With a background as varied as her hit music, Leana (a.k.a. The Swedish Diva) has a story that would surprise many. From her native Sweden to adopted hometown of Los Angeles, Leana’s history of strength and savvy extends from the business world to the entertainment industry and beyond. Born in the small fishing village of Stromstad, Sweden, Leana grew to call the country’s sophisticated metropolis of Stockholm home in her teenage years. It was at this time that the tall, stunning blonde launched a career as a catalog and high fashion model. Though her modeling days were highly successful, Leana began to ponder the idea of re-creating herself as a business woman. Leana formed Absolute Court Reporting with only one employee to her name. During the decade she spent as Absolute’s President, Leana oversaw all aspects of business and organization development, expanding the company exponentially from a tiny business of two to a bustling company with 45 employees.
In 1998, Leana made the life-altering choice to begin her first foray into the music business. Leana began moonlighting with a live nightclub revue, The Swedish Diva Show, which she performed at local Los Angeles staples Luna Park and Club Lunaria. The Swedish Diva Show became a weekly standing room only event and earned accolades from the press, including Los Angeles Magazine, who wrote that Leana “redefine[d] the word ‘Diva’. When discussing her inspiration for The Swedish Diva Show, Leana comments that growing up in Sweden, one dance band reigned supreme locally and throughout the world: “musically, when you grow up [in Sweden], you can’t help but be completely influenced by ABBA, and my producers love to tease me that I have spent my musical life channeling ABBA.”
Besides bringing in kudos from fans worldwide, the live show also put the spotlight on Leana’s talent as a solo artist, and won her the attention of Michael Lloyd, an accomplished producer with over 100 platinum albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Michael was the first producer to approach Leana about working together in the studio, and their collaboration eventually became the impetus that led Leana to record her first album, Faith in Myself. “The album title was really about me developing the confidence in myself to become a recording artist….” says Leana. Faith in Myself included Leana’s breakout single, Dance With A Stranger. The single was an instant hit that eventually peaked as a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Dance chart and was nominated for Best HiNRG/Euro Track at the 2006 International Dance Awards.
Leana released her second album, Feel Me in spring 2008. Feel Me’s advance release, a rhythmic cover of the 80’s super-hit I Just Died In Your Arms entered with a bang at No. 2 on the Billboard Break Out Chart. The other single release, Embrace Me, which debuted at 1 on the Billboard Break Out Chart, became the 1 most added pick on the DJ Times National Chart. Embrace Me quickly scaled the Billboard Dance Chart and landed at 7. The single also peaked at 1 on FMQB.
Pack Your Bags, also from Feel Me, was a Billboard hot shot debut that became No. 3 on MusicWeek’s Pop/Club chart, the equivalent of Billboard in the UK, as well as No. 4 on DJ Times. The steaming video, directed by Grammy winner Gustavo Garzon is currently airing on the MTV/LOGO network’s NewNowNext.