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Exclusive Interview with Shayna Leigh

 

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Singer/songwriter Shayna Leigh recently released her debut LP “Drive.” With lyrics that are both deeply personal to Shayna and meaningful to all who hear them, this artist is rising through the indie-pop ranks with her powerful music.

Read our interview with Shayna below.

Tell us about your new album, “Drive.”

“‘Drive’ is my debut album that was just released on S-Curve/UMG. It’s my first full record (I’ve previously released two EPs) and I’m just really excited about it! The songs are all very personal for me- they are the stories of my life for the past few years, the process of finding myself in life and in music- and all the ups and the downs that go along with it. I think all the things that I’ve gone through, that we all go through, are at their core pretty universal, so I’ve tried to write songs that I hope will resonate with listeners and remind them that they are not alone. We are all in this together.”

What’s your favorite song on the album?

“That’s a tough one. Each song is really about something very real and important to me. ‘Drive’ will always have a special place in my heart because it was the song that started it all. It came out of a somewhat dark time in my life and the creation of it was incredibly healing on a very personal level.”

The video for “Drive” is powerful, showing a young girl growing from a shy, self-conscious child to a confident, capable adult. What was the inspiration for the song and the video? Can you describe the creative process of making the video, from concept to execution?

“The director of the video is actually a good friend of mine from childhood, Virginia Crawford, who is now a director living in LA. Usually when people make videos, they collect several treatments (which is basically just a breakdown of what will happen in the video) and pick their favorite. I had planned on doing that, but when I sent Virginia the song she immediately came back to me with an idea for the video, and it was exactly what I had envisioned. She just instinctively knew what the song was about. It was that magical. From there, we collaborated on the story details, and then I flew out to LA and went to what I affectionately refer to as ‘music video camp’ (I stayed with Virginia and we ate, slept and breathed nothing but ‘Drive’ for a full week!). And what we made is what you see! It was one of the best weeks of my life. The story we tell in the video of triumph in the face of whatever obstacles are placed in front of you is the story the song was intended to tell. It was amazing to bring ‘Drive’ to life.”

What aspects of pop drew you to the genre?

“I think pop music is really accessible. It’s something that people listen to and immediately relate to. I like the idea that I can tell powerful and empowering stories about my life and the human experience using a vehicle that everyone understands. My dream is to create music that makes people feel something- that becomes a part of their lives. I think pop music can do that.”

Who are your biggest musical influences?

“I’d have to say my biggest musical influences are the classics- I was raised on the Beatles and Carole King and later fell in love with Laura Nyro and Queen (to name a few). I’ve just always been really inspired by artists who feel original and unique without relying on gimmicks and extras. I actually love contemporary pop music, and I really do like and listen to what’s out there now, so I am excited to be a part of that while remembering to stay true to myself and do things my own way, as my idols taught me.”

Outside of the music industry, who are some of your idols?

“Honestly, I am inspired by people who do their best every single day. Life can be hard. I am inspired by people who are kind to strangers, by my friend who volunteers every week at an animal shelter, by my co-worker who let his brother and two young nieces live with him for a year in his one bedroom apartment because they needed a place to stay, by a lot of real, good people I see every day. They are my idols.”

Besides softball, are there any other sports you play?

“I play softball TERRIBLY but I really love it. My sister is good- she’s on my team so I think that balances us out. Otherwise, I am really active and I work out a lot… I take dance classes and run (slowly) but I don’t really play sports. One of the reasons that I got into music as a kid was that I was literally awful at every other extra curricular activity- my parents were just so happy I finally found something I was good at that they were totally willing to let me take as many lessons and go to as many auditions as I wanted J”

Do you follow any sports on TV?

“I am not a huge sports fan. I have a lot of friends who really love it, so I’ll occasionally tag along to games or sports related parties… but I’m much more in it for the food and camaraderie than I am for the game 😉 I know, that was not the cool answer to this question J”

What’s next for you after “Drive”? Anything in the works, or is the promotion for “Drive” keeping you pretty busy?

“The hope is that what’s next is always more music! I just finished shooting a music video for ‘Typhoon’ (one of my favorite songs off the album) that I’m pretty excited to release. I’d like to do more videos, more music, more shows… so that’s all in the works… and yes, I’m pretty busy with promotion- but I like being busy! You don’t go into a field like this unless you want to be doing 1000 things at once all the time! I really do prefer it that way!”

Are you excited at the fan response to your work?

“There is literally nothing like hearing that your work has impacted someone. That’s the reason I do this, so every time someone tweets something at me, sends me a message and says that my music means something to them, it makes every moment of struggle and heartache (that are inevitable in this business and in life) so worth it. I am super grateful.”

 

 

Written by AJ Mullican

AJ enjoys reading, writing, TV/movies, music, art, and cosplay. She has self-published poetry, short stories, and a novel. She is currently penning her second and third novels.

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