Leah Turner's debut single "Take The Keys" grabbed radio listeners and introduced her as one of country's most compelling new female artists. Her distinctive voice can be heard on her latest single, and third release from her debut EP, "My Finger." Currently on tour with Brad Paisley, Leah took some time to chat with us about the single, being a fresh female voice and her essential travel items.
Your newest single, the sassy and strong “My Finger,” seems poised to be a hit. What is the backstory to that song?
That song is a true story. It really is my anthem to not cheat. Guys and girls, we all have rings we can give back. I gave mine back and wrote “My Finger.”
"My Finger" is on your debut EP, which was released earlier this year. You had a hand in writing all five tracks. Was it important for you to write for the record?
Yes, I love songwriting. I write for other artists as well and actually had a publishing deal before I had a record deal. It's very important to me to have my voice come through the lyrics in the songs. I do like to co-write, but if there is an outside cut, I always look at it as if I wrote it, so that when I sing it, it feels like it came from within me.
Sirius XM and their listeners have given you and your music a lot of love. In fact, you were recently included as one of their Fresh Female Voices. What does their support mean to you?
Well, it means everything. Being featured as one of their Fresh Female Voices, along with other talented females, and having them play us with numerous spins over the next few weeks, means a lot. They are taking a step out and putting some gusto behind us. I appreciate both their and mainstream radio’s support. “Take The Keys” was a top 40 single and I am so grateful that people are wrapping their arms around me and my music.
What are your thoughts on the state of female artists in the industry today?
Everything definitely goes through cycles, you know. It can be rough out there, but the support I have had has meant so much to me. There are so many amazing women making music. I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing, gaining new fans and supporting one another; then we’ll be unstoppable
Currently you are out on tour with Brad Paisley. How has the tour been going and have you been pranked?
It’s a dream come true. I definitely feel very blessed to be on the tour, especially as a female. It’s a lot of fun and Brad and his crew are great; they always take care of us.
I have not been and I have not pranked Brad. I think Brad is very respectful of the female artists and does not prank them. I personally wouldn't mind, but I love and appreciate the fact that he puts that respect out there.
How has crowd reaction been to your performance and which of your songs have been getting the biggest reaction?
I find that you never know what’s going to happen when you are a new artist and you walk out in front of people, especially when they are there to see Brad. It has been wonderful though. His fans have really embraced me! It’s really cool because Brad allows us to put on the best show we can, using the whole stage, the sides and video, which I think has a lot to do with the crowd’s response, because we can really interact with them.
“Take The Keys” is the most familiar song, so it gets a great reaction, but when I sing “My Finger,” by the second chorus everyone is holding their finger in the air and roaring. It’s a song that really hits home with people.
You have said that you build memories around songs. Is there one song for you that you have built memories upon?
When I was a little girl my parents would listen to The Judds and I remember singing “Love Can Build A Bridge.” I wanted to sound like Wynonna and Naomi! The lyrics in that song are still true you know, because kindness and love go a long way.
Also, I remember sitting in the car, in the middle of my mom and dad when we would drive from rodeo to rodeo, singing Garth Brooks "Two of A Kind."
Recently you tweeted a photo of your suitcases and their contents. If you had to narrow it down to just one carry on, what would it contain?
If I had to narrow it down I wouldn’t go on the trip!! I’d quit! (laughing) Just kidding! Well, I would need a bra, cowboy boots, my favorite t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Oh and tinted moisturizer!
You have such a terrific style. Is there one brand in particular that you like to wear?
Oh no there isn't just one, but on this tour Haute Hippie supplied me with amazing clothes and Jet Jeans out of LA, which really are my favorite jeans, supplied me with amazing jeans. I love things that look fancy, but also like you just threw it on. I like a little bit of grit and glamour; to look like you can go and hang with the boys, but having an extra sparkle.
There have been so many big moments for you this year, has there been one specific highlight?
There have been so many highlights this year including signing a record deal, having my first single in the Top 40, being on tour with Brad and getting to know my fans. Being able to rock out and feel the love and know that the words I wrote inspired people makes every day a highlight.
What’s next for you when the tour winds down?
Well, I am writing and will go back in and finish up the full length record, which will be out next year. I will be doing some fun radio shows and looking at tours for next year to continue this fun ride.
You are incredibly active on social media. It seems you really enjoy interacting with your fans and are so appreciative of them.
I think social media is a way that you can touch people without actually touching them. I am so appreciative of the fans for their support, their time and their kind words. There are fans that tell me they drove many hours just to see me perform, it's unreal and I am so thankful.
Finally, what are you listening to in your downtime?
I’ve been listening to Miley Cyrus’s record. Put the tongue and all that to the side and she really is an amazing singer. I love Brandy Clark’s record too; she is just unbelievable! And David Nail, I mean, he is just a heck of a singer!
For more information visit Leah's official website
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Purchase her EP here