- Annette Dawm
First Things First with Leah Daniels
Leah Daniels is a singer-songwriter from Uxbridge, ON who can also be described as an entrepreneur. “It's an ongoing hustle but it's like starting any business…. my business is music and I have to work hard to get my music out there. You have to be able to wear many hats. I do promo, graphic design, social media, video editing, book the band, apply for grants etc. It's a lot, but I love what I do and when I get to sing on stage it makes it all worth it,” she explained.
As mentioned, Leah runs all of her own social media accounts and has been nominated four times for “Interactive Artist of the Year” at The CCMA Awards. Currently, Leah is tied with Brett Kissel for the most nominations in this category. This comes as no surprise since Daniels has over 7000 followers on Instagram! YouTube has also been a huge platform for Leah to not only share her music videos, but also her ideas and daily life in her vlogs (video blogs). This is not something she does just for fun. As with going into any other career, Leah has been very determined to educate herself and improve her skills in order to get her music to as many people as possible:
“In the beginning, social media and the internet were the only tools I had to get my music out there and for new artists, now more than ever, we are so lucky to have it. It really evens the playing field. Early on, I started posting YouTube covers and vlogging. I had some friends that were quite popular on YouTube that taught me how to develop an audience. I used to go to YouTube conventions to learn as much as I could! I guess I fell in love with it and the instant connection I could have with people all over the world.”
Offline, Leah had some great hands-on experience as a new artist when she and Ryan Laird opened for Alan Jackson in 2012. She recalled some of her best memories from that tour: “That was such an amazing experience. I got to travel on a tour bus for the first time and take in what life is like on the road playing to sold out arenas. Alan is a country legend. He sings hit after hit and has everyone in the palm of his hand. He's not a showy performer. You won’t see him running around the stage, but he can stand and sing and tell a story. His songs stand the test of time and to me, that is the goal-- to write timeless music.”
Today, Daniels is experiencing even more firsts in her life, especially with her new single, “1st”. She hoped that the song would connect with people and take them “on a trip down memory lane where they can fondly remember some of the special firsts in their lives.”
Shortly before 1st was released, Leah also collaborated with Eric Ethridge for the first time on their cover of Dan + Shay’s single, “Tequila”. Daniels said that she and Ethridge had “wanted to do a duet for a long time” and that Tequila was the “perfect” fit for them. “We recorded, filmed the video and had it out in a matter of days.... We're definitely planning to sing it together at some shows this summer! We knew we loved the song, but we were so surprised when it took off the way it did!” The music video for the duet has now reached over 51 500 views on Eric’s YouTube channel! It was also a collaboration between Leah and her boyfriend, Tim Deegan. Daniels and Deegan edited the video together and Deegan also took on the role of videographer. However, this was not a first, as Tim has directed many of Leah’s music videos before.
Regarding their teamwork, Daniels explained, “I really enjoy working with Tim and I think it works because we really respect each other’s creativity. Yes, it can be challenging at times but only because we push each other and want to make our work as good as possible. I'm very fortunate he lets me be so involved in every part of the process.”
Whether she is working with others or independently throughout her music career, Leah Daniels is sure to have many more firsts, including her first new album in three years, which is to be released on May 25, 2018. In order for other people to have their own “firsts” in the music industry, Leah advised, “Work on your craft first. Play as much as you can, write all the time, get good-- really good. I truly believe luck is ‘preparation meets opportunity’, so you want to be ready when your big moment comes. Also, apply to FACTOR, it will force you to create a marketing plan and take your music career seriously.” She also credited The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) as something that the country artists of this province are “very fortunate to have”.
For more information, please visit leahdaniels.com.
Photo by Annette Dawm.
To see more photos of Leah, click here.