Since Leah’s successful appearance as a finalist on The BBC’s The Voice 2013, her name has been on the tounge of some of the biggest names in the music business. The 24 year old first impressed the UK and the rest of the world with her exceptional vocal range and impressive live performances last year. Since then the Irish singer has been focusing on writing and recording her debut album which is due for release this October.
Before the album drops Leah is promoting her debut single “Home”, which we love here at Flavourmag. The track is about Leah living away from her beloved home town, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland. “Home” is written brilliantly with a catchy chorus that fits the singers outstanding vocal range perfectly. Gearing up to the singles release, Flavourmags Joe Waller managed 2 catch up with Leah and discuss everything from her debut single “Home”, her soon to be released debut album and her close famous friend/mentor Will.i.am.
Hi Leah, how are you?
Hello 🙂 I’m great thank you, how are you? (don’t think I was meant to answer this one haha)
How has life been for you since The Voice 2013?
It’s been insane!! Sometimes I wonder am I gonna stop dreaming when I sleep, cause I’m pretty much ‘living the dream’. Cheesyyy…haha! Seriously though, I can’t believe the amazing things I’ve got to do. Tour with Will, sing with Willvat MUSICARES Grammy event in honour of Carole King after Lady Gaga, perform with the Black Eyed Peas, Tour and sing on stage with Jessie J, and make my album in LA with Will. Can’t actually believe it… feel very honoured.
You are currently gearing up to release your debut single “Home” feat Mr Will.I.Am. How has the response been so far?
It’s been amazing, people are so encouraging and have been sharing the video loads and tweeting me their love for it which I really appreciate as a first release can be very nerve wrecking. Also, when I went home to Northern Ireland on radio tour, I did a little pop up gig to perform ‘HOME’ and other songs from the album. I couldn’t believe it, the venue was packed out and the queue was all the way up and around the street!! I’ve been hid away for a year, working hard on my album, and to then see that people have been patiently waiting for it and that the momentum is still high is just so humbling. I’m very thankful!
How did “Home” become the first single?
We wrote this song with an incredible songwriter called ‘Jon Baptiste’ who co-wrote ‘scream and shout’ and it has been one of our favourites from the start. The lyrical content is just beautiful, talking about how there really is no place like Home, and the feeling you get when you’re travelling back to the people you love. Its such a wee catchy up-beat tune, and it gets straight into your heart very quickly, and stays there.
Your soulful voice matches the catchy chorus and beat perfectly. How did “Home” come together?
We sampled the music from Edward sharp and the magnetic zero’s , and it was just one of those sessions were the lyrics and melody came alongside each other at the same time. The finishing touch was Will’s part, my favourite lyric being ‘no more lovey dovey talking on the phone, I’m coming home’ He has a real way of not shying off conversational lyrics, they are so relatable, they stick in your head and speak directly to your wee heart. When you’ve been away for so long, and your tired of only getting to talk to the people you love the most on the phone, between dodging bad signal and cracked screens, and you’re just like ‘screw it… I’m coming ‘HOME” And that feeling is glorious.
What made you decide to have Will jump on the track?
I think it is fitting for my first single to have my mentor on it, who is executive producer of the album and has stood by me on the show and even more so after. It is a good introduction to this album that we have carefully crafted together. There isn’t anyone else I would want on my very first single, other than him.
Will.I.am tweeted ‘I am calling in the wizards’ when we first started working together last July. And that he did.
Will has described you as the next “Adele” and is very open about how successful he feels you will be. How does it feel having the backing from a mega superstar who has so much respect in the business?
Its a complete honour. Sometimes when I witness him saying these lovely things, it doesn’t register with me that it is actually me he is talking about. He is very kind. I have been working hard on my craft from when I was a little girl, gigging since I was 14 (sometimes to no one but my parents and Billy the Bar man haha) and to think I am now in a position where I have the confidence of a massive world wide respected artist supporting me, it is just incredible! I am now surrounded by an amazing team of people, including Will, that are continually realising my dreams into a visual and musical reality. I will continue to work very hard to take this as far as it can go, and the support I have had from the nation has been so extremely encouraging! I’m very thankful!
You have already dropped the official music video for “Home”, which is dope by the way. When is the track due for release?
It’s out on the 27th of July. I am so excited!
Do you have a second single in the pipeline yet?
Yes, but nothing I can even hint to as of yet 😉 I’m just so excited. All of these songs are so special to me.
You are currently working on your debut album at the moment. How is that coming along?
It is pretty much finished. There was talk of releasing sooner, but when we got in the studio, we just couldn’t stop writing. We ended up cutting around 30 tracks. That’s what has taken us so long. Will always says to me ‘Create your own world, and then invite people in’ We have been creating my audio world in the studio with people with more talent than I have ever seen, and now I am blessed to have an amazing team that I have been working closely with here in London to help me create my visual world, gearing up to welcome people in. And I really hope they like it…
Do you have a title for the album yet?
The album will be titled after one of my favourite tracks called ‘Weird to Wonderful’. My voice is a wee bit weird, as am I at times if I am being honest haha, this album has been the start of me embracing that and being so blessed as to be surrounded with people with far more talent than I have, that have helped me create something special.
Do you have a release date for the album yet?
No exact date but it will be in October.
Obviously Will.I.Am has been a huge part of the albums development. Have you worked with any other big names on the record?
SO many! Will tweeted ‘I am calling in the wizards’ when we first started working together last July. And that he did. I have had the complete honour of having the biggest songwriters in the industry co-write with me on this Album. Including Jon Baptiste, Ester Dean, Diane Warren, Toby Gadd, Keith Harris and more. It is a complete blessing to be surrounded by people that are far more talented than me. I feel like a big sponge, soaking it all up and taking it all in. It has been an incredible year!
Any features lined up or recorded?
Other than Will, not yet. He was very keen to let me stand on my own for my first record, starting point for something to build on.
If you could feature with any artist in the world (dead or alive) who would it be?
Dead – Michael Jackson. He was one of my first words “Mummy…put Mickey Yakson on”, Etta James and Ray Charles have both been massive influences on my voice, the soul and the vocal freedom.
Alive – there are so many artists that are just oozing with talent beyond belief these days. I sang on stage with Jessie J on tour, and a recorded collaboration would of course be amazing!! Also Frank Ocean, Jay Z, Iggy Azalea and so many more …
What can we expect from the album? What musical roots have you gone down?
I come from quite an eclectic music taste. Growing up my Dad would have been playing anything from Funk/Soul to Opera around the house and this was embedded into me. I began listening to a lot of Soul like Aretha, Blues/Jazz artists like Rickie Lee Jones, to folk like Rosie Thomas, to Real Gospel singers like The Clark Sisters and it was here I learnt ALOT about vocal freedom. Gospel singers are in a state of worship, free, its almost like they aren’t constrained to the normal vocal riffs, but rather make all sorts of noises from their voice that they incorporate into their song. I love that. And that is incorporated into a few of the more Jazzy songs on the album. The album is also quite eclectic. Will’s knowledge of music is more than I could ever hope to know, he combined all of these influences, and his own, into the production of the songs, that allows my vocal a lot of space. We also have those great wee upbeat feel good catchy pop tunes. I’m very excited and believe it to be very special!
I love ugly shoes. I am aware that they look like little mini tractors or freakishly large Lego pieces, but I find them just so irresistibly beautiful!
Being a songwriter yourself, have you been heavily involved in the writing for the album?
Of course. I co-write, melody and lyrics. One of my favourite songs, is the title track ‘Weird to Wonderful’ that I wrote with DQ and Keith Harris. It is about not necessarily being the girl next door, maybe sometimes seen as a wee bit weird, but finding someone that sees those things as something to be treasured. Its a special track to me. I don’t play an instrument, and the most I can do on my computer is buy ugly shoes and draw stickmen on illustrator. But I like to be in the studio for all sessions, when the players come in to track their parts. I’ve worked with incredible musicians throughout my career, and love to be around them, they are a special kind of people. Its amazing to watch Will instruct and conduct them. I learn so much from him and the other incredible songwriters I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Their talent amazes me. Will is always very inviting of my ideas and opinions and gives me space to allow me to be creative in my writing. I’m always conscious of how much I want to grow in my writing, and allow myself the opportunity to learn from these vast experienced talented writers when I am with them.
Who would be your ideal songwriter (dead or alive) to put pen and paper together with?
Michael Jackson. He is the perfect example of someone that created their own world, and then invited people in. He was a genius. An innovator.
Do you have a Flavourmag album exclusive for us?
There might be an even higher whistle note than my performance of ‘loving you’ within this album… that I definitely did not know I could hit haha… Thats what being jet lagged and vocalling most of your album at 5am can do for you haha!
You are currently focusing on the release of “Home” and working on your album. Can we expect any live gigs or shows from you in the near future?
I will be performing at GAY on 26th of July, and am not sure i’m allowed to announce anything else as of yet 😉 but yes, there will be many more. Just keep a wee eye on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as I post everything on there. I will also be launching my website very soon, and tour dates will be announced on there. http://leahmcfall.com/
With the hype of summer upon the UK right now the festivals are in full swing. Are you a festival girl? Which ones will you be attending?
I’ve just been to Wireless, saw OutKast perform and have never danced so hard in my life. They were insanely good!! And will probably be at VFestival too!! I am definitely a ‘festival girl’, just not a ‘festival toilets girl’ haha… performing some sort of a strange acrobatic ballerina dance, protecting your shoes from the unidentified puddles on the floor, whilst trying to pee, is not fun.
What festival would be at the top of your list to perform at?
Glastonbury. That must be the best feeling ever having that many people, and that kind of energy watching and participating in your music.
Your fanbase is growing larger and larger by the day. Are the fans from your “Youtube” days still riding with you?
Yes. The support I have shocks me every day. People are so faithful. They have followed me from my first EP I released long before the show, and still show up outside radio stations I’m being interviewed at and gigs I’m performing at. It is extremely supportive and encouraging. With them, I feel like I’m never doing it alone, they get as excited as me when things go well. We are in this journey together and they are the reason my youtube views go crazy high. They are constantly sharing and tweeting. I couldn’t do it without them!
Your cover videos are extremely successful and the fans love them. Can we expect more from you via “Youtube”?
Yea I would like to do more covers, they are so fun and there will be more to come for sure! For now we are focused on the new original songs from the album that I am far too excited to share. I have a great set up. BeatFox and Mike Davies are performing with me at the minute and we have a few youtube live videos coming up, so watch this space 😉
What does 2014 hold for Leah Mcfall?
Lots of new music and live performances!! I’m glad I took a year to work hard on my album with Will, and to form it into something I believe in and am proud of! But I am so excited to get out there now, to meet and perform for the people that are supporting me. Its an extremely exciting time!
Finally, can you give us a Flavourmag Leah Mcfall exclusive?
I love ugly shoes. I am aware that they look like little mini tractors or freakishly large Lego pieces, but I find them just so irresistibly beautiful! And probably always will…
“Home” is released on Sunday 27th July and is available for pre order now. Grab it here – http://po.st/Vjkesi We already have our copy on pre order! Like always make sure you keep up to date with all things @LeahMcfallMusic and @Flavourmag via Twitter.
Interview by Joe Waller
Twitter – @JoeWa113r