Introducing: Leah Tess

by Chelsea Lee

Back from her year abroad down under, Leah Tess is back in the game; with her acoustic guitar at hand and beautiful vocals, she is ready to add a dulcet dash of folk-pop into the Exeter music scene.

Having received a second-hand guitar from her grandmother at the age of 10, Leah has been performing since the age of 13 and has partaken in countless open mic sessions in London since the age of 16. She has always loved song writing and writes her songs based around love and personal experiences. One of her original songs, Silver Line, is about her reaching an epiphany through her exploration and search for her own identity.

Here is a short interview I did with Leah Tess:

During your session with Xpression, I found out that you liked reggae and artists like Bob Dylan and Ben Howard. Would you say they were your influences and musical aspirations?

I love this guy called The Tallest Man on Earth, he’s not that well-known but I’d say that I’d base my music around that kind of sound, it’s kind of like Ben Howard. I definitely wouldn’t say I base my music around reggae, as much as I love listening to it.

How do you keep inspired?

When I went to Sydney, I went travelling around Asia. So that was a year of travelling — that definitely kept me inspired. Just seeing new things, meeting new people, hearing people’s stories, that’s really inspiring. Just people I guess, are the biggest influence.

Did you do a lot of performing whilst you were in Australia?

I took my guitar travelling around Asia and in Australia. I was just playing anywhere I could. I played on a boat in Halong Bay, up a mountain in Cambodia and things like that. I did a bit of busking in Hanoi in Vietnam which was really cool. I played with a friend and people got quite excited and in Sydney I did a lot of open mics.

What is up next for your music— what is the next big thing you have planned?

I am going to music school next September, which I guess is the next big thing. I am looking for a career in music so I am hoping that that will give me a really good grounding for song writing, and will hopefully open up a lot more opportunities like networking. I really want to form a band, because ultimately, music does sound better with a piano, drum kit and all that, or hopefully something bigger. I will also be doing some recording at a studio in London for a few hours each month, so hopefully I’ll be able to release some of my songs for people to download and listen to.

What is in store for us at the Firehouse this Sunday?

I am playing with Gabriel, who is in a campus band called Noise Complex and he’s amazing at keys. I am quite excited because we practised the other day and it sounded really good. It should be more upbeat than normal.

Leah Tess will be debuting a few originals as well as playing some older songs in her 45-minute set at the Old Firehouse this Sunday, starting from 9:30pm. Be sure to make your way down there for some sweet tunes, pizza and cider! And don’t forget to give her Facebook page, Leah Tess, a like for more information on upcoming gigs!