Leah Bryant: from creative toddler to singer-songwriter
Leah Bryant is West London’s latest soulful star. Blending powerful ballads with melodic raps, the young singer and songwriter is on the rise. Performing at gigs across London, she has managed to captivate her audience for over 10 years. In 2017, she won the prestigious ‘ICMP/ATLA International Song Contest’, and we’re sure that won’t be her last award. We caught up with Leah and talked about her writing process, the mantra she lives by, what’s next for her career.
What was your first encounter with music?
I’d say my first encounter with music would be when I turned around 6 or 7 and heard Katie Melua’s album “Call Off The Search”, and I was instantly hooked. I quickly learnt the entirety of the album inside and out, and have been obsessed with music ever since
Have you always known what you wanted to do?
Definitely! Even as a toddler I would create songs and melodies in my living room and show them to all of the family. Creating something out of nothing has always been a passion of mine!
What did you grow up listening to? How have those voices inspired and influenced your current sound?
I grew up listening to great artists such as Katie Melua, Amy Winehouse, Natasha Bedingfield and Pink. I was influenced a lot by female empowerment, as well as the art of “not being afraid to say exactly how you feel”.
I mix between genres. I have my more “R&B Acoustic / Melodic Raps” which were definitely influenced by Natasha and Pink, and then my slower, more jazz-infused ballads are influenced by Katie and Amy’s work.
How would you describe your music to somebody who hasn’t heard it?
I would describe my music as relatable and sweet, but honest and raw. My writing is always from the heart, and I feel like that comes across in my music without a doubt.
What drew you to songwriting and performing? Have you always had a natural aptitude for music?
I’ve always studied and focused my time on performing. After receiving my diploma in Popular Music Performance in Vocals at The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance in London at aged 16, I knew that I wanted to continue my studies towards focussing on the more intricate aspects of music. I am currently still studying at ICMP in the second year of my BA Hons Songwriting Degree.
What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
More than anything, I want people to feel like I’m their friend, just having a chat with them about my life, except that the chat has a few chords and the odd musical riff added to it! I like to keep things as comfortable and genuine as possible.
What makes you want to create music?
Creating and writing music is my form of escapism. I can spend hours upon hours writing melodies, discovering new chord progressions, brainstorming lyrical concepts – it’s my time to have people listen to my views and what I view as a young woman, and as some people aren’t fortunate enough to get that opportunity, I think that that in itself is a privilege.
What is your process when writing a song?
I usually begin by finding a concept. Once I’ve discovered what it is that I want to write about, I brainstorm some lyrical ideas and decide what direction I want the song to go in. Then, I’d usually pick up an instrument, whether that be a Guitar, Ukulele or Piano, and I begin finding melodic sequences that I think will match the idea in my head. Mixing the emotions to music and then hearing it out loud really is the greatest thing about being a songwriter!
Do you write about your past experiences?
I write about everything and anything. Whether that be the past, the present, or my predictions for the future; there’s no end or limitations to my song concepts!
Which song was the hardest to write?
The hardest song I’ve written recently would be one called “Somewhere Down The Line”. It was about a past experience that hurt me a lot, and I think between the mixture of getting over what had happened, paired with not truly knowing how I felt until I began the writing process was a hard one for me. But I got a great song out of it in the end!
What mantra do you live by?
“Everything happens for a reason”, I wholeheartedly believe that!
I’m recording my first single currently! Along with my music video being filmed throughout the summer of 2018!
Lastly, where do you dream of being in ten years?
In 10 years, I hope to continue to be creating and performing my music. Whether that be to millions, hundreds, a handful of people, or just my mum and dad. As long as I’m still doing what I love, the happiness will never end.