Naess received her first guitar at the age of 14, a gift from her mother. The first song she learned to play was "The Cross" by Prince from the 1987 album Sign “O” the Times. She soon began writing her own songs and poetry. In addition to Julie Andrews in the musicals Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, her early influences were 1980s British rock: Joy Division, The Cure, New Order, The Specials and Madness. Naess soon found inspiration in the contemporary singer-songwriters Tracy Chapman, Sinéad O'Connor, and Edie Brickell, as well as in Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Her other musical influences include Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon. At the age of 18, Naess moved to New York City to study music at New York University, she later switched her major, receiving a degree in anthropology. A resident of Greenwich Village, she began performing with her guitar at open mikes and was soon performing regularly in coffeehouses, bars and clubs like The Bitter End around Lower Manhattan, even busking at times. A friend, who was an intern at Sony Records, invited an executive to see Naess perform. Soon, a number of record companies were interested in signing her. She signed with producer Scott Litt's record label, Outpost Records, at the age of 22, shortly after graduating from NYU.
Naess began work on her first album in 1998, which was completed in June 1999. A series of business mergers postponed the album, meanwhile the Outpost label went out of business. The head of MCA Records, another division of the Universal Music Group of which Outpost had become part of, brought her contract over to MCA. Naess's first album, Comatised, was released in March 2000. Naess continued to develop as a performer during the delays. Comatised produced the single "Charm Attack" (Adult Top 40 #29), which was also featured in the teen comedy film Whatever It Takes. She appeared as a model for Calvin Klein prior to the release of the album. Naess soon released her second album, I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll (2001), produced by Swedish producer Martin Terefe.
In 2002, Naess recorded backing vocals on Counting Crows album Hard Candy, primarily on the song "Black and Blue". She signed with Geffen Records and released her third album, Leona Naess (2003), produced by Ethan Johns. The album was a new direction for Naess with its stripped-down instrumentation. A song from this album, "Ballerina", appeared in the first season of the Showtime program, Weeds (2005), in the episode entitled "Dead in the Nethers". Another song from her third album, "Christmas", also appeared on the soundtrack Music from the OC: Mix 3. In 2004, her song "Calling" was featured on the soundtrack to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
In January 2004, Naess' father died in a climbing accident in South Africa. Devastated by the loss, she withdrew from music and moved back to London to live with her mother. Naess was dropped from her record label, split with her manager, and considered going back to school. Eventually, she resumed songwriting and began collaborating with music producer Samuel Dixon. Naess released a fourth album, Thirteens, on September 16, 2008 with Verve Forecast Records in the U.S. The title refers to thirteen lo-fi home-recorded albums that Naess created over approximately two years before the album's release, although Naess has stated that the title has another meaning, which is a secret. The album consists of first takes, which were then overdubbed. A single, "Heavy Like Sunday", was released on June 2, 2008 on Blue Flowers Records.500 copies of a 7" vinyl version included a Polaroid picture taken by Naess.
Naess is featured on the Ray LaMontagne album, Gossip in the Grain (2008), on the songs "A Falling Through" and "I Still Care for You", and toured with LaMontagne in September – November 2008. She has also toured with Eagle-Eye Cherry, David Gray, The Barenaked Ladies, Travis, Ryan Adams, Emm Gryner, Hem, Josh Rouse, Ben Lee, Badly Drawn Boy, and appeared as part of the 1999 Lilith Fair.
Naess lives in New York City and frequently travels back to London. She was engaged to singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, the engagement ended in 2003.
Comatised is the 2000 debut album by Leona Naess, produced by MCA Records. The tracks "Charm Attack" and "Lazy Days" were featured in teen comedy film Whatever It Takes and primetime drama The O.C., respectively. The single "Charm Attack" reached #29 on the Billboard Adult Top 40.
I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll is a 2001 album by Leona Naess. I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll is her second album, and is produced by MCA Records.
The title track and "Mayor Of Your Town" were released as singles from this album.
Leona Naess is a 2003 self-titled album by Leona Naess. Leona Naess is Naess' third album, and the first of hers to be produced Geffen Records. The album was a critical success, receiving a four and a half star ranking from Allmusic, and was chosen as one of Allmusics Album Picks. One of the tracks, Christmas, also appeared on the Music from the OC: Mix 3, and the album reached 43 on the TopHeatseekers chart in 2003.
A promotional only version of the album put out towards it's commercial release included a bonus DVD featuring interviews with leona and footage of the recording sessions. The package also included a heart shaped metal locket, a pressed leaf and a pencil sketch of Leona. The main album is also part of the package although a slightly different master with a different track order.
"Calling" was released as a single from this album. It was announced in December 2006 that "Ballerina" was re-recorded with Tori Amos producing and providing piano for a possible future single release. Rumors has been spread that Ballerina is about a stillborn that Leona had.
Thirteens is an album by Leona Naess, released by Verve Forecast Records on 16 September 2008 in the U.S., and will be released on 11 May 2009 in the U.K..
The album was influenced by the death of Naess’s father, Arne Næss, Jr., in a mountaineering accident in January 2004. Naess returned to London from New York City and eventually began writing and recording songs with music producer Samuel Dixon. Naess recorded with almost no budget, asking friends to contribute, and completed thirteen albums’ worth of material. Eleven songs were selected for the release, titled Thirteens. Described as "a sweet and poignant collection" by New York magazine, much of the album deals with the onset of maturity. The album consists of first takes, which where then overdubbed.
A digital download of the album available on the iTunes Store includes a bonus track featuring singer-songwriter Ryan Adams; an exclusive edition available through retailer Barnes & Noble includes two bonus tracks.
In November 2008 Leona Naess decided to give people a bootleg version of Thirteens. Thirteen Weeks:Thirteen Songs, every monday a new song is posted. Well in February 2009 Leona stopped giving free songs after No Boys, she has been very busy with music and touring and so on.
"i am so so sorry about the delay with find the 13 song situation. i like to hide myself away from it all and sometimes the idea of going onto any website, mine mainly, freaks me out completely. i just don't want to know. the problem with this, is that i don't know when things are not working. I guess i have people to do this but maybe they are freaked out too. maybe they are locked in their bathrooms and can't get out. maybe they're stuck under some really heavy furniture. who know? but i am sorry and am working to fix it. i can tell you that i saw kings of leon at msg and it was good. although what the fuck are they wearing these days? sound garden meets savage garden or something. awful. i also went to see mary louise parker in hedda gabler. she is amazing... sigh. have done many other things but less is more right?"
It's ok though. I found the 12th one Beautiful Boy and a couple other songs from Leona Naess too.
Find The 13