that I actually can do that. I really feel connected to the insanity that’s going on there.
“I just came home two or three months ago. It sounds dramatic to say this but it does feel a lot safer to be home in Ireland right now. I’d say I’ll be back in the US after Christmas at the soonest.”
Since studying at Dubspot, she has written and produced for many developing and established acts, but her own music is now entering the main stage in both the US and her homeland of Ireland.
“I really thought that there wasn’t anything happening musically in Ireland - it was like this Hannah Montana idea that I had to make it in America- but the Irish scene is amazing. I got in touch with a lot of artists here and got involved more with radio DJs and Irish musicians. I just got involved with the Irish Women in Harmony project for their Christmas single, so it's great to be part of that. I feel more in tune with my home now than ever,” the artist says.
Her experiences of the Irish music industry differ from her time working in the US.
“The music industry in general is extremely sexist," Lenii continues. "There’s so much misogyny. I was so young when I went to America, and there weren’t a lot of female producers around. I remember when I was 19-years-old, an important record label executive told me I have until I’m roughly 24 to make it in the business. He basically implied that when my looks start to go, my career will deteriorate. The industry in general is very superficial, but I haven’t experienced that in Ireland."
Most recently, Lenii penned two songs on Mothica’s debut EP 'Blue Hour' which charted as the No. 1 pop album globally on iTunes, and No. 3 overall.
After releasing a string of successful singles, garnering 300,000 monthly listeners, charting on Billboard Dance, on the US Airplay Chart, and at No. 15 on national Irish radio, Lenii's exciting debut EP 'In All Fairness...' was released on September 24 and perfectly displays her unique sound.
'All The Kids Are Rebels' is out now on all streaming services.