Alex Lleo’s Breathtaking Song “White Water” Flows with Stormy, Stirring Serenity

White Water - Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack
White Water - Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack
As serene on the outside as it is stormy within, Alex Lleo’s breathtaking “White Water” radiates with warmth and visceral, stunning emotion as the artist shines a light on toxic masculinity and more.
Stream: “White Water” – Alex Lleo




As serene on the outside as it is stormy within, Alex Lleo’s “White Water” is a truly breathtaking ballad – the kind of song whose grace and beauty so effortlessly causes a hush to fall upon an unsuspecting crowd.

Notwithstanding the fact that Lleo’s new live video was performed to an empty room (an unfortunate result of the pandemic), the artist’s new song and video offer a haunting moment of quiet, solemn self-reflection. Intimate, calming, and cathartic, “White Water” is a special kind of stirring balladry – a soothing serenade and an intense emotional upheaval all at once.

White Water - Alex Lleo
White Water – Alex Lleo
Face the white water, just take it on the chin
Choose your battles, some you’ll never win
But hiding out don’t ever work
Spin your mind till you confirm
All of those fears, from childhood to now
Don’t you know,
To be a man, takes more than guts these days

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “White Water,” Alex Lleo’s first single of 2021 and the latest release off his forthcoming EP Morning Heights, set for release June 11, 2021 via Baby Woman Records. Following Lleo’s 2020 song releases “4:05,” “Easy Way,” and “Starve,” “White Water” finds the longtime Atwood artist-to-watch delving into personal depths with majestic elegance and stirring fragility: Reflecting on (and at times, confronting) toxic masculinity and other internal and external pressures, Lleo spills himself into a remarkably vulnerable song brimming with warmth and visceral, stunning emotion.

Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack
Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack

As he weaves a compelling tapestry of sound with just his acoustic guitar, Lleo sings with delicate nuance full of heart:

Face the modern world, life lived through screen
Guilty as they come, blame it on the game
But finding out your real worth
Will set your mind from all the curse
And all of those fears, from childhood to now
Don’t you know,
To be a man, takes more than guts these days

“The song was kind of inspired by a near death experience whilst surfing off the coast of Ireland,” Lleo tells Atwood Magazine. “During what was quite a big day, I’d given in to that stupid macho peer pressure and entered surf I most definitely had no place being that day. The whole scenario made me reflect inward towards things like masculinity, and the importance of voicing your concerns with all aspects of life really. It’s a bit wild that it took a bashing from the Atlantic to make me stop and think, but there we go!”

Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack
Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack

Lleo’s lyrics paint a stark contrast of mentalities as he reckons with volatile feelings within.

Face the white water, just take it on the chin, choose your battles, some you’ll never win,” he sings, only to quickly counter: “But finding out your real worth will set your mind from all the curse… To be a man takes more than guts these days.” His voice gently trembles with the weight of these words as they pour out of him.

Break the spell
Step outside, feel the rain
Face the white water, just take it on the chin
Choose your battles, some you’ll win
But finding out your real worth
Will set your mind from all the curse
And all of those fears, from childhood to now
Don’t you know,
To be a man, takes more than guts these days

Recorded in Bath, Lleo’s live performance magnifies the already intense intimacy of his studio performance. The golden-maned artist sits onstage, donning a plaintive expression as he turns away from the empty chairs and faces the stage. The presence of those seats – or rather, the absence of people to fill them – amplifies an already moving experience, adding new contour and colors to a song initially inspired by one man’s experience in the ocean.

“With COVID-19 crippling the live industry over the last few months, meaning so many incredible venues have been stood empty, I wanted to use a live performance as a chance to shine some light on just one of so many historic venue across the country,” Lleo explains. “Recorded by the very talented Marc MacNab-Jack of Mizpah Studios, The Forum in Bath is an old Art Deco build from the 1930s with pretty much all of its original features. I’ve seen so many inspiring shows there, so even though the seats were empty this time around, it was still a real treat to perform on such a famous stage.”

ALEX LLEO RISES WITH RADIANT & SOULFUL GROOVE “4:05”

:: ARTIST TO WATCH ::

Watching Lleo perform to a theater of none reminds us of the pain we’ve each endured – in our respective ways – throughout the past year. It’s an everlasting reminder of what we’ve lost, and hopefully it’s also a testament to what we have to regain in the (*fingers crossed*) near future.

Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack
Alex Lleo © Marc MacNab-Jack

No matter how you hear it or what you take from it, “White Water” is a powerfully evocative and expressive piece of music. Alex Lleo has never shied away from sharing his authentic self in song – Atwood previously praised his spirited and soulful song “4:05” as “a tender, reflective, and much-needed balm in these trying times” – and this track is no exception.

The latest release in Lleo’s recent set of songs recorded at Brooklyn’s Dodge 112 studios (with producer Sahil Ansari, Quinn Devlin, and others in September 2019), “White Water” highlights the artist’s ability to shine through the darkness – to give us the hope we need through spellbinding lyrics and enchanting, radiant melodies.

Alex Lleo’s forthcoming Morning Heights EP is out June 11, 2021 via Baby Woman Records. Watch his live performance from Bath Forum exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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Stream: “White Water” – Alex Lleo



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White Water - Alex Lleo

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