Leah Turner is a “little piece of California country.” She might say that of her music, but it also applies to her as a person as well. Leah was an only child raised on real western country music in California by her mother and father, who was a cowboy. She went to school in Santa Barbara, where she took a songwriting class. As a project, the students each had to write a song, perform it, and whoever got picked would sing in front of a celebrity guest, which was Kenny Loggins. After she performed, Loggins told Leah “I’m not telling you to drop out of school, but I am telling you to pack your bags and move to the next closest place for music, which is Los Angeles.”
Soon enough, Leah decided that Nashville, Tennessee was the place for her. After writing with a couple of people around town, she wasn’t trying to force rock and pop writers to write country songs. It came naturally. After visiting Nashville a few times, Leah prayed for a sign that she was meant to live there. “I said, ‘Lord, I really feel like I need to be [in Nashville] but I don’t want to leave my mom and dad. I need a sign because I’m uprooting everything.’” The next day she got an email and a phone call from some songwriters in town, Victoria Shaw and Kris Bergsnes. The were checking in one her to see how she was doing and when she was planning on coming back. This being the sign that Leah was looking for, she moved to Nashville and within the first three months that she was in town, she got signed to a label. Leah laughed, “If that’s not God-speed, I don’t know what is.”
While here, Leah sat down with Niko Moon and Tim Nicholls and wrote her new single “Cowboy’s Love.” She felt like her previous music had lost some of the country side of herself so Leah was itching to bring that back into her music. The song itself was largely inspired by her cowboy father. Although the song’s lyrics are about a relationship, it started there. “A girl’s first love is their father. The teach you how to be loved and how to love,” Leah told us, “That’s the first love I had ever felt. My father is strong and tender and will stand by you and love you through it.”
Even though the song isn’t about her father, he definitely played a huge role in the music video. “It was shot at my dad’s roping partner’s house, which is where we keep our horses and our cattle. My dad even had a little cameo at the end of the music video by the bonfire!” Leah said. Not only that, but his F-350 truck, his championship saddle, and one of his championship belt buckles were featured in the video as well.
Even though Leah will always stick to her roots, she also has a lot of other influences that inspire her bring a little something extra to her music. Leah said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of P!NK. What I love about her is that she’s sassy but not angry. She’s down to earth and not afraid of being a girl. I love the way that she’s very smart in her ‘FU.’ You’re like ‘oh! I’m picking up what you’re putting down and I like it.’ That and of course Adele because she has so much soul. Miranda [Lambert]’s always amazing. She’s always a badass. For me, I really just love George Strait and Eric Church. And TuPac.”
As for writing songs herself, Leah tells us that she will “always try to put myself in the moment when the song or melody came to me and really feel what I was feeling in the moment so that the emotion really comes across in the studio.”
But she also wants to make sure that her fans can always relate and use the emotion in her songs to feel the emotion themselves. “I just hope to be that soundtrack to people that they can pull from what I’ve gone through and what I’ve written through and keep them in a moment, pull them out of a moment, or help them through that moment.”
Check out the music video for “Cowboy’s Love” below.
Story Credit: Kaitlyn Midgett; Reporting Credit: Acacia Evans