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Take Five With Leah Staci Lewis

Leah Staci Lewis By

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Meet Leah Staci Lewis:

A singer based in Trinidad and Tobago, Leah Staci Lewis has found herself drawn to jazz music and is ready to share her gift with the world.

Instrument(s):

Voice.

Teachers and/or influences?

I've been influenced most strongly by Sarah Vaughan; I love her style of singing and her vocal talent. Ella Fitzgerald was so untouchable, she could manipulate melodies like no other. I also strongly admire Shirley Bassey, not a jazz singer, but an unstoppable force nonetheless...classy, sophisticated, confident. My musical training is classical. Jazz on the other hand, somehow comes naturally. I believe it is God's gift.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I found myself being happier on stage than in an office/laboratory. Singing gives me the most joy, I give it my all and my shell is removed.

Your sound and approach to music:

My approach? Music must have meaning. Once there is meaning to it, both lyrically and musically, and you are able to touch someone on the inside, you've done your job. I suppose that's why people find my singing to be soulful and my performances so storytelling.

Your dream band:

I've always wanted to perform with a full orchestra...whatever the song.

Favorite venue:

So far, my favorite venue is Queen's Hall. Everything's simple yet ideal. I'm looking forward to my performance at the Little Carib Theatre soon. The acoustics there are very nice and the setting is cozy and intimate.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I haven't recorded my own music yet. It is still in the making. For now at least, I'll say I do enjoy my cover of "My Funny Valentine." I recorded it in one shot since I had restricted studio time.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I think that with the pace of mainstream music today, and the commercialism surrounding young musicians, my contribution may serve as a reminder that sensibility still exists.

Did you know...

My debut was as a calypso singer when I was eight years old in primary school. I sang lead and had three little "backups..."we placed second in that competition, out of about fifteen competitors.

What is in the near future?

I'm preparing to stage my very first concert, entitled "Jazz is Here!," this coming May, God willing. It's my first major step into the eyes of Trinidad and Tobago and the world at large. It is a challenge. A test of mind and spirit, and a chance worth taking.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

Forgetting the words! I always panic about that...sometimes the music starts and my mind goes blank for a second. Thankfully, they mostly come back, and when they don't...instant improvisation!

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Doctor. That has been my dream since I was five years old...never wanted to be anything else. Life hasn't led me there though, and so if I'm not singing, I would be making a contribution towards the improvement of public health.

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