Local Spotlight | “When You Wake Up”

Indie artist Leo Sun's new single is climate control on an otherwise balmy day

Credit: Tenny Rudolph

Unlike our tropical neighbors a few ticks south, Northeast Florida doesn’t quite enjoy an endless summer. A new track from Jacksonville indie artist Leo Sun, though, certainly sounds as if it sprouted from a tract of citrus- and hibiscus-lined land; somewhere pleasantly tropical. With auxiliary percussion and an ambience of lap steel “When You Wake Up” is an enjoyably languid and airy tune that hits like trade winds on an otherwise balmy day.

Unlike most superficial summer jams, “When You Wake Up” carries a lyrical depth that belies its breezy, relaxed presentation. “I don’t think I could have tried it any harder. It breaks my heart that we couldn’t have gone any farther,” Leo Sun sings on one of the track’s many poetic and lamenting verse lines. Seemingly by design, the tune’s gentle pacing serves to steal the listener’s fortitude, or at least distract from the heartache expressed in the song’s lyrics.

Maybe it takes a special kind of person

I’m sorry I wasn’t the one to make that happen

Ask me how I expect to die–to die

The last thing I’ll ever see is her loving eyes–those eyes

“[‘When You Wake Up’ is] a song about taking it day-by-day,” Leo Sun says. “[It’s] a song about coming and going. A song about loving without recompense. A song about being oh-so gentle and sweet just because that’s how you like to move.”

Leo Sun’s vocal performance, casually tossing their virtuoso voice around as if they were reclining in a chaise lounge, certainly reinforces the song’s modus operandi of keeping things chill and meeting challenges with levity. And as things go from hot to unbearably humid here in Northeast Florida, “When You Wake Up” is arguably capable of climate control.   

“When You Wake Up” appears on JME’s Fresh Squeeze Spotify playlist.