Who ya doing it for?

bluebirdAs I am hours away from playing my first slot at the famous Bluebird Cafe (which is sold out!!!),  I am going to ask myself, and my musician readers, a really important question.  Who are we doing this for? Why do we make music and when we are performing, where is our head?  I believe when performing and marketing and anything musical, our fans should be kept in mind.  But I want to pose a thought to each performing artist out there.  And I realized this while watching a talented man with just himself and his guitar perform last week.  You have to come to the point as an artist where you don’t wholeheartedly “do what you do” for other people.  While the two girls in front of me rattled on about their lives and people were laughing it up during a contemplative song by the artist, I had this realization.  He was in his zone, living in the moment, because he does it for himself and seemed to exude a genuine love for what he did.  It’s almost as you have to forget what the other people are doing, saying, thinking or that they may not even like what you sing and play.  Deep down, it has to be in you to perform the best that you can whether there are 2 people listening or thousands of screaming fans.

The music should be sewn inside your heart and the will to find joy no matter the setting.  Come to think of it, performing onstage is a lot like life.  Despite the storms, the frustrations, the struggles or what it took to get you there, joy can’t be based on circumstances.  So as we live our lives, may we carry our fire inside, and find joy in the beauty of the gift as opposed to seeking the recognition that may come along with the gift.

Keep giving it your all and putting your heart into it 🙂



Something every musician must have

street performere

Every serious musician, in some form or fashion, dreams of success, whether it’s being paid for their craft or fame that is far reaching and iconic.  Success is defined in various ways across a large spectrum, and they tell you to define that early in your career what that looks like for you. That’s not my point here, but that is just where we begin.

Let’s talk about success in terms of non-monetary terms for a moment.  Let’s view success in terms of setting goals and achieving them one at a time.  Interestingly, success is not one moment or one mountaintop goal achieved.  Take it a step further and I say success is not an isolated event.  Rather, it is a culmination of many years of hard work peppered with moments of trying, doubting, finding a way and refusing to give up.  And even more momentous is that success is not isolated to an individual, despite the emphasis we place on one person.  If success was dependent on and resulting from one person, I think achievements could be made much faster without other factors involved.  I am nothing without the countless people who paid for my music lessons, friends and family who encouraged me along the way, people who told me not to quit, and those who held my hands when I felt lost and let me cry on their shoulders.

When you reach career milestone goals like playing at some amazing venue, selling out a show, or gaining traction in some way, don’t forget to remind yourself of one thing.  Repeat after me-“This moment is not just for myself.”  This moment is for all of them out there- all of you who were cheerleading, encouraging, hugging, praying, telling us not to quit and to stay the course.  We musicians are merely the vessels, the channels through which the gift comes.  It is not without the shoulders of giants that we are carried throughout all of our creative phases.

Dear artists and musicians of the world, please consider a new vision.  May we, especially musicians, learn to leave ego at the door.  If used properly, success can humble us instead of puffing up our vanity about how great we are to the world around us.  We should view it as giving back the gift to the world around us.  Something every musician should carry in their gear case….  Thankfulness for the gift and the ability to use it.


Historic Rock Castle this past Saturday


This past Saturday I had the pleasure of playing outside at Historic Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  It was a lovely Saturday evening and a delightful and attentive crowd.  There were various other talented songwriters who played throughout the night to a welcoming crowd.  Sara Beth Gideon, the Executive Director was welcoming and wonderful to all the artists while her fiance worked awesome sound for all of us.  It is much appreciated by artists when the sound system is up and running and ready for the artists.  Many thanks for that Rock Castle!  At one point during my set, I was told that 8 or more deer were bouncing through the brush in the field behind me as well as some bucks who stopped to listen for awhile.  Let’s hope they liked what they heard- just call me the deer whisperer.  Ohhh, new band name?  Anyways, it was a nice gig to welcome the month of August in Tennessee!

Feel free to visit here and read more about Rock Castle and all the great events they host!  Have a lovely Monday and get outside with yourselves!


The Release of my EP, Pursuit!


Album artwork by Casey McBride at TriangleCreativeGroup.com

I present you with my musical baby…. My EP titled Pursuit.  The title came from my feeling that all of us are in pursuit of something whether it be the pursuit of nature, of love, of our dreams and/or spiritual endeavors.  We are all ultimately moving toward something.

Working carefully for six months to create, write and finalize this project makes me feel really thankful to have completed such a task.  I can’t even say it was only a six month project since so much has gone into the creation of this all the way back to my first piano lesson at age 6.  Creativity is a process.  Everything we do builds on the past and the decisions we have made along the way.

My EP Pursuit has recently been released, and I feel like I have learned so much throughout that process.  Putting time, effort and emotion into something really taught me how to give even when it gets difficult.  Throughout it all, I had the most awesome producer, Michael Estok at Vibe Dial Studios.  He knew when to push me and he knew when to let me creatively go alone ahead.  He also knew when I was hangry and needed to take a break for some sustenance ha.

All of that aside, I am so blessed to present you with my debut EP.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to give it a listen at both of the links below.  Feel free to share as well!



I am starting to book shows and small tour dates in 2014.  If you know of anyone who might want to host a house show or just have any insight into a great venue in a particular area, feel free to send me an email with information.  Or even just email and say hey, hi and howdy!


I feel so blessed to have encouragement from readers, listeners, friends and family all over the country and great big world.  Thank you all so much for being there and being the supportive shoulders for me to stand on.  I did not create this all on my own.  Thanks to each and every one for the roles you have played in making this happen.

Love to you,


The need to be seen and the gift of getting lost


Photo Courtesy:  State Library of New South Wales flickrstream I do not condone the usage of cigarettes in this picture… ha.

Each of us is a cog in the wheel of the great symphony of mankind.  Our voices blend in cadences and sometimes result in dissonance.  We all want to be seen, heard, appreciated, understood and loved.  We vocalize thoughts for some validation and eat heaping platefuls of both negative and positive energy from social media feeds daily.  A desire to be seen is something we feast upon.  But is being seen really what it’s cracked up to be?

Do I really want others eyes upon me continually?  We musicians tend to strive for recognition as if our art is only validated through more and more exposure.  But recognition comes with a high price on the pathway to fame.  Perhaps we are diseased with a weight of self.  Look at me, adore me, follow me, share my stuff, like me, love me, befriend me, idolize me.  Is that really what we want?  If I should never be able to get lost, disappear from the world for a day and run free, my soul would suffocate.  I sometimes pity the creative people, especially high-profile artists, in this world. They have intense pressure put on them to daily perform on a level of perfection.  I pity their inability to quietly slip into the unknown to observe, write, think and be.  It isn’t natural to think that someone can be switched on that often.  True art needs a cultivation period.  To get lost in the woods for a day is a blessing taken for granted.  To latch the door and head outside and feel the ground beneath our toes is something we have yet to do because we’re far to busy every day.  To learn how to be still and know that He is, and that we are not, is an aspect of life we too often choke out.  We let the “cares and the deceitfulness of riches” suffocate our hearts and smother our souls.   And I must ask myself why I let my soul wither away from malnourishment of good things and a lack of breath.  If breathing is important for physical life, perhaps it is important for me mentally and even spiritually.  Take some time to really meditate on the blessings and your purpose, vision and goals in life.  Don’t half-heartedly bounce from activity to activity without really comprehending and assessing the significance of each thing you do and whether it draws you closer to your Maker or farther away.

To the artists… don’t let recognition or lack thereof be your ultimate goal.  Are you any less of an artist because only two people hear you or 2 million?  Not in the least.  Keep sharing your message with the world and if you are genuinely in line with your truest self, practicing what you say, people will listen and take it upon themselves to also share your message.

Ponder the reason why you do what you do.  What is your purpose in pursuit?  Steeping in your ultimate goals can help you eliminate daily tasks or events that are merely cluttering your time and mind.


Producing over consuming


Photo Courtesy:  Smithsonian Institution

To be a great artist, you must be a producer, not a consumer.  You have to make time to produce… stuff people will listen to, things people will latch onto and ideas that people will connect with.  Don’t sit and watch tv, don’t zone out in laziness, don’t follow blindly.  The all-in musician will get farther down the road of success if they are willing to be active and even when it requires sacrifice, they are willing to make hard decisions.  To be a producer, a leader and a visionary… these are some things you’ll need in your back pocket:

  1. The grit.  People gonna gripe, people gonna doubt.  Don’t listen.  Just ignore what they say.  If you believe you have something worthy for the world, don’t give up on the craft and what you want to say.  Know that you have purpose for being here- to spread goodness, music and beauty that is desperately needed in a dark world.
  2. The Drive.  You can’t watch movies five nights a week, sit down when you get home from your day job or say “I don’t feel like it today.”  True love is seen when you have to do something even when you don’t feel like it.  If it was an easy path to musical success, more people would be taking it or at least excelling.
  3. The level-headedness.  You can’t believe the hype- you can’t believe what people say about you.  Listen to Rudyard kipling- you can’t listen to their praise or their negativity.  Keep pressing on in pursuit of your goals.  Don’t let others deter you as you strive to do better things than yesterday.  The ugliness of the naysayers will always surround you like a cloud of smog.  But put on that mask of confidence and walk through the ugliness surrounding you, knowing that the only people who tear others down are most unhappy inside themselves.  Look up- stand up- and you’ll move up.

Have a lovely Tuesday, dear friends 🙂


Tuesday Nuggets


Photo Credit:  Queensland flickr stream

Why are you spending time trying to get people to notice you? Is it because you feel empty inside or you need recognition to give your art validation?  Get over it.  It’s not less of art if they don’t listen, watch or read.

Why do you think they care?  They don’t, so give them a reason.

Why do you want to cast pearls (creative music) before swine (the record execs)?  You should really just be honing and creating and crafting and trying to find those who love what you do.

Why do you not believe in yourself?  Other people do- look around.

Why do you listen to those 3 people in your life who don’t believe you can do it?  Ignore them, the majority is stronger for you.

Why do you do what you do?  If it’s for money, quit.  If it’s for fame, you’ll probably get it.  Though you might not want it afterward.  If it’s for the pure, unadulterated love of music and giving it back to the community to enjoy, you’re nearing a better place. 

Tip your hat to Tuesday. 


Why I will persevere as a visionary


I’m currently reading the first chapter of a great book called The boss of you… written by two brave women.  And they challenged me to really think about the why behind what I want to pursue.  So here’s the why behind it.

1.         For those who love creativity.  I’m creative.  I believe we can be that and be different.  We are people with conviction, faith, love and want to soak up the world around us.  But we’ve been told to tell ourselves no, believing there wasn’t an arena for us as people of faith and artists.  I’m here to tell you I will not believe that lie anymore and neither should you.

2.         I believe in the future, in the artists, the musicians and those who have worked really hard at their craft, despite math and science brains saying what they have is more important to offer.  Because if one is more important than the other, then why are the doctors buying tickets to our shows and unwind after a surgery by listening to some enchanting melody from our contribution to society?  In a world of negativity and increasing ills, hope is needed through the arts.  I believe that so much good and blessings can come from what music can offer.  And I believe that I can contribute to that.

3.         I want to be able to write songs and share them for a living and create a listening experience that is unparalleled and exciting.  I want creative venues for shows that have so often been forced into a narrow idea of what a venue is.

4.         I want to use my music to fuel goodwill and do good things in the world around me.  I want to write songs that give people hope and stir them onto good works and to look to a greater home after they die.  I want to bring people to an appreciation for life, God and a healthy hereafter.

5.         Money will not be the goal, nor will fame.  I will welcome the blessings and use them as I think God would have me do, but I do not want the goal other than supporting, saving and giving back.  And my goal is to be able to have health insurance and feed myself and others in the future all because I work hard at honing my craft of songwriting and performing.  I will be the Barnabas in a world of excuses and failings.  I will encourage the people I meet every day.

6.         I want to show people that someone who wants to do what’s right can be successful in a difficult industry by paving her own path.  Someday I hope to help others find their way of making a difference around them.

7.         I want to tour, make friends all around the world and have countless stories from a life well lived.

8.         I will not be average…. I will live awesomely through the talents I have been given and through the God who gave each of them to me.  And I will restore them to him, rusty and worn and say “thank you for these gifts- they are loved and worn and my hands are tired and my mind is ready to be at rest forevermore.”

Live the life you’ve imagined…



Let me know how you can relate!

To the Imaginative…


Photo credit goes wholly to: Status Frustration photostream

A mere hike in the woods including a sprint can begin to feel like a scene from a fairytale.

Boredom does not exist because they need only step outside their door to see a need, an opportunity or an adventure at their feet.

There is always something to share and tell- for their eyes are wide enough to take in a world that is vastly changing, shifting and growing like the ocean that never rests.

They always have friends- even if they are only created up in their heads.  Even people begin to transform into characters in front of their eyes or into animals that match their personality characteristics.

Life is both a beautiful experience and terrifying letdown… oftentimes all in the same day.

There is beauty in all things large and small.

A person is never just a person… they are the object of affection or struggle and they become a character in stories, songs and daydreams.

Light dances around the world through shadow play in ways that most people miss as they hurry along.

Nature is a haven of rest and recharging.

Grit is absolutely necessary to see a future in which creativity can reign.

Nothing is ridiculous.

Whimsy is a part of everyday life.

Why not is always waiting in the back of the mind, ready to be latched onto like the last hope.

All things become fodder for inspiration.

Have and inspiring Wednesday 🙂


Not Fans but Friends


Photo Credit:  Library of Congress photostream

So, they tell you if you can procure 1000 true blue fans as a musician that you will be able to make a little living for yourself.  Perhaps it would help to not focus on fans (people who adore you or your music) but rather try to meet and develop real relationships with people who believe in more of a mission than just a face or sound.  There are concepts larger than ourselves and maybe it’s time we focused on that instead of ourselves as musicians.  I haven’t obtained this selfless sense as a musician, but it would be a good goal to stay grounded as we grow as artists.  Though, I’m not exactly sure what my fans turned friends would look like, I do know some characteristics I imagine they would possess and characters they would be.

  1. Genuine-ness- whatever they do, they do it heartily and sincerely.  They try their best to live every day with some purpose and include others in the process.  They don’t pretend to be something they are not and they don’t speak loftily to make themselves sound like more of a big deal than they are.  They accept who they are, what they do and are accepting of their strengths, flaws and those who have helped them get to where they are.  They appreciate art, music, and action of any kind with substance and meaning.
  2. Givers- they believe in the art of contribution, giving back and even in small ways making the world a better place each day.  They know change isn’t easy and sometimes it takes more than one to get something off the ground.
  3. Dreamers- those who are a little different, who people deem as strange or too idealistic.  They know that ultimately others’ opinions are merely just opinions and letting themselves be swayed by them is often unprofitable.
  4. Believers- they believe in things beyond themselves and Someone higher than they.  A spiritual nature is something that is manifest in their everyday life as well as something that touches everything they do, say and think.
  5. Innovators- those who are pioneers and believe in things that have not yet been created.  They ask why not more often than not.  They live in a realm of hopefulness rather than pessimism.

All of that being said, I should like to announce that I am currently in the studio working on my first EP.  My goal for the end of 2013 and all of 2014 is to begin sharing music, stories and a vision larger than myself with others through shows, service and relationships.  I have some great people who are eager to help, so if you’d like to hear the EP once it is out and possibly book a house show, please feel free to drop me a line in the contact form below.

And if you feel like hearing some demos as a pre-cursor to the EP, feel free to visit www.facebook.com/leahemusic

Thanks for being supportive and keep living creatively and thankfully! ~lme