Photo Credit: Joshua Shelton

Exclusive: Interview with Shayna Leigh

 

For as long as anyone can remember, music has been a way of expression, a creative outlet for artists worldwide to pour their heart and soul into. For Shayna Leigh, music is just that. She shared her stories and experiences with the world last summer with the release of her debut album, Drive, and will be releasing a new EP soon.

We chatted to her about touring, music, and more!

How would you describe your musical style? 

My musical style is definitely pop driven, but my songs definitely tell stories. I try to always tell the truth in my music, but I am also an optimist so ultimately it will always be hopeful. Most of the songs are either guitar or piano driven, but we like to add an electronic, modern edge. I love the contrast of that!

Tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to pursue music as a career. 

I really didn’t have one of those movie moments where I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like I chose to have a career in music one project at a time, one song at a time in the beginning and one album at a time now. Being a performer has been my dream for as long as I can remember, but I choose to follow my dreams one moment at a time. It’s less pressure that way, but I do find I always choose music…honestly because I just love it.

How was touring with Lee DeWyze & Wakey Wakey? 

My tour with Lee DeWyze and Wakey Wakey was my favorite of the tours I’ve been on thus far. We played amazing venues with really supportive, engaging audiences. More than that though, both of these guys are just so talented and genuinely sincere. I really appreciate having the opportunity to learn from them as artists and as people navigating the music industry.

What’s your favourite thing about touring? 

I love the grind of touring. Seriously! I love feeling like I’m training, like I’m in the zone. Also, there is nothing like the energy of a live performance. There is nothing like getting up there and connecting with an audience. It’s the greatest feeling in the world as far as I am concerned.

If you could go on tour with any artist or band, who would it be and why? 

Right now I would love to go on tour with someone like Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Bareilles. I feel like they are such strong independent women and incredible writers and performers. I would love to learn from them.

You released your debut album, Drive last summer. Is there a song on the album that means the most to you? 

The song “Drive” (the title track of the album) will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first song I wrote with Peter Zizzo and Michael Mangini (my co-writers and producers for the album). In writing this song I finally felt like I had found my sound and the beginnings of who I wanted to be as an artist. I was coming out of a very tumultuous time in my life, professionally and personally, and “Drive” was the light at the end of the tunnel.

What did you enjoy the most about creating your first album? 

I loved watching myself develop and grow as a singer, as an artist and also as a person. Creating an album (creating anything really) is incredibly intense and exhilarating, and there are so many ups and downs. Learning to dive in and really trust the process was life changing for me. I also loved translating my thoughts, feelings, and perspectives into music in a way that felt really honest and true. It can be magical.

What can we expect from your upcoming EP? 

My new EP is even more personal than the last one! This one is actually all about dating! It’s been such an evolution. I used to be very opposed to the idea of writing love songs, relationship songs, but sometimes life just steps in and tells you what you need to write about. I’ve spent a good part of the last year going on romantic adventures, so I just had to write about them!

You love creating songs that tell stories – what’s your favourite song that’s taken you on a journey? 

This one is a hard one! One of the most interesting journeys for me was with the song “Last Criminal.” The “criminal” that the song was about for me was my self-doubt. I was so tired of crumbling under the weight of my own fears and insecurities and I wanted this song to destroy their hold on me. As it turned out, the writing and recording process for “Last Criminal” was actually incredibly intense, emotional and doubt-ridden for me. But I pushed myself to work through it and ultimately did feel so much of that anxiety subside. And now “Last Criminal” is a song I love to sing. It’s amazing how that can happen.

What are your hobbies and passions outside of writing songs? 

Well, I am kind of addicted to working out (honestly, what started as something I made myself do has become something that I really need to function!). I study acting. I play on a softball team (I play badly). I LOVE to travel. I love TV. I deeply love my family and my friends, and I will always be the most passionate about anything involving any of them! I am also always open to trying new things.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans? 

Just thank you! I am honestly consistently in awe of my fans. They are so kind and thoughtful and funny. Connecting with fans has been without a doubt one of the highlights of my life so far. I am just so very grateful.

 

You can find Shayna Leigh on Twitter and Instagram.

Are you excited to hear Shayna Leigh’s new EP? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix.

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

Email: katherine.jiang@live.ca
(Please CC hello@CelebMix.com on all inquiries!)