Hey, MD readers. I’m LeeAnet, and I am a percussionist/performing artist in NYC. I began drumming with my feet—my grandmother Dr. Loncie Malloy taught me how to tap dance when I was two years old. My grandmother passed away when I was six and we left our home to be with family in Cleveland. Not having a drumset, my mother, Lauretta Malloy, taught me how to play the kit on the dashboard of our car and kept me up on my tap steps. I would imagine the drumset while she taught me the rudiments.
Upon moving back to Maryland, I mixed those drum rhythms into my dancing, and at fourteen the Washington Post called me a “wild non-conformist…[with] my own style.” I performed with several percussive dance troupes as a soloist on legendary stages such as the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. I wanted to accompany myself, so I mixed shuffles and paddles with the slaps and tones of the djembe and became the first artist to drum and tap simultaneously.
In my last year at Howard University I was cast as the lead female in the international hit show Stomp. I was now creating rhythms with brooms and bins. After Stomp I joined the cast of Drumstruck (NYC), another hit. During our two-year run I was the only American in the cast and got to play djun djuns, djembes, and taiko drums while singing and dancing. Next, my mother and I put together a new show. After we performed segments around NYC, Launch [production company] offered us an opportunity to take it to the Zipper Theater in Times Square. In our show KickN2theBeat I play various percussive artists who have an endless passion for their craft.
My mother and I formed the band Ladies of Loncie in tribute to my grandmother. My mom plays the guitar and kit and sings while I rap, sing, drum, and dance. In concert as a djembe soloist I’ve opened for Alicia Keys, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Gwen Stefani, and Chaka Khan, among others, and I can be seen playing my djembe in Rihanna’s video for “What’s My Name.” My mom and I can currently be seen in the film Downtown Express from the producers of Twilight and Emmy award winning director David Grubin. In the film we took our student Travis Rogers and created a funk bucket piece that we perform live for Philippe Quint and Nellie McKay. Our scenes in the film have received rave reviews.
Through making music with Ladies of Loncie, tap dancing in concert, acting, teaching, and performing with Disney on Broadway for the past four years, I hope to continue to grow and inspire others through creative mediums.