Happy Monday, readers!
Meet our new Music Monday artist this week, Shayna Leigh.
Shayna Leigh is a singer/songwriter from Orlando, Florida that is ready to make a statement with her music. Shayna originally found music through the dramatic arts. Commercial work as a child actor led to musical theatre, where she first discovered singing. She found it to be the most instinctual form of expression she’d ever experienced, and she was hooked.
Her continued evolution found her influenced not only by contemporary hitmakers, but also ageless greats like The Beatles, Carole King, and Laura Nyro. She spent years writing, recording and performing, all in search of the sound that best defined her own artistry.
With the support of these two great producers, “Drive” debuted ahead of Bea Miller’s “Not An Apology.” On July 28, 2015, Shayna released her debut album “Drive” on S-Curve Records/UMG. The album includes ten tracks produced and co-written by Multi Platinum & Multi Grammy Award Winning Record Producer Michael Mangini (Joss Stone, Diane Birch), and Emmy Award Winning, Multi-Platinum Songwriter and Producer Peter Zizzo (Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Carlton).
“Drive” is the musical and emotional culmination for Shayna, derived from years of performing, writing and recording, along with all of the lessons she has learned along the way. With a voice that is uniquely her own, Shayna’s music tells stories that are undeniably universal. She believes that human beings are more the same than they are different. She wants her music to reflect that camaraderie. Her goal is simply to connect. To Shayna, the magic of making music is to remind listeners that they’re all in this together.
CelebSecrets4U caught up with Shayna Leigh recently to talk all things music! In our interview, the Orlando native opened up about her debut album Drive (out now), the music video for her single “Typhoon,” where she draws her inspiration from, and her obsession with TV. She even shares some cool fun facts about herself — make sure to read the Q&A below!
For more information on Shayna Leigh, visit her official website at http://www.shaynaleigh.com.
CS4U: Your debut album “Drive” is about finding your place in the world especially once school comes to an end. If there’s one thing you could tell seniors in college about life after graduation, what would it be?
Shayna Leigh:: “I have SO much I would like to tell them! I think the biggest thing for me would be that everything is going to be OK. I remember during and after college I was SO worried about the future, about attaining “success” as quickly as possible. What I have learned is that living your life is the most important thing. Everything else will come when it’s time.”
CS4U: You just released your music video for your single “Typhoon.” You mentioned in a few interviews that the song is a love story, but you wanted it to be more than just love between a man and a woman. In the music video, it’s about a man and a woman so can you explain why you decided to go in that direction?
Shayna Leigh: “This is such a good question! Though “Typhoon” is much more than a traditional love song to me, it is the closest thing I have to a love song, so I did want to take this opportunity to tell this type of story. Also, I fell in love with the layered storyline of the video, the role his love of music and her love of painting played in bringing them together.”
CS4U: Your goal is to write music that shows people how truly connected they are. In light of recent events, what do you think artists can do to bring people together?
Shayna Leigh: “I think artists are in a unique position because they have a platform from which to speak and people will hear them. I think it’s important to think about the kind of influence you want to have in the world and start from there, as an artist but more importantly as a person. Tell your truth. For me…I believe we have all been impacted by recent events and though we can’t change the world in a day, if each of us focuses on small acts of kindness and generosity, then perhaps change can occur over our lifetime, bit by bit. Together we can have a large impact.”
CS4U: Is there anything you learned about yourself while writing this album?
Shayna Leigh: “I’ve worked on a good bit of music in my life so far. What I have found is that I always do a lot of growing up and a lot of learning in the process. What I’ve realized this time is that I am a lot stronger than I used to be and that the process of creation doesn’t have to be difficult and fraught with stress and anxiety. It can actually feel easy. Of course there are ups and downs, but there can be more ups than downs and less second guessing. It can feel organic. It can just flow.”
CS4U: You posted a photo on Twitter of you reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and taking notes. Do you draw inspiration from books, TV shows or certain people?
Shayna Leigh: “I am INCREDIBLY influenced by the books I read. “Big Magic“ for starters opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at creativity. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone creating anything or anyone dealing with someone creating anything. (Also I am a HUGE Cheryl Strayed fan…) Honestly, these books have helped me become the person that I am. I couldn’t keep them out of my music if I tried. (In fact, I have a notebook of quotes from books I’ve read that just became the jumping off point for a new song.)”
CS4U: Speaking of TV shows, is there anything on TV right now that you’re currently obsessed with?
Shayna Leigh: “I LOVE TV. I love it far too much actually. I have been very into The Walking Dead lately (though I am a little bit behind so no spoilers please!) I also just watched the first season of True Detective (which was incredible!) My taste kind of runs the gambit, from Shameless to The Leftovers to How to Get Away with Murder. TV is my favorite way to unwind by myself.”
CS4U: You live in New York City. What are some of your favorite spots around the city and what does a typical day look like for you?
Shayna Leigh: “A typical day for me varies one day to the next, which is my favorite thing about my life. I am always on my feet going from one appointment, meeting, session or day job to the next. My hours are pretty long, and this life is perhaps not for the faint of heart (or one who prefers a consistent schedule) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My absolute favorite spot in the city is my apartment.”
CS4U: You recently traveled to Buenos Aires. Why there? What did you do? What did you learn from that amazing experience?
Shayna Leigh: “I spent time in Buenos Aires as well as Patagonia and Montevideo with a couple of friends. I did not personally choose these destinations. Last year we went to Thailand and we’re planning to take annual trips together for as long as we can swing it. I have become incredibly interested in travelling of late; I want to see as much of the world as I can. I guess that’s something I’ve learned – you have to take all the opportunities you can to LIVE- whatever that means for you. For me, it includes going on adventures. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do so.”
CS4U: Your album is called “Drive,” so if you could drive anywhere right now where would it be and why?
Shayna Leigh: “The most hilarious thing about my album being called “Drive” is that I actually really dislike driving. I am a much more amenable passenger! I love the metaphor though. In any case, if I could RIDE anywhere, I’m not sure where I would go but it would be in the direction of nature. I love my concrete jungle (NYC) but sometimes I can’t help but miss trees. Wherever the trees are, that’s where I’d go.”
CS4U: You also have a song called “Dirty Laundry.” Do you have any kind of deal breaker when it comes to guys?
Shayna Leigh: “Well, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have some deal breakers ☺ My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I don’t think I could be with someone who wasn’t family oriented, who didn’t want to be a part of my family. Another deal breaker is a sense of humor. I fancy myself pretty funny. I don’t think I could be with someone who didn’t find me at least slightly amusing and who didn’t have a sense of humor about life. If it’s not funny, what is it?”
CS4U: Since we are CelebSecrets4U, can you tell us a secret about yourself that your fans may not know?
Shayna Leigh: “One of my funnest facts is that for a brief moment I wanted to be in the WNBA. I was about 4’8’’ and decided I should be a basketball player. I also was an ENORMOUS Penny Hardaway fan and as my sister recently reminded me, I used to spend my down time drawing sketches (bad ones) of basketball players. I clearly lost this passion somewhere down the line, though I went to my first game in like 10 years last week!”