“You’d be surprised to know that I listen to a lot of R&B,” said Leah Nobel with a laugh. The award-winning singer/songwriter admits people are shocked to discover her musical influences. Often compared to Ingrid Michaelson, Leah’s music fuses folk and pop to create a sound that is uniquely her own.
As a child, Leah was a creative at heart. Throughout school, she found outlets in choir and theatre and it seemed only fitting that once she picked up a guitar the magic would begin. However, that was not the case.
Although Leah was comfortable performing cover songs in front of crowds, she dreaded performing her own music. This fear followed her to college and it wasn’t until a friend entered her in an open mic night without her permission that she first began performing her own music.
“I guess now I know it was a great thing, but at the time, I was very upset,” she admits with a laugh.
In the summer of 2009, having found the confidence to perform her own songs, Leah made a big decision.
“I had to decide between studying abroad and making a record. So I made a record.”
Leah recorded her first album in Nashville, Tennessee with musician and producer Mark Prentice. Leah regards this as a major turning point in her career. Describing her first experience in the studio as “religious,” Leah recalls, “I knew in that moment this was what I wanted to do.”
“I moved to Austin right after college because I knew I needed a lot of practice. I had never even played with a band before. Austin has been a great growing experience for me and I will never completely say goodbye.”
Although Leah loves Austin, she feels that in order to grow as an artist, she needs a change in scenery. Later this year, Leah plans to move to Nashville and continue her work there.
“I’m moving to Nashville because I needed a place to relocate my home base. I have to keep going and keep growing as an artist.”
The past year has seen a lot of success for Leah and her career. Earlier this year, Leah ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund two new EPs – “Strangers Again” released in February and a second EP set to release in August of this year.
“Crowdfunding,” she said, “was a humbling, challenging and emotional process. I didn’t like the idea of asking for monetary help.”
Once the campaign took off and support began to pour in, Leah realized the value of her work. “The moment I realized art is important, that it was important to people that I made these records, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the process. I am eternally grateful for the supporters I have.”
Leah has many successes under her belt, however the greatest reward she feels comes from what her music offers others.
“I noticed early on that my voice had the ability to be very therapeutic to people,” she said, “When my brother, who is severely autistic and nonverbal, hears my music, he holds the headphones tight to his ears. He knows it’s me and that makes me happy.”
Leah’s passion for music and its profundity is the reason she chose to support American Music Water. Leah says she was instantly drawn to the organization’s mission of supporting music education. Inspired at a young age by a music educator to pursue a creative path, Leah recognizes the importance of keeping the arts in schools.
“Music fosters something in kids right off the bat. It fosters community. With limited educational budgets, unfortunately the first things people cut are arts and music. I can honestly say that I don’t know what I would be doing if it wasn’t for my experiences in elementary school with a wonderful music teacher who told me I could sing and helped me grow.”
American Music Water is proudly helping to rebuild our nation’s music education programs through donations made possible by water sales. Leah plans to continue supporting American Music Water and arts programs in schools as her career progresses.
“If I’m ever able to gain more reach from my music, I want to do good things. I love the idea of finding a way to keep music programs alive.”
You can learn more about Leah Nobel on her website or on her social channels:
Download Leah’s EP “Strangers Again” available now on iTunes.
Stay tuned for her second EP to be released in August of this year.