Written by: Amanda Policastro
Orlando born singer/songwriter Shayna Leigh recently released her next single, “Goodbye July” and she just toured with an American Idol winner. Get to know Shayna and what inspires her music.
upfrontNY: How would you describe your experience recording with award-winning producers on your debut album?
Shayna Leigh: I’ve been incredibly lucky in terms of the people I’ve been able to work with. At first, it’s always a little bit nerve-wracking, knowing that you’re working with people who have so much experience and have had so much success, but honestly I’ve found that the most talented people are also some of the kindest people. Michael Mangini and Peter Zizzo, who co-wrote the album with me and produced it, are two of the smartest, most talented people I know, and I just love creating with them.
upfrontNY: Did a different side of your creativity come through with each person?
Shayna Leigh: I’ve done a lot of co-writing in my career and have gotten to work with so many incredible people. It has been my experience that each individual I work with brings out a different side of me, a different side of my personality and a different facet of my musicality. That’s one of my favorite parts of creating, seeing how people can come together and create something that is better and different than either of them would come up with on their own.
upfrontNY: You recently toured with Lee DeWyze & Wakey Wakey, how was that experience?
Shayna Leigh: I LOVED being on this tour. Lee DeWyze and Wakey Wakey are both incredibly talented and also just really down to earth, good guys. It was amazing to get to watch them every night and learn from them as performers and also just to talk to them about their experience in the business. I learned a lot and got to play for amazing audiences. It’s kind of the best thing ever.
upfrontNY: What is your favorite city to visit on tour?
Shayna Leigh: I’d have to say that my favorite place to play is probably New York because it’s my hometown and there is nothing like performing in front of friends and family. But in terms of visiting other cities, I actually really love going to new places, performing in cities I’ve never been to and getting to explore someplace I might not have otherwise gone.
upfrontNY: What are your hobbies when you aren’t singing or writing?
Shayna Leigh: I have quite a few hobbies actually. I love acting (I’ve been taking a weekly acting class for years- it’s one of my favorite things). Working out is a big hobby of mine. I play softball (terribly) recreationally, which is also amazing, and then the rest of my free time is spent with friends and family. I want to spend as much time with the people I love as a I possibly can!
upfrontNY: If you could tour with any artist who would it be?
Shayna Leigh: I’ve had such incredible experiences with so many different artists in my career thus far. I honestly think I’d be ecstatic to tour with just about anyone! That being said, I just saw Adele play at Madison Square Garden and was absolutely mesmerized, so I mean that would be beyond a dream. Also, I believe I am among Lin Manuel Miranda’s biggest fans. I would LOVE to perform in anything he is in any way involved with!
upfrontNY: What can you tell us about your new EP that’s soon to be released?
Shayna Leigh: My new EP is probably the most personal collection of songs I’ve released to date! We wrote all five songs about actual things that were going on in my life last winter/spring. And they are all songs about a topic I haven’t really covered in my earlier work: dating! It’s my take on life as a single girl in New York City, and I can’t wait to share it!
upfrontNY: How did the recording of your first and second albums compare? Was one more challenging than the other?
Shayna Leigh: I would say the first album was more challenging… mostly because it was my first! The process was so new to me, and I was still figuring out what my sound was and what kind of musician I wanted to be. I’m obviously always refining the answers to those questions, but I feel like a whole world of possibilities opened up to me once I laid the groundwork of my first album. Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the same co-writers and producers on both albums, so as our relationship has strengthened, so has the music!
upfrontNY: How did your latest single, “Goodbye July” come about? Is it drawn from a true story?
Shayna Leigh: “Goodbye July” is not about a real life relationship for me. It is about how endings lead to new beginnings. That is something I can really relate to. Most of my biggest growth spurts have come out of darkness, and it is in the wake of loss that I feel like I have learned how strong I am. That is what “Goodbye July” is about. And that is why it is a story I want to tell!
upfrontNY: Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
Shayna Leigh: My parents! They are the hardest working, most compassionate people I know. They drove me crazy (and still do) but I’ve always wanted to make them proud.