Lenka Filipová (aka Lenny) is a Czech songwriter, composer, lyricist and pianist. The young singer has been writing songs for more than ten years, but music has been an important part of her life from a very young age. It’s no wonder, if you consider that her mother is a pre-eminent figure of the Czech folk music scene. Lenny’s art is characterised mostly by the stylistic features of pop music, but she’s a veritable chameleon when she creates. She changes and evolves continuously, covers a variety of subjects in her songs, and tries her hand at diverse styles.
You come from a renowned family of artists, your mother – with whom you have performed several times – is an important figure of Czech folk music. Was it easy for you to create your own, independent career?
Actually, the fans were the ones that made it so easy. When I played piano for my mum on her tours, we didn’t just travel around my country. We performed all over the world, including Canada, the UK and Australia. While we were on tour, I got to perform two of my own songs during her set. Not only was it an amazing feeling but people almost instantly started asking for my music. I couldn’t believe it at first. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity that my mum gave me as a session musician, but I feel I was made to be a solo artist. It was just a matter of time before I took off on my own.
You designed the set up and created the script for your new music video, “Plastic Flowers”. Why did you decide to take on all these roles? Are you planning to do something like this again in the future?
It’s another form of creative expression, one that I enjoy immersing myself in. When I listen to a song, I can also see what it would look like. I often visualise it as a whole – with the artwork, video etc. Plastic Flowers was definitely neither the first nor the last video I’ll be actively involved in. In many video shoots in the past, I either had my hand in the script, in set design, handling the props, in fashion and styling or even catering. I’m very hands on when it comes to what I do and perfect preparation is key.
You also recently released live.laugh.cry, which is a very nostalgic hit that celebrates youth and life. Are you in this flow right now?
Absolutely I am. I feel that at 28, I have finally gained much-needed life experience but I’ve also grown to be self-confident as a woman. I’ve embraced all the insecurities that I have dealt with as a young girl in her teens and early twenties. I’ve learnt how to be myself and I’ve stopped over-apologising.
In my family, we often joke about feeling much younger than we are. My grandma is 94 years old, and she still exercises every morning. So guess where I got that from, ha ha!
Recently, you have performed at many giga festivals, and it is obvious that this world suits you very well. In addition, we’ll also have the chance to see you at Sziget Festival.
I love festivals. I love the challenge of performing to people that might have potentially never heard of me and convince them to be fans. I never take my shows for granted. My mum always taught me no matter what audience I perform for, be it 10 people or 10,000, I must do my best.
I love how open a festival audience is to new and upcoming acts. I enjoy a good festival audience as much as I love doing club shows in front of my loyal following.
In 2018, Forbes named you as one of the 30 under 30 personalities who are “changing the world”. What has changed in the past 4 years?
We are all aware that COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the cultural scene and simply put, times have changed for us artists. For me personally, this meant that 2022 is literally the first year after 2019 that I have got to see a foreign audience and promote my music abroad in any way. I also feel that with each year, the industry is getting just a bit more ruthless towards up and coming artists. There is constant pressure to create that one viral hit, be on this and that playlist and stir the algorithms. However, I really hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that there’s still demand for honest and quality music.
Can people expect another album drop in the near future? Where is your focus right now in terms of music?
I guess I can already reveal that my next album is going to be released on 2 September. I named it Heartbreak Culture and it’s mainly rock-oriented, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up under the influence of my dad’s favourite bands and artists – Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Janis Joplin and then, in my teenage years, it was bands like Paramore, Linkin Park, Sum 41 and Blink 182. I also love Pink, she is my favourite artist to this day and also had a huge impact on my musical taste. Fans have been associating my voice with the rock genre for a while now, so now it’s time to ignite this fire properly.