As Lenii dries her hair and makes herself porridge in her Brooklyn apartment, she chats on the phone with EARMILK to share about the many years involved in the making of her latest single "Crave U."
Lenii and Zack Martino have only met in person a handful of times. In lieu of multiple in-person studio sessons, Lenii had sent out recordings to Martino, where he worked his gloomy, pulsing production magic on them. The result - an angsty club-worthy dance track about desire for attention and coping with loneliness.
The track is done in Zack Martino’s signature dance music style, with Lenii’s voice and lyrics as a feature. Lenii’s love for making music was born in the dance scene, as she got her early start as a DJ/producer. Over the years, her sound has morphed into lighter, easy going pop that mixes elements of synthesized and acoustic instrumentals.
The lyrics came to Lenii shortly after she had smoked weed for the first time. “It was seven years ago so it’s kind of hard to remember. That was the year that I smoked weed for the first time. I’m assuming that would make sense when I think back, that I would be talking about herbs in a song.” Specifically, the song is about getting high to cope with fighting for the attention of someone you have feelings for. The pressure of doing so can be intense, and sometimes you need a little help to unwind and distract yourself.
“Crave U” was released on Armada, one of Europe’s most popular dance labels. For Lenii, being featured on an Armada track is a teenage dream come true. “When I was 18 I remember going on holidays with my girlfriends to Spain and there was a song that was like number one on the charts or something in Europe. It was a dance record but it was out on Armada and that was the first time I’d heard of Armada. I remember being 18 and like, ‘I’m going to have a song on Armada,” recalls Lenii. “My younger self would be very excited.”
The first two verses of “Crave U” were written when Lenii was only 15 and still living in Cork, Ireland. Those verses stayed on the back burner until she moved to New Jersey and was put in touch with a then-unsigned Zack Martino through a mutual friend. Lenii was sent some of Martino’s instrumentals, and her old lyrics were a perfect fit. She recorded vocals on a fifty dollar USB microphone and sent it back to Martino.
A couple years later, Martino revisited and revamped the track and Lenii re-recorded vocals (on a higher quality microphone this time). Martino produced the track at Armada’s Amsterdam headquarters and his process was filmed for Armada University - an online platform that will allow aspiring producers to watch the song take shape.
Lenii and Martino continued to collaborate after “Crave U,” so we can expect much more from the duo soon.