An Interview With The Lovely and Talented Singer-Songwriter, SHAYNA LEIGH On Her Debut Album, “Drive” And More!
Posted On 07 Oct 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Avril Lavigne, Bea Miller, Beatles, Carole King, Crash, Diane Burch, Drive, Freddie Mercury, Goodbye July, Ingrid Michaelson, Joss Stone, Kelly Clarkson, Last Criminal, Laura Nyro, Michael Mangini, Not An Apology, Now Thing, Peter Zizzo, Queen, Sara Bareilles, Shayna Leigh, Universal Music Group, Vanessa Carlton
Shayna Leigh recently released her debut album, “Drive,” through Universal Music Group. The album features songs produced by and co-written by Multi Platinum & Multi Grammy Award Winning Record Producer Michael Mangini (Joss Stone, Diane Burch), as well as 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.
Learn more in the following All Access interview with Shayna!
Thanks for your time today, Shayna! What else do you have on tap today besides this interview? Has it been a pretty busy summer for you?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! Everyday for me is different! I try to sing for an hour or two every day. Then I do work- emails, social media and I have a “survival job” that I go to during the week. I’m also going back into the studio this week, which is exciting, so I’ve gotta get focused for that!
Growing up, did you always want to be a performer? Can you remember the moment when you decided to pursue music full-time?
I think deciding to be a drama major in college was a big turning point for me. Up until that time, I had been pretty focused on academics in addition to writing music and acting. I just decided that if I was going to go for it, I should really go for it! I’ve never had a solid backup plan. I’ve always figured that the road I am on will lead me to somewhere new and that’s how my life would evolve. So I suppose that’s what I’ve done.
Congrats on recently putting out your debut album, “Drive”! What does that feel like to finally have your music out for everyone to hear?
Releasing this album has been such a long time coming for me. I am most definitely incredibly excited and proud. It’s always a little nerve wracking giving your work over to the world- you know that people will inevitably have opinions and they may not be positive, but the risk is totally worth it. The point of creating anything, in my opinion, is to share it, to let it be a part of the world. I feel lucky to participate.
Can you talk about working with the incredible writers and producers on “Drive”? How did those relationships come to be?
Almost all of the album was co-written and produced by Michael Mangini and Peter Zizzo, who are basically award winning, super talented hilarious guys who I have been lucky enough to work with over the past year.
In a nutshell, I was introduced to Michael who then introduced me to Peter, and we decided to do a song or two together. What we ended up with was “Drive” and then “Crash” and “Last Criminal.” They really understood who I am as an artist (maybe even more than I did at the time) and helped me execute that in a way that was fun, creative, challenging at times, and also incredibly rewarding. So we decided to do an album!
What songs on “Drive” are you particularly proud of? Which ones are you really excited to perform live?
My favorite song to perform live is “Drive” – I think it’s because it was the first song we wrote off of the album, and it feels like the starting point for the entire experience in a way. Also it’s the song I’ve been singing the longest, so there’s a comfort level there. As for the new songs, I am excited about all of them (I love adding to a set!), but especially “Goodbye July,” which has such a different feel from anything I’ve ever done before, and “Now Thing” because it’s just so fun to sing!
I understand that you are musically inspired by the lessons you’ve learned in life. Can you recall a moment in particular that was really inspirational to you?
College was a difficult time for me. I was in a competitive musical theatre program and had developed some health problems (basically my adrenal gland and thyroid shut down and I was always fatigued and completely depleted). I feel like I lost who I was, I lost who I wanted to be. It took me a long time to get back to myself. That journey is a lot of what the song “Drive” is about.
What artists have consistently inspired you? Who would be your dream collaboration partner?
I’ve always been inspired by the classics, the music I was raised on- the Beatles, Carole King, Laura Nyro, Queen (if I could meet anyone, dead or alive, Freddie Mercury might be my choice). More recently, I love Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles and Kelly Clarkson (strong women who are totally unique and unapologetic for who they are). I don’t know who my dream collaborator would be. Honestly, I am just astonished by talent. I’ll collaborate with just about anyone!
In my wildest dreams, I’d love for my music to make someone feel less alone and more understood, but truthfully, it would mean the world to me if my music made someone feel something. I look at the way music has impacted my life, the way certain songs have become associated with experiences and people and moments, and I just would love to be a part of that for someone else. That would mean everything to me.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
You know, it’s very interesting for me, giving these interviews. I love making music, and it is my absolute dream to be a part of the world of music, but I am mostly just a normal person with opinions and stories, good days and bad ones. I think there’s an idea in this world that you have to be “special” to succeed, to go after your dreams.. But I look around me and I see tons of people with dreams and goals and talents that are worth sharing if that’s what they want. I guess what I am trying to say is that my biggest hope is that I can somehow prove that you can be successful and a normal, regular person. Because honestly, if I can do this, anyone can!