Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 58 - Interview with Leah

INTERVIEW WITH LEAH


Leah is a Celtic Metal vocalist that hails from Canada. She has taken a unique approach to recording her debut in that she did it at the same time as being a housewife and home schooling mother. ‘Of Earth And Angels’ was originally out in 2012 but it now has its UK release. Dave Scott got chance to ask some questions about the debut in an email to the Canadian songstress.

For those that might be unfamiliar, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Well first hello! My name is Leah, and I’m a Symphonic Metal singer and songwriter from British Columbia, Canada.

I have seen some descriptions of your sound/style but how would you yourself define it?

I think in broader terms Symphonic Metal makes the most sense to people. The way my writing style is going though, I would be more inclined to call it Celtic Metal, New-Age Metal, or Fantasy World Metal... something like that ha-ha!

Is there any significance or meaning behind the title ‘Of Earth And Angels’?

The album title is an overall description of the combination of songs on the album. The content is a mix of earthly tales and woes and more inspirational and angelic folklore. That made for the end title ‘Of Earth & Angels’.

When you started the album you were a housewife home schooling your children. What factors/thoughts influenced your decision, with a very busy life, to take the leap to writing and recording an album?

Great question! For the record, I still am a housewife, and home-educate our four children. The decision to record an album was long overdue. I have always been a song writer and just never had the opportunity to record until a few years ago. It was the natural progression for me. These days, and especially being in the genre I’m in, you don’t make music for money. You do it for the absolute love of it. I will continue to make music as long as I’m breathing ha-ha.

How did you go about making the time to do everything that is involved in making an album with such a busy life already?

Yes I have a lot on my plate, so I chipped away at it for over a year, and the entire process took over two years from start to finish.

Did you write all the tracks yourself and if so where did you draw your inspiration from?

Yes I write all my songs. They usually start out as piano or synth tracks with strong vocal lines. I can hear quite a bit of how it will go in my mind, but it always gets fleshed out much better once the real instruments are there. I draw inspiration from everywhere, from anything that strikes me or catches my ear. That could be from any genre too, not always metal.

Are there any particular stories behind any of the songs on the album? Are there some that are more personal to you than others?

Most of my songs are not as personal as they are imaginative. I often do research, or make up little stories to create the mood I need to write. Sometimes the story is more specific, but I like to go with themes more than stories. That way, people can decide what it means for themselves.

Do you have a particular favorite of your own on the album?

I don’t have a favorite. It depends what I’m in the mood for. I chose these 12 songs out of several dozen, so I thought each of them had something unique to offer, and especially as a collection.

I haven’t seen much information on the musicians on the album. Can you tell our readers a little about who performed with you on the album?

Because I’m primarily a recording artist, not a touring artist (for now), I mainly find the musicians I want for my recordings. Everyone on the record is extremely talented. When it comes time for me to tour, I know I will have a nice solid line up!

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What are your thoughts on touring? I guess a large scale tour of Europe would be difficult but what about a few individual gigs somewhere? Do you think UK fans like me might have any chance to see you live over here?

It is definitely something I want to do! Especially touring Europe and the UK - it’s a dream of mine! I love being a tourist, so if I’m ever there, I hope people will show me all the good places to go! Touring is a big deal and an expensive endeavor, especially as an independent artist, so I don’t see it happening in the near future, but you never know! The right opportunity may come along.

Have you given any thoughts to releasing some singles and maybe even trying to do a video for any tracks?

Yes, and this is what’s next for me. The plan is to release some new music within the next few months. I’m working on it right now, in fact. It will most likely be an EP and then I’m hoping if people really like it I will be able to do a full-length after that! I would also love to do some videos! It may be on the agenda for this summer, we shall see...

The world is generally a pretty tough place all round right now. As an artist how do you view these difficult days and what effects has it had on what you do at the moment? I’m guessing given your style that Europe is a key area for you and many countries there have their own problems, has that and/or the world economy in general affected what you have done/want to do?

Yes, this is one of the reasons we home-educate our kids. I have a strong belief in personal responsibility and not relying on the government to take care of everyone (which is why the world is failing economically), and this includes the arena of education too. I think a big key to cleaning up the problems in the world is to train my kids how to think critically and analyze the world, instead of believing everything they hear in the mainstream media and especially what they are taught at government schools.

Another big change in the music industry in the last decade has been social media/internet. I know some artists embrace this new medium whereas others effectively despise it due to the downloading. Can you give a brief insight into how you view this key element in industry?

I can’t say I’ve made up my mind about it all as it’s still very new territory; however I think if artists want success we need to accept and embrace file sharing. It just means more people around the world will hear about us! That is exactly how people around the world have heard about my music without my ever having left the house! It means we need to think of new ways to cover costs. Changing markets just means we need to get creative and innovative again, which will always result in healthy competition and economic growth.

Who were your influences when you were younger and what do you listen to these days as an artist yourself?

I was exposed to a lot of oldies and rock ‘n roll as a kid, as well as gospel music. It wasn’t until I discovered Celtic music and then metal, particularly European Symphonic Metal, that I felt like I had found where I belong. These days I listen to quite a wide range. I hardly ever listen to mainstream radio. It’s all so mechanical, just the same chords being pumped through the music machine. It’s not really music, it’s a factory product. I have internet radio on in my house all the time. I like that a lot because I’m often in weird moods for different things, and you get exposure to artists you would never normally hear. During the day, we listen to baroque stations quite a bit. I think it helps with brain waves! And then I might change it to traditional Celtic, Gothic, or even Bluegrass!

You have quite a Celtic influence to your music, where does that particular influence come from?

My own Scottish and Irish heritage originally inspired me. You can’t watch Braveheart or Rob Roy without wanting to embrace your ancestral history! And then it was Loreena McKennitt and Enya that really captivated me after that.

You have a musical career and family to keep you occupied but what do you like to do in your spare time when you have some?

People make time for what they are passionate about. Luckily my kids have a bedtime! So I am either chilling in the evenings, or writing music, or working out! I’m a bit of a health nut and I really enjoy weight lifting. I’ve got a little home gym set up so I am there quite a bit.

What next for Leah after ‘Of Earth & Angels’? Not only in the immediate future but have you given much thought to where you would like to be say in five years?

I haven’t set up too many lofty goals for the future. Right now I’m taking it one step at a time. My next move will be more music! That will always be my goal. The whole process of writing, recording, and hearing the finished product is very satisfying. I hope in five years I will have reached a wider audience and more people will have heard my music!

Have you anything to add or say to your UK fans and readers of Fireworks UK?

Yes, thank you all for reading and I hope my story gives others hope that they can also have a family and pursue music. You don’t have to pick one or the other, but it might mean you have to get creative about getting it out there! I hope you all give Of Earth & Angels a listen and I hope you will love my new songs coming out soon!

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