One of Canada's top rising country artists, Leah Daniels first gained acclaim with her track “Go Back” which skyrocketed into the top 20 at Canadian Radio and won her the CRMA (Canadian Radio Music Award) as the 2016 FACTOR Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Hailing from Uxbridge Ontario, Daniels has quickly made inroads within the industry. She's received four nominations for CCMA Interactive Artist of the Year, has garnered over 1.9 Million views on YouTube, and won the 2016 Country Music Association of Ontario Female Artist of the Year. She's also taken to the stage key festivals including CMT Fest, Boots & Hearts and Big Valley Jamboree.
Learn more about our Modern Artist below:
What inspired you to become a singer/songwriter?
I've always loved singing. I grew up in a very musical family. At every family get together there was music...fiddles, guitars, accordions. I fell in love and haven't looked back ever since.
Name three of your key influences:
Sarah McLachlan, Shania Twain, Thomas Rhett.
Did you think your three-song demo “No Escape” would slide you in the country music world and how did you handle the transition?
When I released my first demo "No Escape" it wasn't country at all. I was really into Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys at the time and was going for more of a Pop/ RnB thing. But there was one song on that demo, "Perfect World" that people would tell me could almost be a country song. That really got my wheels spinning. I was in a real discovery phase and trying to figure out who I was musically. I did more writing and co-writing and found my voice in the country genre. It was a very natural progression.
What was the absolute first thing that you thought when you won 2016 Country Music Association of Ontario Female Artist of the Year?
Ah! Omg! now I actually have to get up and SAY something! It was an incredible moment to be recognized by your peers in the industry was an amazing feeling. I was so overwhelmed and grateful.
Do you write lyrics or music first?
I tend to write a melody or come up with a chord progression on the piano first, then I tackle lyrics. Lyrics can take longer, I'm constantly trying to see if I can make a line stronger. There's been times we've added last minute tweaks in the studio while I'm recording my final vocals.
What's been the most significant obstacle to overcome in your career?
Country radio. It's a very tough cookie to crack especially as an independent artist. I am so grateful that I was able to get a top 20 single with "Go Back"! I'm hoping I can top it with my new album.
How do you give back to others in the music community?
I sing at a lot of charity events both locally and across Canada but one of my favourite things is encourage young musicians to pursue their dreams. I help run a talent showcase called "Rock The Bridge" in my hometown Uxbridge. It gives aspiring singers a chance to perform on a big stage with a full band and I help coach all the finalists. I wouldn't' be doing what I am without the encouragement I had from my community so It's so rewarding for me to give back in the same way.
Do you do any mentoring/coaching for up and coming singer/songwriters?
I teach piano and voice and coach young vocalists in the studio. My job is to make sure they feel relaxed, comfortable and provide guidance so that they can give their best performance.
What one song could you listen to on repeat for 60 minutes?
All Night Long - Lionel Richie; It's the song that I play if life is getting crazy, or I'm feeling stressed! Instant vacation in four minutes.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am so proud of what I have accomplished as an independent artist with my small yet mighty team. It can be extremely challenging and I have to wear many hats, but it's so rewarding.
What advice do you have for others?
Work your craft, whether its singing, playing, performing or writing. Try to get as much experience as you can so you are prepared and ready for when an opportunity comes your way. Also check out FACTOR. We are so fortunate in Canada to have organizations like FACTOR that provide financial support for our artists.
Which province would you vacation in for 10 days?
I LOVE going out east so the Maritimes is my choice. I love the people, lifestyle, the music and the food.
I've never been as far as Newfoundland but I've heard it's best to make that a trip in itself. So I'd have to say Newfoundland.