Strip away that tender giggle, the soft-spoken small-town gentleness or even those old-school manners: beneath it all, Laura Leighe is a downright fiery spirit. “At heart I’m a good housewife, just with a little twist,” says the firebrand of a breaking pop singer who is turning heads — and, more importantly, ears — with her undeniable pulsing, four-on-the-floor brand of dance pop that combines a lifelong love of old school, rich harmonies, keys and brass with a new age knack for infectious dance beats. “It’s just fun and exciting to be me right now, bringing magical music to life,” she says, one of her patented Oklahoma-bred chuckles ever so slightly escaping her grasp.
It’s hard to disagree: Leighe is quickly becoming an in-demand pop starlet, a must-have staple sound on both club and radio DJ’s playlists across the globe. Her breakout single, “Boys Just Wanna Have Fun,” an electro-swing-anchored adrenaline shot of head-bobbing mania she describes as “a girl...or boy-power anthem, that I wrote with the vision of making the dance floor explode with people being free, celebrating who they truly are and feeling free of judgement and insecurities," has recently exploded on the UK dance-club scene; it marks a career-defining moment for the burgeoning Leighe, an emotionally mature woman, who has traversed the oft-choppy terrain of a make-it-at-all-costs musician. “The journey is long but yet I’m thankful for the time I’ve had to form a great foundation,” says Leighe, who lives in Los Angeles and writes and produces her music with her husband. “My husband gave me the courage and broadened my horizons to what I could be and to shoot for higher and a bigger audience than I ever thought I’d be able to with my quirkier taste in music.”
“We were trying to create something very new and fresh,” Leighe continues of herself and her musical collaborators embracing a lifetime love of pop music then weaving it together with a tried-and-true passion for Fifties-era doo-wop music and emotionally raw indie-music. “I’m always trying to tie in those old harmonies from my show-choir days with more new-age, crazy hip-hop and dance beats,” she explains. “Bringing throwback sounds to life with beats that make me dance and go crazy is like watching a classic film in technicolor...so alive! … like I'm channeling the divas of the golden age with a new swag.”
It’s no surprise then to hear Leighe unleashing more nuanced takes on what has come to define contemporary radio pop. Take “Cherry On Top,” for example, in which Leighe compares her fellow females to different drinks, from the sultry to the sweet. It’s all slathered with 1940’s-esque undulating saxophone lines, Leighe skittering her harmonic vocals atop a bouncing beat. “It’s so me,” she says unapologetically of the effortless-sounding cut. Or “Make ‘Em Like You,” a jazz-infected, scat-soaked feminist anthem that’s equal parts praise for her own man and lament over the death of chivalry. “It’s really sad that there are a lot of guys in the world that are not men,” Leighe says of the message behind the Dr. Freak-produced banger, which she describes as a stylistic mix between “Sinatra, almost vintage show tune-style swing and Nineties throwback hip-hop. “They don’t step up and be the gentleman that they should be,” she offers of many modern-day men. “A lot of my friends can’t find a good guy, so it makes me want to celebrate the knights in shining armor out there.” Even “Swanky,” which the singer says combines “ Old Vegas with California vibes in the Twenties and Thirties,” is decidedly Laura’s own.
Finding a musical sweet spot has been a multi-year process for Leighe, but she says she’s never felt more in tune with the songs she’s delivering to her growing fanbase. “I’ve always known that in the battle between an indie artist that does what they want and a mega pop-star there’s somewhere in the middle that brings both those amazing choruses that make you feel elated and also speaks to your soul with incredible composition, and inspired lyrics.”
The road to Leighe’s ever promising, personally fulfilling present has been a long and winding one. Raised in the small town of Duncan, Oklahoma, the ambitious child began taking vocal lessons at age 11; she won her first national singing competition at age 14. “I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to hit Nashville or L.A. immediately, but I knew it was what I was called to do, and honed my craft where I was planted,” she says of her longtime musical ambitions. After majoring in vocal-music education at the University of Oklahoma and subsequently releasing an album under her maiden name, Laura Gossett, Leighe moved to Los Angeles with her now-husband to go full-force in her pursuit of a career as a recording artist.
It was in her decision though to move back home for a few years to Oklahoma circa-2010, play the small-town bar circuit and refine her chops that Leighe says helped propel her to new heights when returning to LA two years ago. “There was no pressure to be in fancy studios and we were able to create something that was ours and what we were passionate about,” she says affectionally of she and her husband’s time spent back away from the hustle of big-city living.”
Now Leighe, who is busy working on her debut album. which she hopes to release early next year, has her eyes set on the future. From touring Europe and the States to releasing a slew of new singles, the journey woman of a blossoming starlet is undoubtedly cashing in on a lifetime of hard work and patience. “I’m a chill person,” Leighe says. “Maybe too chill and too patient sometimes,” she adds with a laugh. “But I do what I love, and just enjoy life along the way. I’m so thankful for that.”