Featured Artist: Leigh Malin
Feautured Songbay Artist: Leigh Malin
This week we pose a few questions to Songbay artist Leigh Malin – a brilliant songwriter, new to Songbay but already enjoying some serious successes with selling and collaborating,,
“How did you get into Songwriting”?
“I started off playing trumpet at school when I was eight years old. My dad talked me into taking up saxophone at ten & I did five years of lessons with a peripatetic teacher. I wasn’t overly interested in the lessons, but spent hours listening to my favourite records after school, notably Motown songs.
When I left school aged 15, I took an engineering apprenticeship & knew quickly it wasn’t for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but i knew it wasn’t that! Nobody had ever told me it was possible to earn money through music & I didn’t know anyone who actually made a living from it.
My interest in music continued and from the early nineties, I got involved with various bands, gigging and making a few quid here and there. I joined a wedding band in 1995 & started earning a reasonable wage out of music for the first time.
I’d wanted to create my own music long before then, but wasn’t computer literate & had no idea about programming. Eventually I bought a PC which had a copy of ‘Reason’ pre-installed, & knew straight away I’d get along with it. That was the beginning for me, it gave me the facility to put sound to my ideas.
“Where did you study songwriting?”
Pretty much in my bedroom! No official studies, just trying things hands on & working things out for myself.
“Your musical influences?”
I have so many influences in music. I love latin music, Juan Luis Guerra & The Gipsy Kings. I love reggae artists like UB40, Gappy Ranks & Alborosie.
I really like The Christians, Paul Young, Bowie, Level 42 & older bands like The Moody Blues & The Beatles.
I listen to a lot of jazz players too, like Ronnie Cuber, Jan Garbarek, Joshua Redman & Bob Berg. I’ll listen to classical sometimes, it’s great to hear the strings & arrangements they use.
“Your achievements as a songwriter?”
I’m new to the concept of writing songs for anything other than my own listening, but I recently sold my song “Held By You” through Songbay, to Adelaide artist Ravie Varmaan, who released it as a single on June 23rd this year. I generally record my own guide vocals on my songs & I’m no singer, so to hear a finished product with a vocalist like Ravie fronting it, is a very proud feeling.
“Success at Songbay?”
I’ve not been a member for very long, but after a quiet start, I’ve started getting some interest in my songs.
I’ve done a collaboration, sold a few mp3’s & made a friend on the other side of the planet in Ravie Varmaan, who I’ll be continuing to work with in the future. It’s exciting & I’m looking forward to see where this will lead.
“People you’ve performed or collaborated with?”
I’ve been around a bit so far as performing & recording goes. I’ve played on two of ‘The Specials albums’, two Lee “Scratch” Perry albums, one of which won the Grammy award in the reggae category (Jamaican E.T) in 2002 & the final album of Manchester band Puressence, amongst others.
In terms of performing, I’ve played with The Selecter, The Beat, The Specials, Hazel O’connor, Carleen Anderson, Dave & Ansell Collins, Judy Collins, Carol Decker, Brian Eno, UB40 & too many others to remember.
I’ve been involved with a lot of projects with Coventry producer Roger Lomas & also German producer Zeus B Held.
“Favorite artists and why?”
It’s impossible for me to pinpoint my single favourite artist, but if i was stuck on a desert island with a just an iPod, I’d want Jan Garbarek, Juan Luis Guerra, Ronnie Cuber & anything with Pino Palladino playing fretless.
Between those, I’d survive! All outstanding at what they do.
“Thoughts on the music Industry?”
I’ve noticed in recent years, there’s quite a lot of anger & aggression in the lyrics of songs that play on daytime radio. I associate hearing music more with positive feelings, although thats not to say lyrics shouldn’t project a serious message.
I like some of the newer artists who are finding success at the moment, people like Christine & the Queens, Rag n Bone Man & London Grammar. They’re all a little bit different from the run of the mill mainstream stuff.
“Thoughts about Songbay?”
I’d been considering trying to sell some of my work for a while & found Songbay through an internet search. I’ve found the site to be just what I was hoping for. There are plenty of people from the industry looking for the products that we are hoping to sell & I’m sure there are many success stories that have played out through using Songbay.
I have found the site easy to use & the staff to be helpful whenever I’ve made contact asking for help. All in all, it’s a great platform for allowing people to listen to the ideas we create.”
Take a listen to Leigh’s songs at Songbay and feel free to get in contact with him for any writing or collaboration requests.