Overnight successes don’t exist: As a kid, I used to think people just became successful overnight. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much hard work goes into creating a career! Luckily, I have the stamina for it.
As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Leah Voysey. Leah is a pop performer, who combines current pop sounds and synths with her roots at an acoustic singer/songwriter. She puts a focus on creating compelling and unique lyrics molded around powerhouse vocals. Voysey does not shy away from controversial topics such as sexuality, drugs, and depression in order to create stories that others can relate to.
Thank you so much for joining us Leah! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been passionate about music, but I never saw it as a career until I was already in New York working as an actor. As an actor, I get the opportunity to step into the shoes of many different people, but as a musician…I just get to be myself, and I wanted to explore that.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
Two years ago I had bought tickets to a music festival, but didn’t have anyone to go with. On Facebook, I saw that this guy (who I had never really spoken to) was also going. So I went out on a limb and asked him if I could tag along on this 4 day camping festival. He said yes, we became friends, and now I’m a musician on his indie label! The way I see it, that one decision to ask a favor of a stranger is the reason I have a music career. Thanks, Joe Pomarico and Telegraph Hill Records!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just shot a music video for my new single, “Keep It To Yourself” with the producer of the song, Andrea Morgan. What’s exciting about the video is that we incorporated my love of cosplay into the video. I wanted to use it as an opportunity to showcase some of my other interests. (In case you don’t know, cosplay is the practice of impersonating characters from pop culture films, tv, comic books, and video games).
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Well if we are talking famous people, I don’t really have any stories like that. But, hovering between New York City and the Asbury Park music scene, I’ve met a ton of incredible musicians. And even though a lot of us are just starting out, sometimes you meet a person and think, “Wow…this person has something special. They’re going to make it.” Hopefully, in a few years I can circle back to this question and confirm this thought.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
I’m really inspired by some of the female musicians from the 90’s like Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, and Sinéad O’Connor. They were rebels and rule breakers. They got up on stage and weren’t afraid to be real and raw. The music scene always needs people like that.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This is actually something I would like to explore more. I recently partnered with Huntington’s Disease Society of America to help bring awareness to this disease. I’m also passionate about foster care reform, LGBT rights, and mental health awareness. I’m always looking for ways to do more. If a person is given a platform, I think it’s their duty to use it for good.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As stated above, I am really passionate about foster care reform. I would love it if more people in the world would consider fostering children, or consider adoption as a first choice of having children. There are so many kids in the world who just want someone to love them. I think if people could see and meet some of these kids, their minds can be opened.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I always recommend having interests and friends outside of your career. Yes, we picked a career we love, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get overwhelming. Sometimes we need a break. Go on a hike, read a book, take up a new hobby!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Overnight successes don’t exist: As a kid, I used to think people just became successful overnight. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much hard work goes into creating a career! Luckily, I have the stamina for it.
- You have to spend money to make money: Yes, we are all starving artists, but sometimes the money you spend now will really benefit you in the future.
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself: Okay…I know this is cliché, but it’s true! I recently decided to stop wearing makeup (unless it’s cosplay or a stylized photo shoot), because it didn’t feel like me. As a woman, it’s tough to shy away from stereotypical female conformities. I was afraid people would stop finding me “attractive,” but then I decided I didn’t care! This is me…take it or leave it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to be on “your team”: For the longest time I didn’t play live, because I was afraid of asking other musicians to play my music. I never thought I was good enough to deserve talented musicians backing me. But now, I have a bunch of incredible guys who WANT to play with me. My two friends, CJ and Artie, play guitar for me when I perform in Jersey, and it makes me smile like no other when they actually seem excited about the music!
- Be aware that people may want to take advantage of you: There are a lot of people out there who just want a piece of the pie, but can’t really do anything to help you. When I was starting out, every opportunity felt like a worthwhile opportunity, but sometimes it’s okay to really access the situation and say “no” if it seems sketchy.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Oh man…big pressure here! Is it lame to say Ellen DeGeneres? Because who HASN’T had a fantasy about swapping stories with her over breakfast?! I just honestly think she’s amazing. She’s funny, smart, and extremely kind — she is someone who uses her platform for philanthropic efforts, and I’d love to hear more about that.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Instagram handle is @LeahVoysey and my Youtube channel is www.YouTube.com/leahvoyseysa ! I use my YouTube more than Instagram these days. I also just made a TikTok account, which is @LeahVoysey…I don’t understand how it works yet, but I’ll figure it out!
Thank you for these great insights. This was very inspiring!