Leon Timbo tackles conversations about the messiness of love and relationships in his new song “Love’s Not Supposed to Hurt,” which can be found on his latest album, Lovers and Fools. The song covers two conversations: one with his daughter about the hurt that can come with love and one about the love of his country.
“It is a song that speaks of conversations with my daughter about love hurting and why people don’t try to stay and work things out. This song also touches on my existence as a person of color and my love for my country,” Timbo tells American Songwriter. “The love of a relationship is not supposed to hurt, but it does. The love of my country is not supposed to hurt, but it does.”
Despite the pain love can bring, Timbo’s message is to still pursue love and see the beauty in both the discovery and loss of it. “This song speaks about the one area where I have made the greatest investments—relationships,” he says.
“The song’s message is to look again, to look closer at love, and allow the music to challenge our need to neatly package love in an all-encompassing definition,” Timbo continues. “This song represents the constant cycle of questions and answers in life about love. It demonstrates that our ideas and definitions of love are often the results of a mismatch between experience and expectation. Love is messy; relationships are messy.”
Timbo brings this message to life with a strong beat, intricate guitar work, and soothing tenor vocals. His music incorporates soul, gospel, folk, R&B, and modern blues for a unique sound, and his vulnerable lyrics hook listeners.
“Creativity with words can make a tree feel like a pot of gold. A thoughtfully written song can take some of life’s darkest moments and turn those experiences into words of wisdom and comfort for generations to come,” Timbo says. “I like the ability to provide people with an opportunity to see things in a way they have never seen it before. Music is an incredible universal language that allows mere words to hold tremendous meaning.”
Although his songwriting process varies, Timbo says he uses his ears as a guide and makes sure listeners will hear a story through his songs.
“I tend to write what I hear! My ears are my guide. Sometimes what I hear is external, but in most cases, it is internal sensing. When I hear something, I stop whatever I am doing to capture it. All of my songs start with something I hear, not something I think up,” Timbo describes. “Every song must tell a story. It must take the listener on a journey. The music must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.”
Check out the acoustic video for “Love’s Not Supposed to Hurt” below.
All photos by Elizabeth Mayo.