Leah is, without a doubt, one of the strongest people I know. I’ve watched her in her battle with Lyme Disease dealing with migraines and constant convulsions while she controlled her voice absolutely perfectly. Despite how sick she’s been, she still comes to lessons and has an amazing attitude. I don’t think I’ve once heard her complain or feel sorry for herself. As a child, she had vocal nodules but has recovered and sings with a stunning voice reminiscent of Adele’s. Most recently, she’s been accepted into the Creative Worship team at Orange Lutheran, something she’s been working at for a while, and we couldn’t be happier for her!
Q & A with Leah
MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies, outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?
LL: My favorite subjects at school are math and science. I am really interested in the medical field, so math and science are really fun for me. I’m not a big reader (much to my mom’s dismay), but I did really like the Wonder Series when I was younger. I don’t get to the movies often, but I’m OBSESSED with Grey’s Anatomy and Bones tv shows. I used to be a gymnast and a volleyball player but had to give them up because of medical issues, but I do enjoy watching those sports.
MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing?
LL: I got started with music when my mom encouraged me to do singing lessons as a little kid. I have been doing singing lessons off and on since elementary school. The difference now is that I have the time and more interest to take lessons more seriously.
MM: What have been some of your favorite performances, and why? How do you share your music with others, beyond recitals?
LL: I have only been in one recital, and I forgot all the words to my song, haha. But this year in school I am on the Creative Worship team at my high school (leading praise and prayer during Chapel once a week) so I will get the chance to sing in front of the school at Chapel! I’m really excited about that, it’s been a goal of mine for years.
MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?
LL: I keep practicing because I really enjoy singing, and I have been given the gift of a good singing voice. As a Christian, we are taught to pursue the gifts God gives us, and my voice is definitely one of my gifts. It’s also an outlet for me, especially when I’m not feeling well. My goal of making the Creative Worship team was achieved, so I guess it’s time to figure out my next vocal goals!
MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?
LL: An artist that really inspires me is Adele because I have a lower raspier voice, so I feel like her songs and her tone and style go well with my voice. I also really like Lauren Dagle and Ed Sheeran and anything country, especially by Luke Bryan.
MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?
LL: Some of my favorite songs are “O Lord,” “Amazing Grace,” “To Make You Feel My Love,” and “Chasing Pavements.” Those songs have a really good beat, and I just really like them. I also have a special place in my heart for the old Christian hymns. My dad would sing me to sleep with them as a young child, so there’s a lot of nostalgia there. I love them.
MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?
LL: I have a lower voice, so trying to sing anything high is pretty hard for me, but if I do voice exercises it makes it easier to sing better.
MM: I know you dealt with vocal nodules as a kid. Can you talk a little bit about what that was like and what the recovery was like? Does it currently impact your singing at all, or is that all in the past?
LL: My vocal nodules made it hard to sing when I was younger because I would lose my voice easily. Now, I still lose my voice, but more like after I’ve been to a really good baseball or football game or pep rally at school and am screaming loud, but it doesn’t affect my singing anymore.
MM: I know you’re currently battling Lyme Disease and have had to deal with everything from migraines to convulsions. You’ve been able to perfectly control your voice during all that, which is amazing to watch. Is there anything you focus on to make that happen? What’s going through your head, and how are you able to do it?
LL: Yeah, I’ve had a rough number of years with health issues. I’ve had to give up all my sports because of it, but that also gave me the time to pursue singing, so I guess that’s a blessing that I didn’t expect when I was first getting sick all the time. When I’m not feeling good or when I had those involuntary muscle movements (praise Jesus those are in my past), I just focus on singing and let God take over. When I focus on the singing, I don’t think about anything else, and it is nice to take my mind off of medical stuff I’m dealing with.
MM: Congratulations on getting into Creative Worship! What was the audition process like? What are you most looking forward to? How did you decide that was the group you were most interested in?
LL: Thank you! I’m SO EXCITED about that! The audition process was to sing a song and then to sing the harmony to the song to the teachers/directors of the music program. I chose Creative Worship over Honors Choir because CW leads worship to the student body weekly. I take my relationship with Christ seriously, and it’s a way for me to engage with my peers using my gifts, plus I love contemporary Christian music.