Tell All Your Friends
The Minneapolis-based singer had found some local success in Roma di Luna, a roots group that broke up in 2010 when Leaneagh and her bandmate/husband also split. Now, with an infant at home and needing to keep creating music, something had to change.
"After I had a baby, I started writing on my own, writing in silence," Leaneagh tells Spinner," on a computer, with headphones. Then I got pulled into Gayngs [an indie collective featuring members of Bon Iver, Doomtree and Megafuan] and that budded a friendship between me and Ryan Olson."
Leaneagh and Olson bonded while touring with Gayngs and started experimenting on what would become Polica. (The name is a take on the Polish word for "policy.") Eventually, the synthed-out beats and Leaneagh's Autotune-distorted voice -- she certainly doesn't need it to help her hit notes -- meshed into the songs for the group's debut album, Give Up the Ghost. Written over two days, the record was fleshed out in the studio with the addition of bassist Chris Bierdan, and two drummers, Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson.
"That's really what Polica is, Brian and me working together and his influence in adding other band members. I really wanted to be an R&B singer. I love Sam Cooke, Etta James, Lauryn Hill, I absolutely love Aaliyah. Timbaland is my favorite producer."
The album, released on Valentine's Day, caught on the buzz wave immediately, with Jay-Z becoming a fan and Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon calling them "the best band I've ever heard" right after he won the Best New Artist Grammy. On top of that, she's had to get used to playing to huge festival crowds, like Lollapalooza and SXSW, where Polica opened for The-Dream and Lionel Richie.
"SXSW is like the state fair. You feel like the cattle people are coming around to judge," she says "[Performing] is always a cycle for me. I'll have some really bad shows that I beat myself up quite a bit about and then the next day I can rebuild myself. There's a cycle of trying to learn and being humbled and tearing yourself down, feeling shitty about yourself, and then finding shows where you can gain some confidence back again. There hasn't been one show where I saw like the image of God or anything."
Prior to touring, Channy was teaching violin and working in daycare so she's still trying to wrap her head around it all.
"Everything is very surprising. I don't have much to compare it to. I don' know what to think about any of it yet," she says. "It's really different but I think you know that you have an opportunity in front of you that may last a very short time and you're trying to take advantage of it and do the best job you can."