We’re back! Welcome to the latest installment of INDIE Focus, where you can discover the best upcoming musical talent. Today we present to you Leah Sykes: A Florida-based, pop singer whose musical talents have been known to turn heads and entertain the masses. We got the chance to sit down with her and learn what she’s really about. Turns out it’s a lot. See for yourself! Enjoy.
1. Introduce yourself. (Stage name, where you’re from, how long you’ve been making music, etc)?
“My name is Leah and I am originally from Jacksonville, FL. I have been making music for 7 years now. When I was 12, I began playing my own shows, while other kids my age spent their weekends going to birthday parties and theme parks.”
2. Why/how did you get into music?
“I think every musician/singer has this defining moment when they discover their voice or the instrument they play and everything finally clicks. For me, I was in the backseat of my mom’s white minivan at the age of 7 singing “Seven Years” by Norah Jones. I ended up keeping my singing voice to myself for the next 5 years, but when I finally shared it with my mom, it became clear that if I didn’t pursue my love for music, it would go to waste. I saved up enough money and I bought my first guitar from my brother for $50 and the rest is art.”
3. What do you try to get across with your style of music?
“Artistically, I have always described my sound as seductively eery. I want my listeners to feel like they are in a completely dark, black room. They have no concept of anyone else in the room, it’s just my song and their thoughts. Personally, every one of my songs has a character and that character is typically a very strong woman. I never wanted to portray a strong, independent woman in a cheesy light, thus my style has developed. I believe it is possible to sing in an incredibly sultry style, but not be objectified by your own lyrics.”
4. What are your long-term goals for music?
“The long-term goal is to write and perform songs that tell interesting stories that stand the test of time. I dream of playing in front of large crowds that sing along because either the story moves them, encourages them, or helps them express an emotion or thought they weren’t sure how to verbalize themselves. I have found myself, on more than one occasion, thankful for a well-written song, sung by an artist whose lyrics have spoken to me. I want to be a truthful artist that people really feel like they can connect with.”
5. Why would you say you deserve a chance in the industry?
“That’s a good question! There are so many talented and hard working people out there struggling to make it in this industry. I think I deserve a chance because of how brutally aware I am of that fact. If I were to be plucked out of the sea of faces and voices clamoring to be noticed, I don’t think I would ever take it for granted. I recognize that for every voice you hear on the radio there are literally thousands praying someone recognizes their talent. As an artist, I think you have a responsibility to be grateful for and responsible with whatever notoriety your music affords you.”
6. Who are your musical influences?
“I never thought I was that girl who listened to only oldies music because I didn’t realize the music I was listening to was super old. My dad used to play Bread, James Taylor, and Carole King on repeat. I am amazed by Freddie Mercury’s stage presence and Stevie Knicks’ character. Lana Del Rey blows me away with her constant originality and vulnerability. What I admire about my musical influences is that they never once compromised their music for a profit. They let it be exactly what it should be: Art.”
7. Any hobbies?
“I love running, reading, and most recently, I started kickboxing! It’s a made me feel a lot stronger and while I know nothing has changed necessarily, I feel I am more able to protect myself, which in some ways has influenced some of my lyrics.”
8. What makes you unique?
“I don’t know if it is unique or not, but I am obsessed with other cultures. I spent an entire year performing, traveling, and having the chance to interact with many different people. It excites me to think that one day I’d be able to travel the world and meet people whose experiences are different than mine.”
9. What’s next?
“I’m heading to NYC in the fall! I also just got some exciting news this past week that I can’t wait to share!”
10. What life moments have affected your style of music since the beginning?
“It’s crazy, I was just talking to my friend about this the other day. I don’t think I ever recognized the moments when I was younger until I look back and see where I am now. Having listened to James Taylor, Carole King, and Norah Jones growing up, it’s clear that they influenced the WAY I sing. Lyrically, I realized that the books I read as a kid had a huge influence on my writing style. Having been homeschooled, I was able to pick out a lot of the stories that I read. I constantly found myself choosing eery stories like “The Most Dangerous Game” or “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Ironically, I hate horror films because I feel like it takes less work to scare someone with their eyes but it takes a lot of creativity to get in someone’s head and make them feel a specific way. Having loved these types of writings from a very young age, they have influenced my writing, no doubt.”
Listen to Leah Syke’s ‘Cupid’ below via YouTube and follow her socials for more.