Nickelodeon star kid, Leon Thomas III, wrote Snooze by SZA.
There was no doubt I would do a cover of SZA’s track ‘Snooze’ from her upcoming album SOS, as this is the track that I co-produced with her. What an amazing experience it has been to see how it has been received by so many people! Make sure that you take a moment to stream my new single ‘Breaking Point’ on Spotify if you caught the vibe,” Thomas wrote on the social media site Instagram.
From “Lion King” on Broadway to Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” Leon Thomas grew up in front of us, but he matured in the rooms where music is born. As a student of Babyface, protégé of Ty Dolla $ign and creative confidant of Ariana Grande, Thomas has grown into a musician whom the biggest artists trust.
“[SZA’s “Snooze”] wasn’t even originally for her album. It was a collaboration she was doing for Babyface’s new album, Girls Night Out. We were essentially just getting creative and having Babyface walk in and out of the room and lay parts,” Thomas reveals to REVOLT. “We did the beat that same day, and she recorded the song on the same day. That was a year and a couple of months ago.”
What’s your identifiable contribution to the record?
For a lot of the tracks I’m on, you’ll always be able to recognize if it’s me based on a technique I use where I’ll sing in a different key a lot slower, and I’ll speed up my vocal. Then, I’ll do what they call “vocal chops” and chop it up throughout the beat. It may be kind of scatting. It may be ad-libs. It’s like when Kanye West would speed up those old samples from Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin. So, on “Snooze,” that’s me singing [near the end].
You and Babyface helped co-produce “Snooze” from SZA’s SOS album. What is it like to work with her?
She works by having a separate studio room for us, and she has her own room because she needs space just to build and do her thing. I respect that because I’m very much like that myself as an artist. She was so gracious to have us in her space when we were there. The collaborative process was still there, but it was beautiful to have her in her own space, and we were feeding her ideas to work on. That song wasn’t even originally for her album. It was a collaboration she was doing for Babyface’s new album, Girls Night Out. We were essentially just getting creative and having Babyface walk in and out of the room and lay parts. Building the whole thing from scratch was beautiful. There was no ego; we were trying to make something cool that day. We did the beat that same day, and she recorded the song on the same day. That was a year and a couple of months ago.
Last year, the New York-born recording artist made his solo recording debut as a recording artist by releasing the single “Love Jones” with the help of Ty Dolla $ign. He followed up that release with his follow-up “Breaking Point”, which was produced by Don Mills and Coleman, and which also features NBA superstar LeBron James along with another son of his, Bronny James, in Beats By Dre’s latest promotional video. In the past few years, Thomas has had a lot of success penning songs for some big names like SZA. He has received a lot of credit for writing tracks for Giveon’s Give or Take, Ariana Grande’s Positions, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, and many others.