We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Ashton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, why did you pursue a creative career?
If you take a deep dive into my family’s collection of home videos on VHS, there’s footage of my 5th birthday party where I’m asked what I want to be when I grow up. I confidently answer “a singer!”, and I can honestly tell you that nothing has changed in the 29 years since then. I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in making music and have never seriously considered a different path. I believe I’ve been given the gift of music, which can bring so much joy to others, so it would be a disservice to that gift to not try and use it to its fullest potential. While a creative career is not without its challenges, I love that every day is different and that I have the flexibility to take advantage of different types of gig work. Working as a singer/musician means I get to share pieces of my heart and soul with people for a living, which I think is a pretty great way to spend my days!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As with most folks who pursue a creative career, I have to wear many hats. I’ve spent more than a decade working in LA as a wild combination of singer/musician/artist/songwriter/teacher/music and vocal director/studio session singer/background singer/live performer/etc. And after facing the challenges of attempting to do much of this work from home and/or online over the past year and a half, it’s been so wonderful to be able to get back to doing things in-person again. Singing in front of a real audience, being back in a real studio (not a makeshift one in my closet at home…), or seeing my students in real life again for the first time in so long has truly felt like a breath of fresh air.
One of the “hats” I am most excited to be wearing right now is that of the singer-songwriter/artist. I am working towards releasing my first full-length album of original music that is set to be released in early 2022.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Showing friends and family around LA is so much fun for me! I live in Atwater Village, and I love all that the east side of LA has to offer. I would start things out with a hike at Griffith Park (Bee Rock and Captain’s Roost are two of my favorite trails) and of course you’ve got to stop by the Observatory while you’re up there. Next would be coffee and boutique browsing in Silver Lake and then pizza at Masa or flaming margaritas at El Compadre (or both?) in Echo Park. A stop in at The Dresden in Los Feliz for a dip back into the world of mid-century Hollywood is also a must. For a little bit of LA history and a taste of Downtown, I would venture over to Olvera Street and Grand Central Market (can’t forget to take a ride on Angels Flight Railway!). And a visit to LA wouldn’t be complete without hitting the beach, so Paradise Cove in Malibu would be at the top of my beach day list. The options are endless!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a Shoutout to Malynda Hale, an LA based singer, actress, podcaster, activist, and business owner who also happens to by my friend! I’ve had the pleasure of singing with her over the years and being part of her company, JMV Entertainment.
Anna Azarov Photography, Jim Brock Photography, Debbie Lefever