It’s time to put singer-songwriter Leah Capelle on your radar. Her latest single, “know me better,” shows off her immense skills as not only a writer, but an artist, too. We got the chance to chat with Leah about all things music and the feels that come with it. Read on for more about this rising alt star.
You’ve attended many different music programs and schools. How do you think that has shaped who you are now?
Studying music from an academic perspective was a game-changer for me. I had always taken music lessons and sung in choirs when I was young, but my one year at Berklee College of Music taught me more about theory in a short time than I had ever imagined. Then, by transitioning into Music Business at USC’s Thornton School of Music, I now have a much more well-rounded understanding of this industry and my place in it. I now know that I want to be at the creative and business helm of my career — and feel that I have the tools to do so! By the time I graduated USC, I was very ready to be done with school. Being away is different, but different in a good way – I now have so much more time to focus on my art and my own individual goals.
What can listeners expect from your first album, both sonically and lyrically?
Sonically, it’s very diverse — a pretty stark contrast of alternative rock, danceable electronic pop and intimate folk all bundled together in one album. The record is almost genre-less in that way. Yet, all of these very different vibes all represent parts of my personality and artistry that are each authentic in their own way. Lyrically, the album is thematic — it’s a true story of how I lost myself, looked for happiness in painful places, hurt the ones I loved, got my heart broken, grew up, fell down, changed, and healed. It’s been an absolutely cathartic journey to write and produce this record and I can’t even express how excited I am to start sharing this music with the world.
You’ve said that you question the purpose of music in society. Why do you think it is that you create music?
I think it’s important for songwriters and artists to consider the value of the platform we build to promote our music and be able to genuinely use that platform for the greater good. We have a unique opportunity to make a difference by speaking out on issues that we are passionate about and make our voices heard. I believe wholeheartedly that art is the purest emotional outlet for any human being. Whether as music, visual media, fine art, poetry, acting, etc. It connects us on a spiritual level, and that is a beautiful, special thing. I create music as an outlet to process my own story, as an exercise in vulnerability and healing. I release that music in the hopes that my words can mean something to someone, somewhere in this beautiful, broken world.
Your latest single, “know me better,” is truly a wonderful breakup song. What is it like to be getting such a great response for something that definitely hurt? Has anyone told you they’ve related to it?
Thank you so much for saying that. It’s an incredible feeling, honestly. This song was written in my kitchen and produced over the course of a year, and it premiered on NYLON magazine and is now being streamed all over the entire planet. This song wore many different faces all the way up until the day of release — so getting so much positive feedback is, if anything, a confirmation that we took the right direction to impact anyone listening. I’ve already had at least a dozen people reach out to me directly saying that “know me better” hit them right in their ~feelings~ which in turn hit me in MY ~feelings~ and now we’re all just one big smushy emotional family.
If you could perform at any venue, where would you want to play?
Oh my — I don’t even know how to answer that. There are so many incredible venues and festivals on this planet that I want to perform at someday. The big dream would be Madison Square Garden in New York City and The Forum in Los Angeles — but those dreams are a tad too far down the pipeline to see clearly at this point.
What is your songwriting process like? Are any of your songs created in a calculated way or is it more about writing down your feelings?
I get asked this question a lot, and truly it changes all the time. I can say that I write from my gut — from the core of my being — and I very rarely go back and revise lyrics once I think the song is finished. I write my songs in under an hour if I’m really in the zone. Though some have taken me years to finish. Sometimes I start with a melody or part on an instrument and write lyrics on top of that. Sometimes I have a melody or phrase circling around in my head and write from there without an instrument. Sometimes I write multiple songs in a day, sometimes I go weeks without writing anything. When the muse arrives, I write — nothing is ever calculated or planned.
If you could collaborate with any artist on a song, who would it be?
Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Big Red Machine, Volcano Choir). He has been my favorite artist for a decade now, and I love everything he does. I really admire the way he writes and produces — it’s all very free-flowing and experimental, yet perfectly impactful in its eccentricities. Justin, if you’re reading this, hit me up man! Let’s make some emotional magic!
Any tour dates coming up we should look out for?
Currently planning some tour dates for 2020. But in the meantime, I’ll be performing a solo set at The Hotel Cafe (Main Stage) with a bunch of other amazing LA based artists on November 14. Definitely stay tuned for more shows coming up!
Keep of with Leah on her socials and listen to “know me better” HERE: