"My description of me would be grit and glamour, I always take my heart to paper, and have a Tabasco running through my veins" We chat with Leah Turner
With a new single out after a couple of years away we thought it was about time we caught up with Leah Turner to find out where she's been, what she's been up to, and what we can expect next.
Hey Leah, how the heck are you?
Hey there ! I am great. Excited to sit down and talk about music.
What have you been up to today, and where are you right now?
Well, I had a writing session today, then layed by the pool for a little, trying to get some color for the CMT awards and I am currently sitting on my patio drinking a vodka soda! Lol..
That sounds great, I'm jealous! Can you tell us a bit about you, what do you do to relax?
Let’s see where do I start. I’m from the desert in Southern California. Raised my a champion cowboy, I’m ½ Latina. My description of me would be grit and glamour, I always take my heart to paper, and have a Tabasco running through my veins. The way I relax, because I'm always on the go and my mind is always running, the first 15 minutes of my morning I drink coffee ( don’t talk to me before a sip of coffee) and say out loud all the things I am grateful for. I say affirmations out loud to just get my mind set right for the day! I try and do that do every night before bed. Like .. thank you Lord for this, that and the other. It just starts and end the day with gratefulness.
Tell us the story about Kenny Loggins, I’ve been reading your Wikipedia page so I hope it’s true…
Hahahahah! Oh it’s so TRUE. Well growing up in Cali I went to college in Santa Bárbara, I was going to be a lawyer, that lasted two seconds! All my classes started filling up with the arts, like for instance a songwriting class, where the final was to write a song, and whatever song got chosen you would sing for a celebrity guest. That happened to be Kenny Loggins, because he has a place in the town. My song got picked, I sang, and he said I’m not telling you to drop out of school, but I’m telling you to pack your bags and pursue music. Two weeks later, called mom and dad and said I’m doing music!!! They said finally … sent the truck up and moved me to LA, which is where my musical journey began.
I'm glad that's a true story because it's a good one! What’s the road been like for where you’ve got to right now?
Oh wow … how long you got!? It’s been amazing and trying. I moved to Nashville in 2014, got a record deal and a publishing deal. Put out my first single 'Take the Keys', co-written by Jesse Frasure and Cary Barlowe. It went up the charts and has given me a career for the last four years.
I toured with all the people I grew up listening to, like Brad Paisley, Rascal Flats, Kenny Chesney, toured with people I listen to now like Jake Owen, Cole Swindell, Lo Cash and more, but during that time I lost my record deal, a year later lost my publishing deal and then was just like what the hell do I do next! My agent at WME kept me on the road for a while, but without new music, you can only do so much, and without funds, you can’t make new music, so was off the road for a while. I cleaned houses, walked dogs, was an assistant and a nanny just to make ends meet and allow me to stay in this music game. I took every meeting that would meet with me, knocked on every door and got a lot of "no’s", "what do you currently have going on right now", that sort of thing. I was kinda stuck in a catch 22. Then about eight months ago I got my "YES" with a new management team, and here we are putting out a new single 'Blah blah blah' and ready to get back in that saddle again!
OK, so lots has been going on, kinda makes this question irrelvant but I'll plough on anyway. Your last release was in 2017, what have you been up to since?
I have been writing writing writing, working on myself and just really trusting, that I was put here to do this dream.
When can we expect to hear some new music from you? And what can you tell us about it?
Well my new single is just out, which is really exciting but also scary too... The single comes out of a breakup, I had had my fair share of empty promises and FULL glasses of wine, that I finally just said .. all I’m hearing is your blah blah blah, and so I took my heart to paper and wrote it.
You’ve also written for other people, do you approach that differently to writing your own songs?
Absolutely, you are there to tell their story, get in their skin and pull emotions out of them. It’s not about you, it’s about their story!
What does a normal day look like for you?
Coffee.. thank you’s, let my English bulldog Diesel out, gym, and then either writing, studio or meetings. Weekends it’s girl time... I’m surrounded by such amazing women so we just band together and make memories
What are you up to for the rest of 2019?
Putting this single out and watching it snow ball into amazing opportunities that God has already set up !
You’re from California originally, what can you tell me about your hometown?
I grew up on a dirt road in the mountains of southern Cali, in a 900 sq foot home. We had seven horses, a goat named Poppy and all these dang chickens! People always think there isn’t country in Cali and I'm like ummmmm … it’s the Wild West, just call us rednecks in flip flops! On the weekend dad, mom and I were off chasing whatever rodeo dad was roping in!
What was your first experience of Nashville when you moved there?
I knew one person.. which in turn introduced me to a songwriter named Phil Barton, me and Diésel moved in and slept on an air mattress for about six months. I met the most amazing songwriters and really became immersed in the community of Nashville.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in general at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
Yes there is definitely a lot of talk about it, and it is a real thing! I’m so grateful that it’s being talked about and ideas are coming to take action on how to change it. I think it should always be about the music, and the best song wins, not because we are male or female, but we as women need our songs to be given that chance. Like I mentioned before I am surrounded by so many great women, that are female artists that I get to call friends like Mickey Guyton, Tara Thompson, Cassadee Pope, and Brooke Eden just to name a few. Leslie Fram at CMT and what she does with Change the Conversation, Elaina Smith with NashFM and her podcast “Women Want To Hear Women”. Women do wanna hear women and women do like women and when we link arms we are unstoppable. I’m glad it’s a topic of conversation. May the best song win and all songs be given an equal chance!
What kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?
It’s all over the place. Lizzo, Tupac, Sinatra, George Strait, Garth, Brooks and Dunn, old school R&B, Shania, Reba... really depends the mood that I'm in!
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Ingrid Andress her song 'Both' it’s been on repeat... it’s honestly written and I have listened to it 900 times…
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Where do I see myself in five years...
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Hot, silent, and with coconut creamer.
To find out more about Leah you can check out her website and follow her on social media.