We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Keane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk taking is essential for success. Every time you put yourself out of your comfort zone you have the opportunity to grow. I adamantly believe though that if you can, take calculated risks. Give yourself the time to research, seek advice and devise a plan. I took my biggest risk in 2016: I was working for a Contracting Management Firm just a year out of college, enjoying the steady income and independence it gave me. On all accounts I was on the right track, yet I felt extraordinarily unfulfilled. I wanted to pursue music. I justified my seemingly reckless decision by saving up my money and becoming a substitute teacher (so that at least I could work if music didn’t pay the bills). I quit my job and spent the next year learning how to play guitar. I attended open mics and gradually overcame my nerves. I played for little to no money at Farmers Markets and eventually built up my reputation. Now I am hired to perform for private events, weddings, shows, and more! (Not to mention I discovered that I also really enjoy substitute teaching!) My one huge risk cost me some sleepless nights and an uncomfortable year of not knowing what I was doing…but in the end it bought me two new passions and a sense of purpose! Not a bad deal. So if you can, take the risk!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a folk singer/songwriter who plays guitar ukulele and piano. My favorite aspect of music is making connections with people. For this reason, most of my original songs are inspired by personal events in hopes that listeners find them relatable. So if you have a little brother, enjoy gardening, want to get over that ex, or sing about life’s changes please take a listen! I have never been alone in my journey; whether it was Jim Nau helping me in the studio, the amazing patrons of Kettle Coffee and Tea in Escondido cheering me on at open mic nights, Kimberly Moller (my amazing vocal coach), Javier Amezcua my fellow guitarist/best friend, or all of my friends and family, I have found myself constantly motivated and reassured by others. I entered the music scene naïve and with very little confidence. The time people have invested, the advice they have given and the love they have shown me have been priceless. I am dedicated to becoming the best songwriter I can be. I am proud of what I have released so far and always will be! I know though, that through collaboration, study, and practice I will continue to improve my sound and find ways to write songs that hopefully many more will find enjoyable. I am looking forward to performing more this Summer and to release some new music- so stay tuned! I’ve still got a long way to go in my journey and I am so appreciative of all the support I get (Thanks San Diego Voyager!). I hope you find my music to be genuine and thoughtful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your thoughts or suggestions. I love receiving feedback and meeting new people.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I am a little biased. I grew up in Julian so I would want to take my friend there right away. Ok, maybe I would give them a beach day or two first. I would definitely force us to wake up early so we could have our pick of VG Donuts. Later, I would introduce them to some Carne Asada Fries and sit rooftop on a restaurant by the beach in PB. I’d take them to the Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market and let them watch the street performers. We’d spend a day driving up the coast, stopping for lunch at Fish 101 in Leucadia. (As you can tell, food is very important to me). Once they got a good tan, I’d take them east to the little town I love most: Julian. We would go in and out of the shops, try some of my favorite pies (can’t go wrong no matter which pie shop you choose, but if you haven’t tried California Mountain Bakery in Wynola yet, make a point of stopping next time!). After enjoying town we’d head out to Cuyamaca Lake for a hike and a picnic. Then it would be their choice! Desert adventures? We’d go to Borrego. Historical and educational trip? Let’s spend all day at Balboa Park. We’re so lucky to live in a place full of so many good things!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to make a huge Shoutout to Jim Nau! My mentor, guitar teacher, recording engineer and friend. Jim has given me so much of his time and expertise; there is no way I would be where I am today if he had not believed in my potential. Jim taught me how to play guitar and pushed me to work on my own songs. Nearly all of my original music that you find on Spotify and iTunes was recorded at Blue Horse Studios in Ramona by Jim. He’s an extraordinarily talented musician and engineer. I am so grateful for all of the hours he has spent with me. I was singing for Jim in his studio before I was even comfortable to sing at an open mic. Whether he knew it or not, he was pivotal in helping me get over my insecurities and performance nerves. He helped me grow as a musician and songwriter and has made much of my music career possible. We are both excited for this upcoming Summer! You can find Jim playing guitar for the SoCal based, rock n roll band Stone Horse! I’ll be back to performing as well and hopefully spending more time in the studio with Jim!
Adrian Tapia @adrianthephotographer on instagram Javier Amezcua