Awir Leon: Emerging Artist Creating Music and Movement

Caroline Cotten

March 8, 2022

Photography by Ella Herme

Some people are born into the world of artistry and find simply that fulfillment comes from traveling deeper into their creative journeys. A musician, a dancer, a producer, and more; Awir Leon has certainly found himself on the right path. He emits a sense of confident ease, but underneath it is clear determination and honest devotion to his crafts. 

Born in the north of France, him, his brother, and sisters grew up in an environment that cultivated curious originality. Considering his many talents, it made sense to learn that his mother built a dance school in the neighborhood where he grew up. The success of the school was followed by the opening of a music school in the same building. This first taste of dance and music, in a neighborhood flavored by many different cultures, solidified his desire for more, “It became clear to me around my mid-teens that this is what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t know how but I found some way”. Several years later, Awir now lives in Amsterdam, pursuing his music career in which he just completed recording his new record and most recently has been on tour with Woodkid, a french contemporary musician. It’s worth mentioning that in introducing himself, Awir notes that he “cooks alright”, however, the more I learned the less I believed his modest claim to alright; he’s great at everything he does. 

One of the most captivating aspects to the work that Awir produces is his seamless integration of movement and music. His talents extend to both with equal weights. When asked if one inspires the other, he states quite indisputably that “they complement each other in creating a broader vocabulary, the body can say things a mouth can’t, the instrument can say things that a person can’t”. When watching him live (you can find his performances on youtube or his Instagram) it’s clear that these talents are so natural to him. This “broader vocabulary” goes beyond the movement to evoke emotion that inexplicably captivates you until you find yourself rhythmically swaying to the hypnotically produced electronic beats. 

As mentioned previously, Awir is currently on a European tour with Woodkid. So far the tour has taken Awir across Europe. From Istanbul, Warsaw, Paris, and Athens, the tour has already made lasting memories. The emotion he is able to stimulate in the crowd stems from the emotion he conjures in himself. The concert in Athens was performed in the Acropolis, where Awir notes “it felt insane”. There is a sense of closeness to the crowd that feeds Awir’s spirit on stage. Like any normal human being, Awir gets backstage nerves, but you’d never be able to tell. He leverages his nerves to remind himself that his performances are not meant to be perfect, but instead a time for him to be true to himself. As a result he is a natural on stage; “I love performing, it’s the place and time that feels the most like where I’m where I’m supposed to be, I’m grateful to know that feeling”. He is all about deepening the connection to the music, to the crowd, and to his own enjoyment.

Importantly, Awir is involved every step of the way in his projects. Whether it be a music video, song production, or choreography, it needs to have his flair. Of course, we were curious as to his methods for generating his creative juices and he describes his mentality that the work he does is moreso a craft. Therefore, “I just sit and try to make as much as I can. And within these moments of working on the craft the magic moments happen, and hopefully you have worked on your tools enough to catch them”. He is neither a morning person or a night owl, but takes advantage of what both serve him; the morning being his more pragmatic mode and exploring the uninhibited creativity that comes with the evening hours. 

His music ranges from slow acoustics showcasing his soft voice to electronically charged productions. This range can be traced back to the influences he has come across in his music career. His family has Polish origins, yet he grew up in a town north of France that was a majority north African neighborhood. Here, he was exposed to art from all of these backgrounds in addition to western contemporary art. With regards to music, he shares that “I found my voice and my role models within the Hip Hop culture but turned into a contemporary dancer. I want to honor all these cultures that I built myself from, hopefully without appropriation, but with all the love and gratitude I have for each of them.” The blend of styles is evident in everything he produces. Awir also shared his appreciation for Marvin Gaye and Erika Badu being “pillars” along his individual artistic journey. His flair also draws inspiration from Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Outkast, and more. 

Amongst all of these influences and role models, Awir has remained dedicated to his individuality and authenticity. In all respects, he seems to have succeeded in this commitment, style being one of them. Inspired by style icon Andree 3000, it’s worth noting that Awir has effortlessly found himself mastering a casually chic streetwear look. There are many temptations in the industry, which Awir candidly remarks, “Staying authentic has always been my priority, I can’t do it any other way honestly. I’ve tried! Sometimes you get tired of being broke, so you try, but I’m sh** at it, and straight away, I feel I’d rather do any other job then”. He has not gone without challenges. Making a name in the industry is competitive and can have plenty of disappointments. Awir shared that he struggled with the release of his first two album releases when the result he expected and hoped for wasn’t achieved. Yet, true to his character, he knew there was a silver lining to altering his expectations and finding these moments to be lessons learned; “Growth as an artist doesn’t have to be about changing you, or what you do, it can be about opening the doors to what you do, letting people in, genuinely sharing with love.” It’s safe to say, Awir has a voice, and he knows how to express it whether through music, dance, or style. 

After reading this, we hope you’re as excited to follow Awir along as he embarks on the second half of his tour and continues to celebrate a fundamental joy in music and sharing his voice. 

The one question that made him laugh:

You’ve mastered the casual but chic streetwear look. Do you have a style icon?

Hahaha I’m gonna print this question and frame it. I didn’t know I did, but thanks! Style Icon, Andre 3000 for sure. He’s the first person that made me feel like style was something to play with and that you could find a voice through also.