Interview by Craig Newman
Her fans call her the “The Metal Enya”. Her debut self-released album “Of Earth & Angels” received international critical acclaim, landing her on “The Best Symphonic Metal Album” Metalstorm Awards for 2012. The new symphonic album is to be one of the symphonic metal albums of 2015. Inspired by Celtic and world music influences such as Clannad and Loreena McKennitt to European symphonic and progressive metal, LEAH creates something magical and refreshing in Celtic Metal music.
AAM: Hi Leah, thanks for taking time you talk about your new album and your first album & EP. Your music, album art by Jan Yrlund and photos are fabulous!
L: Hi Craig, thank you 🙂 And I agree, Jan did a great job!
AAM: Two years ago you released you first album Of Earth & Angels on your label Ex Cathedra records your label. Was harder than you expected it to be?
L: No, it was surprisingly simple. Back then I had yet to build an audience, so I started from ground zero. It was as simple as making the album, releasing it, and promoting it through social media.
AAM: On your EP Otherworld, the single “Dreamland” has Eric Peterson from Testament singing with you. Have you and he been friends prior to him singing with you on the song? How or who asked whom to sing on the song?
L: Yes we’ve been friends for over ten years now, and met through mutual friends and past band mates. We ended up jamming together had some cool vibes going musically, so just kept in touch since then. We’ve always wanted to collaborate, so Dreamland was just the beginning of that. I am also featured as female choirs and back-up vocalist in his upcoming Dragonlord album.
AAM: When did you start you music training and your influences?
L: I’ve never had much professional music or vocal training at all. I think that has it’s pros and cons. Musically, I’ve been inspired by all kinds of things; whatever moves me and I’ve not had any bias or judgement towards what resonates with me. On the con side, I have felt limited in scope, knowledge and skill at times for lack of training and exposure. But life is a journey, so there is still time for that 🙂
AAM: When did you focus on the Celtic music and the music from the Middle East that goes back to the Persian Empire and Rome? That is has been influential to other music over the centuries.
L: It was when I was exposed to Loreena McKennitt as a teen that really did it for me. All the sudden I fell in love with any sort of exotic-sounding instrument. There are so many rich timbers, textures and scales that intrigued me which felt much more satisfying than the boring pop and rock music that was on the radio. Also, I have a celtic family heritage, which pulled me in even more.
AAM: When I and others listen to your music it is fresh with visions to be at Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, France and other parts of Europe. Do you read from others who research and write on the Celts, Norseman and the Norman Vikings for your songs?
L: I confess I haven’t read nearly as much as I would like! But I did very much enjoy the book “How the Irish Saved Civilization” in recent years. Fascinating read.
AAM: Did you know the Celts and the Picts, the Romans called them cross a land a bridge to what is called Ireland from Western Europe/ Scandinavia / Russia? And even the origins even go back to south that was called Persian Empire. They also covered the land now known as France, Spain, Brittany and other areas. And a tribe called Scotties from Ireland went to the land that is called Scotland so many of these people mixed together. Okay enough of the short history lesson and back to your music ?
L: Haha, yes history is fascinating. And to learn how many different tribes of people have a common ancestry 🙂
AAM: Kings & Queens is to be on sale on February 2015. It has fifteen songs. Talk about the album cover and the songs?
L: Well the physical CD has 14 songs, which includes an acoustic version of Siúil a Rún and the digital download has the acoustic version plus a bonus rock version of Siúil a Rún. Thematically, the album cover was meant to capture the essence of all the songs in a nutshell. I think once someone takes a few listens to the album and gets to know the songs and lyrics, they will agree the cover is very suited for the theme of the album.
AAM: The first song you released on your site is “Enter the Highlands”. Is that also the song to be released to radio first? And why you chose that song first to be released?
L: I’ve never been concerned much about radio release, mostly because the types of radio stations that play my music aren’t mainstream music, and tend to play whatever they want! And I chose Enter the Highlands because it’s dynamic, upbeat and is longer in length. I wanted to give my listeners something to chew on until the release of the album.
AAM: What label(s) is your new album on?
L: I have partnered with Inner Wound Recordings, a Swedish label, this time 🙂
AAM: Are the Kings on the cover reference to certain Kings?
L: No, not in particular, it’s more a reference to the general theme of the album.
AAM: And how did Timo Somers and Sander Zoer of Delain, and Barend Courbois of Blind Guardian and Vengeance get involved?
L: I met them through Christian Moos of Spacelab Studios, who mixed this album and my last EP. I mentioned to him that I was looking for the right musicians for this album and he had Timo in mind. After that, it was Timo that helped me find the remaining guys who were perfect for this project.
AAM: Who are the other musicians you perform with on this album?
L: There are additional orchestrations and keys by Brent Heflin McHenry and Oliver Philipps.
AAM: The music business is changing in some areas. Your fans are supportive of your music and to contribute to your albums to be made. Have you had offers for major distribution for United States, Canada and to other countries?
L: Yes, the music biz is definitely changing. I still see a major role for labels, especially when it comes to the distribution end of things. That’s why I’ve partnered up with Inner Wound this time around. I knew the workload was going to be more than I could handle on my own. They’re doing a great job at helping me and are a great support.
AAM: Are there plans to release music videos of your songs and shows?
L: I would love to do some music videos, perhaps in the new year. As for touring, I don’t currently have any shows planned, but never say never 🙂
AAM: Will you be inquiring to get your music to be played on movies and television shows such as Vikings and Reign?
L: Well hey, if anyone knows the right people, I hope they pass on my music to the music supervisor!
AAM: The drums and music recorded and mix at Spacelab Studios to Germany and Mastered and Eroc’s Mastering Ranch at Germany. Did you record your vocals there or send the tapes or files from home to mix there?
L: I recorded my vocals locally and sent them to Spacelab in Germany.
AAM: Are you and the band doing shows and if any plans if financially possible to do some shows at United States, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England?
L: There are no current plans. For the time being, my family is my main priority and I consider myself more of a recording artist than a live artist. But I would love to tour one day, so it’s a matter of the right doors opening financially for that to happen.
AAM: You inquiring to get on other bands tour for support?
L: Not yet 🙂 I’m sure when the time comes it will be a great line up!
AAM: Thanks again for your music that others enjoy and to answer the questions?
L: Thank you so much for the questions and I hope everyone loves the new album! Cheers from Canada!
For more info on her music and merchandise go to: