Edison + Belle is an Indie Pop duo from New York City comprised of lead singer and songwriter Richie Leone and lead guitarist and songwriter Joseph Lewczak. The duo just released their debut EP, Love Beyond. The EP, and the band's style, is more than just an exploration of relationships, love and life -- its an expression of the clash among culture, style and lifestyle that is occurring all around us -- gay and straight, ebony and ivory, club kid and corporate executive, violence and peace, couture and thrift store.
And it’s already getting great reviews.
“The new EP,” according to Popdose.com, “is an intriguing sample [of Edison + Belle’s music] and one can hope that the “beyond” part of the title will come true and that there will be more music to enjoy from this pairing as their collaboration continues to develop and evolve.”
While Examiner.com raves that the band has “unveiled a modern, eclectic mix of styles and tone colors with their infectious debut EP, Love Beyond.”
“Richie and I have unique backgrounds, lifestyles and perspectives on life, and that really comes through in the songwriting and the music,” says Joseph. “Our own stylistic ‘clashes’ force us to create music that is reflective of almost everyone’s lives.” Their biggest difference is likely their sexual orientation, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming close friends, and even closer musical partners.
The pair met in late 2014 when Joseph was looking for a vocalist and songwriting collaborator through the musicians’ social media and networking site bandmix.com. They immediately clicked, with each riffing melodically on the others lyrics, or adding lyrical nuances to the others soaring melodies. By late February, they had an album’s worth of songs and were gigging acoustically at various venues throughout New York City.
While Joseph has been playing guitar and writing songs for almost his entire life, and has played in various cover and original bands in New York City and New Jersey, he makes his living as a nationally recognized lawyer in the advertising industry. He is a frequently sought after speaker on various legal topics (including social media, native advertising and promotions), and is also an adjunct professor at New York Law School.
After hearing him sing, you would be surprised to learn that Richie never had any formal musical training. He’s a natural and talented vocalist, who honed his skills through various vocal competitions and open mics throughout the tri-state area. Richie is currently working as a personal trainer in New York City.
The music on Love Beyond is undeniably eclectic and unapologetically hook driven, drawing influence from pop, dance, rock, and alternative genres. “We focus on the songs first,” says Richie. “If the melody and lyrics aren’t there, there’s no reason to record the song.” Indeed, the band plays their songs live acoustically with just guitar and vocals before they record. “If a song can’t survive at it’s most basic level — voice and either piano or guitar — I just don’t think its a good song,” says Joseph. It’s all about the songwriting, at the end of the day.
Two good examples of the divergent musical styles of Edison + Belle are Over My Head (written primarily by Joseph) and . . . With You (written primarily by Richie). Over My Head draws influences from 80s English rock/power pop and is all about limerence – that feeling you feel when you are totally infatuated, when you are falling in love, quite literally, over your head. . . . With You, on the other hand, combines the production and songwriting prowess of current mainstream Top 40 with the strength of EDM. It’s a powerful gay dance anthem about losing your sexual inhibitions and enjoying your body. Both are a delight to the ears and the body.
The name Edison + Belle is an obvious homage to the earliest progenitors of modern sound, without whom todays music just wouldn’t exist.
Photographer: Sara Wilmer
Producer: Peter Savad