“A unique sound from a refreshing perspective, Leah brings it.”
-John Scott, iHeartMedia
It was at that point that Leah, only 14 at the time, began playing in bars and restaurants. Since that time she has performed for small intimate gatherings and crowds in excess of ten thousand.
I first met Leah in a college seminar course. The moment she walked into the room, I knew she was special. And each day since then, she’s proven me right. Not only is Leah an incredible singer and songwriter, she’s also an inspiring person with a God-given vision. Her soulful, mesmerizing music will add heat to any playlist.
In the following interview for Pursue Magazine, Leah shares her journey from aspiring musician to breakthrough artist and offers advice to those pursuing their dreams.
When did you first become interested in music?
I truly cannot remember a time when I wasn’t interested in music. I remember sitting in the back of my mom’s mini-van listening to Norah Jones and being obsessed with the musicality in every word she sang. I began singing and writing when I was about 12 and performing publicly when I was 14, but as far as my interest in music, it has always been there.
How did you break into the music scene?
I didn’t know any better way to “break into the music scene” than to write everyday and start playing in public, so that is exactly what I did! When other kids would be hanging out I would lock myself in my room, sit on my bed, and write for hours. And then I would take those songs and play them anywhere they’d let a 14-15 year old play. I was playing one Saturday night at a small restaurant and a local dj happened to be there. He liked my sound, invited me into the station and I did a live show with him. After that he wrote an article calling me an artist to watch. That really opened doors for me, giving me a little credibility, allowing me to play in more places; even though I was still too young to get into some of them on my own! I am truly grateful for all of the positive things that came from that one vote of confidence.
What are your future goals as a musician?
I want to play music for the rest of my life, make a living out of it, but still love it at the end. I think that is the key: still loving it. Fame would be great and having people know every lyric to all of my songs, but I just want to continue sharing my music with every ear that will listen and if fame came out of, that would just be a plus.
Besides music, what else do you like to do? Favorite things?
Oddly enough, I love running! People think I am crazy when I say that, but as long as I have a pair of tennis shoes and the road, I am a happy lady. It gives me a lot of time to think. A lot of my songs have been written while running. A less abnormal thing that I love to do is bake! I can make some pretty amazing chocolate chip cookies.
How has God shaped your life and career?
Something I struggled with when I was young and around a lot of people that I went to church with was how I could sing and write secular songs and still be a Christian. My view is more that the way I treat others and portray myself as woman should show my love for Christ. If you listen closely to some of my lyrics, my personal values show through, like in my song Easy (this song hasn’t been released yet) I say, “I’ve got dignity and I’ve got strength and just because I want you doesn’t mean I’m gonna give it away. I’m not saying your sleazy, I’m just not easy.”
Do you have any advice you’d like to give those pursuing their dreams?
Don’t get easily discouraged! Whatever industry you want to break into whether it be music, business, or basket weaving, you will come across people who don’t agree with you or will try to change you. The most important thing that I have learned is to listen with a critical ear to decipher what criticism I can use to make myself better and what is just meant to hurt me and let it roll off my back.
Leah’s single, Cupid, is now available for download. Be sure to watch for her upcoming releases and LIKE her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LeahSykesMusician.
About the Writer:
Caroline George published her debut series, The Prime Way Program, at age fifteen. Since publishing, she has been nominated twice for the Georgia Author of the Year Award, gained readership worldwide, and has spoken at various libraries, schools, tradeshows, and coffeehouses.
Caroline grew up in Georgia but now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She spends most of her time writing, eating too much sushi, playing guitar, and spreading her passion for young authors throughout her community.