Polica: Wandering star Channy Leaneagh finds her path

Singer okay with vulnerability on Give You the Ghost

"Her work ethic is incredible," says Olson, beaming over the phone. "She'll try different shit; she's not afraid to take direction and just go for things. [And] usually she has awesome ideas. A usual session, she'll just scat and freestyle and stuff, then work on stuff by herself and come back with it fleshed out. It's fantastic."

Olson and Leaneagh didn't know each other before he asked her to join Gayngs, a fact that the singer finds amusing in retrospect. "I actually tried to get out of being in Gayngs because I was so really shy. I did not want to go over to this person's house that I didn't know," she recalls, shaking her head. "Then I saw Ryan's face when I walked upstairs, and I was like, 'Oh, I totally know who this is!'" After touring together, the pair quickly developed a mutual respect, and once Leaneagh recorded some demos—"rough versions of me singing melodies with very shitty R&B beats," in her words—she knew exactly who she wanted to give them to.

Poliça's debut album was written in a two-day burst. Olson says he originally looked at the band—filled out with drummers Christopherson and Ben Ivascu, plus bassist Chris Bierdan, all hand-picked by Olson—as a side project drawing on his old, unused beats. "I was just going to have them play unknown shows, not have people know about it, and give them time to play around and start a band," he recalls with a gravelly chuckle. "Whatever. It's awesome; I have no qualms with what's happening."

On Valentine's Day, the group marked Ghost's official release with their second gig headlining First Avenue in three weeks. Leaneagh says the band already has 14 more "experimental" songs recorded for a follow-up. Before it was announced that the album would be released on Totally Gross National Product, there were rumors of entreaties by national labels. "We're not really sure where that came from," says Christopherson, who co-owns Totally Gross with Olson. "We were always curious about who was interested, but it was never really more than a curiosity.... We had our own agenda, so it was not a hard decision."

The local buzz around Poliça has been as strong as that for anyone in recent memory, and while there have been hints of broader interest—a tour opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, a handful of shows at 2011's CMJ—it's fair to say the journey is just now beginning. But on at least one point Leaneagh is emphatic: She's singing on her own terms.

"I always wanted to sing R&B music, since forever," she says, leaning back in her chair and slinging her arm over the back. She admits, for instance, to making "crazy R&B mixtapes in high school," loaded with Aaliyah, K-Ci & JoJo, and R. Kelly. "Some people would say this isn't R&B, but it's, like, me trying to do it."

Leaneagh reaches forward and stirs her drink with the straw, then looks back up, the dim bar lighting making her light-blue eyes appear gray. "I never would have done this without Ryan. I'm completely indebted to him for this band," she continues. "It just worked out; it was just the perfect time. There have been a lot of perfect timings in this band."

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it's the same as that bon iver cover story from last year. nothing new to say. just trying to get a piece of something that's already popular.


I'm trying to figure out what was the point of this article. If it set out to be a Polica lovefest then yeah I guess I get it. Being that it's a front page story in the weekly I was expecting more. There isn't one single bit of new information in the entire article. If it's about Polica maybe next time you could ask about how the band is set up financially. Who gets what % of revenue? Who makes the decisions about how long the tours are? Just anything of substance would have been interesting. Likewise if it was suppose to be about Channy. What about her relationship with her ex? If she is going to write songs about it maybe you could go a little deeper into that, maybe even ask about her daughter and how is she doing being away from her for long periods of time. Just anything would have been better then this surface scratching lovefest.


Good band, boring-ass story. Does nothing to explain why this music deserves the attenton. (A singer is "okay with vulnerability!?!" Stop the presses!)


what kind of moron/voyeur cares to know about a bands financial shares? that's just plain dumb.

no true music fan would give two shits.


Yeah, I want the financial details, that's what it's all about. Oh yeah, and ask her why her marriage broke up, oh and if her daughter is fucked up. Dumbass.


for those of us who cannot even shower or leave the house. So does that mean to be a true music fan I have to be so depressed that I can't shower or leave the house. Well then yeah I guess I'm not a true music fan. I have been to 5 Polica shows though, so maybe you need to take a shower and leave the house and then you would be a little more interested in how the world works.


Where did I say anything about her daughter being fucked up? Oh and if you have listened to any of the songs maybe you'd realize that almost every one of them is about her marriage breaking up. So if your into reading another fluff piece about how great they are have at it. Whatever happen to the weekly that actually did some real reporting?


So is it garbage that Polica sells hoodies for $40 at their shows? Is it garbage that they charge $10 for a cd. Is it garbage that the 2nd show at the Turf Club was twice as much as the first? So where does the money go? Why not just give everything away for free if no one cares about it? The product is the music and the fans are the customers. As a customer I'm curious as to where the money I have spent is going. I'm hoping that the members of the band are getting most of it, but since one of the members of the band is a co owner of the label that put out the album then that makes me wonder what his share of it is. Since they sold out 1st Ave last night quite a bit of money was generated etc...So now if you can maybe think outside your small little box that you have your brain in you'd be just a little curious as to that side of the business that is making music.


what does that even mean?

seriously tho... nobody cares about the financial makeup/status of a band, what kinda garbage is that?

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