11: You Have to be Active in the Music Scene if You Want to Play in Lots of Bands with Leah T

Leah T
Piano & Keyboard Player, Singer-Songwriter | Seattle, WA
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

I walked into Leah T’s house in West Seattle and fell in love. This girl hand-painted all her furniture teal, she’s hauled a beautiful old piano in the living room, there are plants and guitars hanging on the wall, beers chillin’ outside the front door, a view of the city through the window, and a throw pillow that said “Dwight, you ignorant slut.” — “So when do I move in?” was my first thought. ;P Leah T plays piano / keyboard professionally in multiple bands in Seattle. She also has her own music project, she has released multiple records, and back in Minnesota she studied Piano Performance at college. She’s woven her way deep into the Seattle music scene and she’s earning her living through full time music and very occasional dog walking. Leah was referred to me by our mutual friend, Katie Kuffel (yo girl! — Katie was on Episode #7: I Realized There’s a “Fuck It” Adjustment That Comes with Being a Musician) and Katie said that I had to talk to Leah about what it’s like to be a female backing musicians in so many bands, working with so many different musicians.

LISTEN / WATCH

BEST QUOTES

Apart from being a rockstar, I’m also a part-time dog walker.” -- Leah T.

You have to be really active in the scene and always constantly meeting people and soliciting yourself if (you want to play in lots of bands).” -- Leah T.

We don’t make music to make money. We make money to make more music. To me that sounded like music as a hobby and I value music as a career. I don’t want to be making money from somewhere else just so I can make more music… It’s really detrimental to the music industry when musicians don’t value their art in a monetary form. It devalues the rest of us.” -- Leah T.

The dream is to be constantly playing with people who are better than us and have a bigger audience because I think it’s really hard to expand on your own and stay in Seattle and expand your fan base. Most of my fans at this point are musicians...I think that’s hard too because musicians can’t be your main audience because they’re busy too. I need to tap into some of the regular folks too who want to see music.” -- Leah T.

Leah T on the Wilde Musicians Podcast - Cha Wilde - January 2019_WEB.jpg

QUESTIONS FROM MUSICIANS

Katie Kuffel (Ep #7) ASKS : What do you want out of a performance? Why are you on stage? What are you getting?”
Leah’s Answer:
“I always want to connect with my audience in a meaningful way. I think there’s no greater feeling and while you want to be in a full room of people, I’ve been in full rooms, sold out rooms and felt no connection with people. And then I’ve been in rooms with five people in the audience and they were giving me their undivided attention and they were really going to this place where I was going. I think numbers are irrelevant at that point. I just want to be able to affect people with what I’m doing and I want people to get it and feel things if they want to feel things. Most of what I want them to feel is ‘groovy, this is cool.’” -- Leah T.

Bug Hunter (Ep #10) ASKS: “How do you measure success? “
Leah T’s Answer: “I always want to be happy with what I’m doing...You can’t be successful and thriving if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. There are very tangible things that you can measure your success in, like when you set goals. When I released my album but and put my release party together, that felt like a success. That was a very visual, measurable thing. I’m always going to have those types of goals that if we pull it off I will feel successful. There’s a mindset, being happy with what you’re achieving… You’re successful if you’re always still reaching and if you’re always trying to level up in what you do and you never plateau and you never quit. You have to be looking for the next thing and as long as you’re setting out to do that and raise the bar every time, you’re going to feel successful.” -- Leah T.

LEAH’S QUESTION

“What is your pre-show ritual?”

Leah’s Answer: “I like to be very strategic about when I have my coffee drink. I love getting cappuccinos. I love drinking a coffee on the way to a show in the car or if there’s a lot of downtime loading into the venue and then going to get a coffee.”


Leah T on the Wilde Musicians Podcast - Cha Wilde - January 2019-10_WEB.jpg
Leah T on the Wilde Musicians Podcast - Cha Wilde - January 2019-13_WEB.jpg

HOW TO BE A GOOD FAN

1) Go buy a cappuccino. Take a selfie with your drink, post it and tag Leah! @leahtous
2) Listen to Leah’s record: Feeling Things. Send her a message. Tell her what your favorite song is.
3) Watch Leah’s music video “High” (men applying lip balm!)

FOLLOW LEAH T
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

Screenshot at Mar 29 11-57-08.png

TRANSCRIPT

DOWNLOAD Transcript PDF

0-10 MINUTES

We rave about how awesome Seattle is.

“As a musician, a lot of what we do is about your network and who you know.” -- Leah T.

“Apart from being a rockstar, I’m also a part-time dog walker.” -- Leah T.

“If you need me to play something in G around a campfire, I gotch you.” -- Leah T.
Leah T and the Baked Goods
Special K Bar | Recipe

Leah hands out homemade Special K bars at her shows, free with purchase at the merch table.
The Office

“I don’t smoke weed mom, but always compare myself to smokers in my snacking abilities. I can get down with stoner friends just because I’m the same level at them….I am not smoking but I am hungry always.” -- Leah T.

Leah’s music is upbeat, soul pop, electric piano and piano. She creates arrangements and brings them to her band to collaborate. This is why she works with people she really admires.

10-20 MINUTES

Capitol Cider’s Open Jam
❤ Alex Dyring - Bassist
Cole Schuster - Guitar
Nick Drummond - Singer-Songwriter
❤ Ehssan Karimi
Ayron Jones
McTuff
Low Cut Connie
Berklee College of Music
Katie Kuffel

“I like working with other musicians in different styles of music. I feel like it gives me a lot of ideas for own stuff and just to hear what other people are coming up with.” -- Leah T.

Lyle
Tractor Tavern
❤ Erin Rae and the Heartbeets
Headwaves
Purple Mane - Prince Tribute Band
❤ Grace Love
❤ Hotels
❤ Fine Prince
Arthur James
Lana McMullen

“You have to be really active in the scene and always constantly meeting people and soliciting yourself if (you want to play in lots of bands).” -- Leah T.

“The magic is definitely in the people being themselves.” - Cha Wilde

20-30 MINUTES

“For a long time I didn’t really consider the cohesiveness of my brand and I was basically like, ‘I wrote this song and I wrote this song and I wrote this song, I wrote them all so obviously this is my sound and this is Leah T. but then was I was  putting this recording together I actually just combed through everything and tried to package it into something that made more sense from start to finish. There were a few songs that went through a big rewrite and rearrange. From a marketing standpoint, if someone were to listen to it, they would know exactly what they are listening to.” -- Leah T.

Rover - Dog Walking’s Uber

In addition to gigs, Leah makes money by playing in a church gig on the weekend, teaching 20 music students and she accompanies a high-school choir.

“I value what I do and I value what other artists and there are very few scenarios when artists shouldn’t be making money for what they are doing.” -- Leah T

Josh Feit -- Poetry about transit
The Stranger

“We don’t make music to make money. We make money to make more music. To me that sounded like music as a hobby and I value music as a career. I don’t want to be making money from somewhere else just so I can make more music… It’s really detrimental to the music industry when musicians don’t value their art in a monetary form. It devalues the rest of us.” -- Leah T.

Diana Ross

In college, Leah studied Piano Performance and Music Business.

McNalley Smith College of Music

30-40 MINUTE

Whitney Houston

Studying piano performance provided Leah with amazing connections in the music industry. Studying music business gave her a business-savvy mindset that many artists don’t have; everything from knowing how to write a press release to branding.

Piece of music Leah’s currently learning: Frans List (??) Pianist

Leah’s Upright Piano, 1903 Cabinet Grand, Named Nancy

Leah’s New Record: Feeling Things

40-50 MINUTES

“The dream is to be constantly playing with people who are better than us and have a bigger audience because I think it’s really hard to expand on your own and stay in Seattle and expand your fan base. Most of my fans at this point are musicians...I think that’s hard too because musicians can’t be your main audience because they’re busy too. I need to tap into some of the regular folks too who want to see music.” -- Leah

QUESTION CARD (randomly chosen by Leah)

“What do you want out of a performance? Why are you on stage? What are you getting?”
--
Katie Kuffel (Episode #7)

“I always want to connect with my audience in a meaningful way. I think there’s no greater feeling and while you want to be in a full room of people, I’ve been in full rooms, sold out rooms and felt no connection with people. And then I’ve been in rooms with five people in the audience and they were giving me their undivided attention and they were really going to this place where I was going. I think numbers are irrelevant at that point. I just want to be able to affect people with what I’m doing and I want people to get it and feel things if they want to feel things. Most of what I want them to feel is ‘groovy, this is cool.’” -- Leah T.

“I say stupid things sometimes (on stage) and then I can’t back out of it and then I just go with it.” -- Leah T.

“As a consumer and as an audience member, it’s really really important when they approach you afterwards and tell you these things. I hate saying that artists need validation but...I think it’s really important to make that connection with the artists. If you appreciate what someone is doing, please let them know and send them a message afterwards.” -- Leah T.

Cha documents / saves all the messages people send her. She puts them into a notebook so she can reflect on them in hard times to lift her spirits.  

“There are so many instances where I’m stressed out about a show...or it’s hard to motivate yourself to go do it and get it done and then the second you’re up there and you finish your set, you’re like ‘Oh yah, I love this, it feels so good.’” -- Leah T.

“Because I play with some many different projects, it becomes that much more special when I get to play my music for people, with my band.” -- Leah T.

50-60 MINUTES

“At first everything is scary.” -- Cha Wilde

“Performing in yoga studios is like performance bootcamp.” -- Cha Wilde

@philstogramm

“I just like to be surrounded by good people and work with good people.” -- Leah T.

“Working with people who don’t respect you and treat you poorly...There’s no reason to be involved with people who can’t treat you with proper human decency...I felt very devalued when I’m making time for a project and putting in all the effort that I’m able to put in and then feel not appreciated...As a musician you’re going to work with people who have egos and who think that they are above everyone they work with. The truth is they need us too. It’s hard when you show up for a gig and you’re on time and you do your job and you’re kind and you don’t feel like you’re getting that same thing back. It feels like a relationship (that) I should have gotten out of a long time ago.” -- Leah T. (explaining a toxic relationship with bands)

“Bands are life. It’s all interpersonal relationships.” -- Leah T.

60-70 MINUTES

How do you measure success? -- Bug Hunter (Episode #10)

“I always want to be happy with what I’m doing...You can’t be successful and thriving if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. There are very tangible things that you can measure your success in, like when you set goals. When I released my album but and put my release party together, that felt like a success. That was a very visual, measurable thing. I’m always going to have those types of goals that if we pull it off I will feel successful. There’s a mindset, being happy with what you’re achieving… You’re successful if you’re always still reaching and if you’re always trying to level up in what you do and you never plateau and you never quit. You have to be looking for the next thing and as long as you’re setting out to do that and raise the bar every time, you’re going to feel successful.” -- Leah T.

Cha compares life goals to mountain climbing and rock climbing; celebrate the small accomplishments that go into the bigger accomplishments.

“Big successes are made up of little successes.” -- Cha Wilde

QUESTION FOR OTHER MUSICIANS

“What is your pre-show ritual?”

Leah’s answer:
“I like to be very strategic about when I have my coffee drink. I love getting cappuccinos. I love drinking a coffee on the way to a show in the car or if there’s a lot of downtime loading into the venue and then going to get a coffee.”

WHAT TO DO NOW / HOW TO BE A GOOD FAN:
1) Go buy a cappuccino. Take a selfie with your drink, post it and tag Leah!
2) Listen to Leah’s record: Feeling Things. Send her a message. Tell her what your favorite song is.
3) Watch Leah’s music video “High” (men applying lip balm!)

Lip Balm Sponsors
Moon Valley Organics
Fading Frontier Trading Co.


Episode Recorded: Jan 25, 2019
Location: Leah’s Home in West Seattle
Episode Released: March 28, 2019

PodcastChaComment