Leah Clark: Destined For The Stars
Leah Clark is a singer-songwriter whose journey into starlight is just beginning. With songs that permeate your surroundings and forge their way into you energetically, enviable Y2K style, and an attitude that's mature beyond her years, Leah Clark is inevitably destined for a life coated with stardust - just wait and watch her rise.
An ethereal beauty, her voice captivates you as sweet melodies traverse their way across outer-worldly instrumentals. She’s got the perfect siren meets Y2K nostalgia vibe about her, culminating in an aesthetic that’s uniquely her own.
Her musical offerings are a wide array of transportive sounds. Wait for the drop at 2:45 in 9th Life; it rushes you suddenly to an entirely new dimension - where for a moment, everything mundane is forgotten, and the purity of the sound makes you feel like anything is possible.
The hazy, melancholic-struck tones that emanate through Not Up To Me take you to a warm summer's day, basking under the shade of a cool tree as the sun runs its way across a lush, green expanse. A song that can comprise a journey within its midst is a song done well, in my opinion, and Clark excels at this.
Loner Energy contains a lyric that some of us will resonate with, and which many of us should take on board: "I don't want to live for anyone else." A reminder of the importance of the self, and how the journey should be ours, imbued and heightened by the presence of others, but ultimately honing in on loving the life we have with ourselves.
I had a chat with Leah to discuss musical inspirations and her sound, and then delving deeper, we covered the purpose of healing, the power of words, and the beauty of authenticity.
Hey Leah! So lovely to chat with you. Let's kick it off with the go-to, what got you into making music?
I never really considered myself a singer but I started learning how to play the guitar in high school and from there I thought it would be cool to learn how to cover songs. Kid Cudi was a huge inspiration for me at the time. The first song I ever learned how to play on guitar was “The Pursuit of Happiness".
Around the same time, I was also getting into writing my poetry, so I thought why not merge the two and write my songs with the chords I already knew how to play. I was very hesitant and shy about recording my own songs for years. I went to college and only had the intention of keeping it as a hobby for myself. Whenever I shared a piece of what I wrote with friends or family they encouraged me to put myself out there, and I feel lucky because I think that push is what I really needed to get started.
Who are your biggest inspirations, musically or otherwise?
My musical inspirations are always changing because I feel like my taste in music changes frequently. Lana del Rey was one of my first music inspirations because I really don’t think there was any female artist at the time who sounded anything like her. Another is Lil Peep because the production of his music was so unique and somewhat dark, but I found it very honest - which I loved. I started freestyling over Lil Peep instrumental songs on YouTube for fun, and that’s what kind of led to me finding other beats to write to vs just using my guitar or another instrument.
I’ve also always been inspired by my own experiences. I’ve journaled my whole life because I felt like writing things down insulated certain memories I never wanted to forget. Whether they are good or bad, in love or going through a heartbreak, I feel like narrating these stories has always made life more cinematic.
What do you have upcoming?
Recently I’ve been more interested in experimenting with different sounds and the production side of things. I’ve been putting more thought into the instrumentals behind a song and experimenting with my piano to learn how to build something from the ground up.
I know that what I have coming up will be very different from what I’ve put out previously, and that’s why I’ve decided not to release my EP. I wanted to start it from scratch. I’ve been writing, rewriting, and putting more thought into every detail of it. I used to walk into a studio with empty verses or a vague idea of what I wanted a song to sound like, but now I’m more focused on finalising my ideas and visions for what I want my new sound to be in 2022 before putting it into action.
Which song means the most to you, and why?
“Not Up To Me“ is the song that means the most to me. I wrote this song while I was still in a seemingly “happy” relationship. I feel like the lyrics in the song manifested into reality because by the time we broke up I had already subconsciously come to terms with how I really felt.
The weird thing is, that the lyrics to this song resonated more with me after the breakup. It was as if I was intuitively anticipating the end before it was even over. I recorded that demo in one take on my ex's computer. I didn’t change a single lyric when I re-recorded it and that never happens. From that moment on, I’ve been more cautious with the words I write because I feel like there’s some power to them.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could live anywhere in the world it would be NYC. I’m from Connecticut and have always been close to the city, so it’s always felt like home to me even though I’ve never lived there. Recently, I’ve been living in Utah, kind of secluded up in the mountains, and although it’s been great for my creativity and I love the open space, I do miss the energy of NYC. I think I’ll definitely end up living there very soon. There’s something incredibly motivating about being in the city that I miss, and I think it’s because the people who are there are very driven and have that hustler mindset.
Life is all about the memories we hold dear, what's your favourite?
One of my favourite memories was when I was in LA recording my song “Where Did You Go“. I was staying at one of my best friend's apartments in Santa Monica, and all of our close friends from my home town were also visiting, so I felt like we were back in our high-school days. I remember playing the first demo for them, and this was one of the first songs I’d professionally recorded and their reaction was something I’ll never forget. One of my best friends got emotional while listening to it and I remember thinking if I can impact one person with this song then THIS is why I’ll keep going.
Where do you see the future of your music going?
I don’t really know where I see my music going in the future but I know I’ll never stop writing. Some days I want to pick up where I left off with my poetry book that I started when I was 15. Some days I want to freestyle over beats on YouTube with no expectation behind anything. I still feel like a beginner and naive in this industry. I don’t think I’ve even cracked the surface. I know I haven’t met the right people that will help advance my career yet and I used to think that was more important than the art itself. But I realised I want to continue making music with no expectation behind anything.
I thought making music was a sacrifice because I put so many hours into it that there would be no point if I didn’t reach a high level of success. I realised that mindset alone would be the only reason I’d ever stop. So, even though I’m not making songs every day I want to still be able to enjoy it when I do. I’m not someone who eats, breathes, or sleeps music. It’s all very stimulating to me. But when the inspiration comes it’s very fleeting, so I always want to make enough time in my life to create freely and act on that impulse.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for being 100% my authentic self. Making music is just a part of my life. I’m also a yoga teacher and currently doing Pilates training. I never hide this part of what I do and I know movement is medicine, so I love sharing that knowledge with my students. I never thought I fitted the perception of what a yoga teacher should be like. I used to feel guilty showing up to a class and guiding people through meditation after I was just at home finding “Trap Beats“ on YouTube. Now, it feels like I’ve already put so much of myself out there that there’s no point in hiding who I am or what I like to do. I hope that encourages other people too; whether they are in finance, fitness, or whatever industry; that they can still have fun and be creative.
I think we are all meant to create in this life. I still feel like my 10-year-old self and want to be that reminder to people that it’s ok to just play and have fun. I never thought I was qualified to make music. I never had guitar lessons or singing lessons and to be honest, I still have no idea what I’m doing, and tell that to people all the time. People come up to me before a yoga class and say they’ve never done it and don’t feel like they should even be there. I always want to create safe spaces for people to move and feel freely - whether that comes from my music or yoga. I spend the majority of my life trying to heal myself, so I want to be able to create a healing space for others. I want to be that mirror for people who feel lost or alone because I’ve been there.
And whether it’s for one hour in my yoga class, or for 3 minutes listening to one of my songs, I want for them - at the end - to feel truly seen.
TRACKS FOR DIFFERENT MOODS:
Hits You In The Heart: