By: Shayla Lee
Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Leena Rodriguez is a multi-instrumentalist who writes, records, and produces all of her music in her bedroom studio under the project name MBG. Earlier this year, Leena released her debut track “Make My Day”. The track is hard hitting, badass, and left me excited for what else the artist has in store for us. The second I heard it my jaw hit the floor because I haven’t heard a rock song as good as “Make My Day” in a long time. I had the chance to chat with the promising musician about her MBG project, “Make My Day”, and her upcoming EP.
Femme Riot: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your MBG project? How did you come up with the name MBG?
MBG: My name is Leena, born in Toronto but raised in Brampton. I’am a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. I’ve been playing music for almost 10 years now (yikes) but only started songwriting about a year or two ago. This Alt Rock project is a recording project where I ‘brand’ myself as being a 1 woman rock band where I write/record/perform/produce my own music in my bedroom studio.
The name was actually given to me by a little girl who was watching me play all of the instruments at a local music store when i was 17. My parents couldn’t afford instruments or even lessons so everyday after school I would commute to Long and McQuade and stay there and practice for hours at each section of the store…even sometimes until closing time! until one day this little girl kept looking at me play for a while. After a whole maybe 10 minutes of her watching me going to every section of the store and playing all these instruments, she came up to me and she said “wow…you play all these instruments…you’re like a music box girl” and then kind of just stuck with me ever since and that’s what MBG stands for.
“Make My Day” is such a banger I’m obsessed. Can you tell us more about this track and the inspiration behind it?
Thank you so much! Yeah I was pretty much just noodling around with my guitar and the riff just came to me. Often times when i’m songwriting both melody and lyrics come to me at the same time and when I’m in the middle of writing, 99% of the time I don’t know what i’m writing about until I finish the song and sing it back to myself and figure out what the hell did I write. With this song it’s just that haha. After I finished writing it I realized this is more of a self-reflecting song about battling my inner voice which is sometimes not a positive one. Sometimes you have to stop listening to that negative side of yourself and let that part of yourself go. Letting that part of you go can be pretty tough because you’ve been stagnant for so long that it has become your ‘comfort zone’ like you’ve settled and accepted it but over the past year for me I’ve realized that I can do way better and I gotta face the music (how ironic lol) and just work hard. Sometimes it’ll get to me but I’ve gone this far why stop now right?
Sometimes you have to stop listening to that negative side of yourself and let that part of yourself go.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP?
You can expect a lot of experimentation with different genres in this EP. I’ve only been songwriting for almost two years now and in the first year was trying to figure out what ‘my sound’ is gonna be. It’s tough especially for someone like me who’s music taste is quite broad and takes inspo from most of the artist that I listen to which can go from Rock to straight up bubble gum pop to folk to even R&B. That first year was just an existential crisis for me and wanting to do every genre that I enjoy listening to but that’s really hard to market these days…unless you’re Billie Eilish lol. So far I think i’ve settled into the indie Alt Rock category. My vocals are not the strongest but definitely fit in the indie rock sound and also being in a rock band already has moulded my songwriting into that genre.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you wanna get an idea of what I kinda do in my bedroom studio you can take a look at my YouTube channel. I’ve been posting ‘one woman band’ covers on there mostly for fun because I also like making videos as well. Also not only I have this solo project but I’m also in a band called the Common Chase where I play bass and vocals you can check us out on all of the social medias. My debut EP will be released sometime in May followed by an EP release show in downtown Toronto so be on the look out for that!
The cover photo was shot by Tatiana Rodriguez.