1) Hi Leigh, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
Hi Dixiedee. Thank you for asking and for connecting with me. I love what you are creating with your blog, and I share in your love and support of Country Music. I was born in Georgia, but raised in Oklahoma, and my family roots go deep in both places. I grew up a “dreamer” looking up at the clouds in our big Oklahoma sky. The neighborly, friendly, generous and kind vibe of Oklahomans I grew up around, infused the same into me, gave me a strong foundation and strong roots for life. My parents tell me they knew I was a singer and performer when I was 2. I started writing music with my Mother when I was 3 and 4 years old, for her many Christian Children’s Records she wrote and recorded, that were published by Melody House publishing. I was in a recording studio from ages 3-8 singing on her records. I was always writing poems, lyrics, songs, and singing and performing my whole childhood. I am a storyteller and always have been… and I think because of that, my soul sought out a lot of life experiences and “stories to share”. I was a young student anchor for a year, opposite one of our Oklahoma stars, James Marsden, on Good Morning Oklahoma, I starred opposite the amazing Neil Patrick Harris in the Broadway show, RENT, playing the character of Maureen, I sang on an international commercial, toured, busked on Venice Beach singing for food money, played original music with friends in bands all over Sunset Blvd. and did “one woman” shows of my stories and songs for Art openings around L.A., I have lived in my car, lived like a queen, and lived every way in between, experienced immense heart break, loss, love, and I deeply know the joy of being a mother… and throughout it all, I was always writing songs, like someone would write in a journal or diary to document and process their life experiences.
2) How did become a fan of country music and when did you know you wanted a career in it?
Growing up in Oklahoma, Garth Brooks is the king, and I think everyone I grew up with can belt out by heart, “Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots, and ruined your black tie affair…. Cause, I’ve got friends in low places… “. My parents had an eclectic record collection, and we always had music playing in our house. I remember loving their Dolly Parton and John Denver records the most. As a very young girl, I would listen to their Simon and Garfunkel record and cry I was so moved by the lyrics and melodies (strange for kid, I know)… I remember feeling like I could relate to their lyrics, as if I had lived them, and I think that began my love of songwriting and storytelling. There was a lot of country music played on the radio growing up in Oklahoma, and I listened to George Strait, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Reba, Bonnie Raitt, Shania, Dolly, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and more. Country music represents and expresses everything I value and cherish in life: Family, faith, friends, speaking truth, being genuine and honest, staying grounded, and having fun! I feel like I am home in my heart when I listen to Country Music. I really think I had to live all of my stories before I could write them, and now just felt like the perfect time to dig deep into my roots, and branch my stories out to share with others through my music. I also recently just teamed up with a song writing partner named Jeff Scott Wood (Country Music fans, Jeff wrote John Michael Montgomery’s hit, “Cowboy Love” and many more). Jeff has become my mentor, songwriting partner and producer. It just takes one person to believe in you to help get momentum started, and I am lucky Jeff Scott Wood is that person for me right now.
3) Who are some of your musical icons?
4) How did you come up with the name of your EP “Wedding Crasher?”
Wedding Crasher is the name of the first song on my 6 song EP, and the song and title stands for how hard I have fought for love with perseverance, tenacity and bold, brave action. There is a personal story tied into the song as well.
5) What is your favorite song from your EP?
Each song has personal meaning to me. “Wedding Crasher” stands for how hard I fight for love with bold action. “Keep On Lovin’ As You Go” represents the healing power of love, and how choosing a perspective of gratitude, positivity & love, has guided my life and gotten me through some really challenging times and days. “Red” was written about how healing of a place Oklahoma always is for me, and is a song about coming home literally and in your heart, to heal a broken heart. “Life Sentence Without Me” was written about my most recent break-up, which was a shocking, painful break-up when I uncovered evidence of such deceit, betrayal and lies, that caused me to sentence this man with a “Life Sentence Without Me”. “Keep It Together” is a song about the biggest heart-break in my life, which was unexpectedly becoming a single mother. I have a very difficult time singing this song without breaking down every time. And, “My Roots Run Deep” is a very personal song to me about how my family, Oklahoma and Georgia roots have given me such a strong foundation in life, and roots so strong that I haven’t been knocked down yet without getting back up, even though I probably should have by now!
6) Is there anything new coming up with your music for the rest of 2018?
I am always writing new music, and hoping to record more music with my song writing partner, mentor and producer, Jeff Scott Wood, and my studio engineer, producer, and the talented multi-intstrumentalist JT Murrell who both did “Wedding Crasher” with me. I have plans for a music video for the song, “Wedding Crasher”. I will be playing live shows everywhere I’m able, and trying to share my stories, connect with others and continue to share music, support music and support other songwriters and Country Artists.
7) Where do you see your music career in the next 5 to 10 years?
I don’t know. I’m just here in my little home today, working on my songs on guitar and enjoying this interview with you. Of course, like any music artist who is asked this question, I have big dreams, specific goals, (I have my vision board hung up on my wall, I say positive affirmations and work hard on my music and take action forward daily) and I want to be able to share my music and connect with as many people as possible. I guess that is the most honest answer I can give to this question: I hope to be connecting with a lot of people through my story telling, songwriting and performing, and I hope to be inspiring & uplifting others through my music who can relate to it.
8) If you could sing a duet with a singer or group who would it be and why?
If I’m ever asked to do a duet with any established Country Music singers or groups… the answer will be yes. I would love to sing with any of my Country Music icons from Oklahoma, like Reba, Carrie, Blake. I would be immensely honored to be able to have a songwriting session with the great Dean Dillon one day. My studio engineer JT Murrell sings back up on my song, “Keep On Lovin’ As You Go”. I would love to sing a duet with him one day, and continue singing with my songwriting partner, Jeff Scott Wood.
9) What is one of your favorite quotes?
A few years ago, when I was going through a pretty tough time in life, my amazing Father text me this: “It may seem like your life is falling apart, but it might just be falling into place”. He reminded me to stay open to a different perspective and possibility than what I had planned, and to trust and surrender. I am a collector of great quotes, and I share some of my favorites on my instagram page @LeighMadisonMusic
10) Is there anything else you would like to share
I just want to thank you, Dixiedee, for your support of new Country Music, and for taking action to support what you love and have passion for in life. Thank you again, for adding me to your new Country Music playlist on Spotify and for taking the time to interview me for your blog. I would love to hear from others if they relate to any of my music and stories www.LeighMadison.com. Thank you, and blessings to you’all!