Leah is a testament that Reggae knows no colors or boundaries. Blessed with the beauty of a model at home in Amsterdam the soothing mellow vibes of Reggae took root in her soul. She spends most of her days writing and singing music as she hones her distinctive sound. A visit to the island nation of Jamaica only fueled her love of Reggae Music. Leah also provides backing vocals when not singing for herself. Right now she’s working on her debut album as she tries to spread that “feel good Irie Vibes”!
Tell our readers a bit about yourself
I’m a Reggae singer and songwriter from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I perform my songs with a band and sing with various sound systems. I also do backing vocals for several artists simply because I love finding harmony. I used to build all my own riddims but lately I’ve been getting to know many producers who are much better at it than me… Right now I am working on brand new songs for my first full-length album.
“All I wanna be is a good MC, and if you wanna see me I can travel overseas…
All I wanna do is focus on the good, forget about the wicked and forget about the fools…
All I wanna do is focus on the youth, forget about the bitter and forget about the rude…
And don’t forget yuh roots!”
Where are you from?
Born & raised in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands (Europe)
How would you describe your music?
“Roots Reggae Dancehall Dub” Conscious lyrics and irie riddims!
How did you get started in music?
I have been singing, playing piano and guitar since I was a youth. As a teenager I started traveling the world as a model, taking my guitar almost everywhere. Spent pretty much all my free time in between the castings and shoots on playing guitar, writing songs and listening to Reggae. And going through record stores finding Reggae CD’s. It really kept me strong and positive in this fashion business where you get lonely quite easily. Then I bought a laptop and started recording my songs. I enjoyed this so much that when I was back home in Amsterdam again, I decided to invest in a good desktop computer with everything I needed to record ‘proper’ music. Then (in 2005) I got very lucky: my modeling work took me to the island of my dreams… Jamaica! During and after my trip my love for Reggae turned into a passion. Jamaica made me feel like it was okay to be as obsessed with Reggae (& the whole culture around it) as I was and still am. After my trip to Jamaica I wrote and recorded many more songs and learnt even more about Reggae and its history, and in the beginning of 2010 I decided to give it a shot and put my music online. Didn’t expect it to go so well; to make so many connections with other artists/producers and to be able to perform my own song on stage within that year… I can say I am truly living my dream and my mission ain’t over yet. Onward, forward!
Tell us about your song on the “Kindah” collective
My song on the Kindah collective is called ‘Teng Jam.’ I produced the music myself inspired on the well known Sleng Teng riddim. I love that old-school dancehall style and tried to reflect that in this song. With the lyrics I kind of introduce myself and what I’m about, like “All I wanna be is a good MC / All I wanna do is focus on the youth”. It’s a song that will make you dance & I hope realize there is no need to be wicked, foolish, bitter nor rude and just enjoy the music in the dancehall!
How did your environment growing up influence your music and style?
My mom plays piano and my dad guitar so we always had a piano and guitars at home when I was growing up. I loved playing classical music on the piano, especially Mozart. On the guitar I started with playing songs by my first two favorite bands No Doubt and Sublime. Got into Roots Reggae soon after that. My older brother has always been a big Reggae fan and plays bass and has influenced me very much. We used to jam a lot together and in bands, Reggae music only. My best friend in high school liked it as well, all we would talk about was music and artists and we went to every Reggae event in town. Also, I grew up in a very multi-cultural area of Amsterdam (called the ‘Bijlmer’) where I got exposed to many kinds of music from all over the world at a young age, and Reggae always made me dance the most.
What/Who inspires you?
Life, Love & Music! The people around me. The love I feel. Things I hear and read. And I get inspired a lot by going to Reggae concerts and parties. Feeling those irie vibes and hearing the music and lyrics really inspires me to keep on trying my best to spread love and positivity. Because I can see it brings people together and there is so much peace and harmony. It can really help people when the times are tough.
What do you want to be remembered for? What will your legacy be?
I would like to help to introduce Reggae to even more people. Make it grow! Show people it’s a world-wide thing, no matter where you come from: you can play it, yet stay true to the Roots from Jamaica.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Still performing my music I hope! Maybe I will also be producing for others. But of course 10 years is quite a long time, anything can happen. I am quite sure I will stick to Reggae though, in any of its forms; ska, rocksteady, dub, rubadub, dancehall etc.
What can we expect from you in 2012?
A lot of fresh music! I’m working on various projects and my first full-length album which hopefully will be released at the end of 2011/beginning 2012. I’ve also been involved in several charity projects which I am excited about: I love this chance to help the less fortunate with music. Also I am working on videos. And there is a possibility I will go on tour abroad, but I can’t say much about it yet, just… stay tuned! 😉
ONE L♥VE keep it irie 🙂