Leo Freire is a Brazilian born, New York City based drummer, music director, producer, and educator. His touring experience has included shows throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. These experiences have resulted in a growing expertise in creating Ableton Live controlled rigs for both performance backing tracks and for integrating pads, triggers, and other electronic instruments into live show setups. He has worked and performed with artists live and/or in-studio including:
Wheatus (multi-platinum with "Teenage Dirtbag")
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (Run DMC)
Viktor Király (Hungary No. 2 Top 40)
Kate Nauta (Transformer 2)
Fly By Midnight
Hypodive (Fieldhouse/ BMG)
My World (BMG)
Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing)
Recent tours have included the 37 date 2019 Wheatus Spring World Tour, through the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and South Africa and the 20 date 2018 Wheatus UK/Ireland tour, featuring a full direct support Theater run opening for British band "A". These shows included performances at distinguished venues, such as the London Shepherd's Bush Empire and Nottingham Rock City. Furthermore, he was also the drummer for the 39 date 2017 Wheatus UK/ European tour, which included 7 countries and ended with a performance at the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival. Other touring highlights have included drumming on Wheatus' 2016 18 date Arena tour supporting UK group Busted, which featured sold-out performances at some of the world's biggest selling venues such as the O2 Arena London, Glasgow SSE Hydro, Manchester Arena, and Wembley Arena. He was also a member of the 42 date 2015 Wheatus 15th anniversary European tour, in which he played drums for both headlining and support artists Wheatus and Mike Doughty, headlining festivals in Germany and Ireland, while also appearing on the Ray D'Arcy show, broadcasted to 500 thousand viewers, and featured live on Ireland's premiere TV network RTÉ One.
Some highlights of 2018 have included being selected as the only drummer to appear on the Flatbush Zombies album release " Vacation in Hell" - which reached no. 9 in the Billboard US Hip Hop/R&B Albums and was accompanied by a sold-out North American and Europe theater tour. Furthermore, he was the recording engineer of Wheatus' re-recorded Irish Gaelic version of "Teenage Dirtbag", appearing on Irish album release 'CEOL 2018', with total distribution of 320,000 copies. Finally, Leo was the music director of the headlining showcase at Seoul Webfest 2019 and 2018 in South Korea, performing live with NYC artist Cristiano A at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Park Habio for 600+ VIP attendees of the international film and music industries.
Leo was featured as a composer and performer on the original soundtrack for the 2017 feature documentary "Black and White Stripes: The Juventus Story" (No. 1 in the Italian Box Office). He participated as a guest performer in the film's South American premiere in Rio de Janeiro, being featured in the national Brazilian TV channel Globo and newspaper 'O Globo'. The film further embarked on an international world tour of its release in cities such as London, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Dubai, and Beijing.
Leo also performed on the MTV/ VH1/ CMT 2013 O Music Awards Drumathon, alongside Andrew W.K, sharing the bill with drummers including ?uestlove (The Roots), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Marky Ramone (The Ramones), amongst others.
When not performing live, Leo has worked in the studio with producers and engineers such as James Czeiner (Grammy Award Winning Engineer, Ludacris), Sal Villanueva (Taking Back Sunday), Kiyanu Kim (Gwen Stefani), Wayne Cohen (Curtis Stigers), and Brendan B. Brown (Wheatus).
He has studied privately with some of the biggest names in the industry including: Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live), Will Calhoun (Living Colour), Adam Deitch (Pretty Lights, John Scofield), and Bernard Purdie (Studio Legend). Winning a scholarship to study at the renowned New York Drummer's Collective, he was also mentored by Frank Katz (Brand X). Furthermore, he received instruction from Brazilian Samba drummer Wilson Meireles (Gilberto Gil).
Leo is also a passionate educator and continues to grow his private lesson studio, featuring students from age 6 to adults. He completed his Masters of Arts in K-12 Music Education at Hunter College in 2015, being the recipient of the Agnes Duffy graduation prize for academic merit. As an undergraduate student, he graduated from the Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College and was the sole recipient of the Libbie Van Arsdale Memorial Prize for outstanding achievement in music. At the university, he performed with and was mentored by Jazz musicians of the caliber of Ryan Keberle, Dafnis Prieto (MacArthur Foundation recipient), and Donny McCaslin (recording member on David Bowie's final album Blackstar), among others.