By Nicholas Jason Lopez
In Summer 2019, on the rooftop of a random five-story Brooklyn walkup with a makeshift bar, complete with $3 drinks and $1 hot dogs, pop performer Leah Voysey was nervous, flanked by a full band instead of just an acoustic guitar for the first time ever.
“A lot of people were dancing [and] these people had never heard my music before, but when the chorus came back around and they heard it for the second time, a lot of them were hearing the lyrics and trying to sing them back, which I thought was pretty cool, having never heard the song before, so that was pretty memorable,” said Voysey. “I didn’t know what to expect going into it because we didn’t even get the location of it until the day before, so it was kind of hard to invite people and explain to them where to go. You had to use a door code to get in. It literally was just a normal apartment building. The bathroom was [in] someone’s apartment. It was as Brooklyn as it gets, but it was so much fun.”
Voysey regularly involves topics like sexuality, drugs and depression in her music to create lyrics that compel her listeners and serve as the base for her powerful voice. For her, vulnerability makes her more relatable. With interesting style and uniqueness a celebrated trait in current mainstream pop by way of artists like Billie Eilish, Maggie Rodgers and Bishop Briggs, she wants to follow their steps.
“I want to be unique and I want to be myself, so I want to model myself after these people,” Voysey said. “I’m not pulling their sounds, but I’m trying to be inspired by the fact that they’re so much themselves that I also want to just do what I want to do and make my sound my own.”
The music video for her single “Poison” premiered on YouTube on May 7, 2019. The video, shot all in one day and one space, was directed by Voysey’s best friend, Diana Weismann, who came up with the idea of an exploration into a person’s two different sides.
“It’s kind of exploring the light and the dark sides of you and the hands are supposed to be the dark side, where you have all of these outside forces coming in and trying to influence you and you’re sitting there trying to be yourself and trying to do what’s right for you, but there’s just so much outside noise and demons trying to bring in negativity,” Voysey said. “The song is about trying to relieve yourself of that negativity and the video is about struggling to relieve that negativity.”
Her next single, “Keep It To Yourself,” was released on July 26, 2019. Voysey described the single as one where she “explores the allure of a sexy secret romance between two people.” The track was was produced by Andrea Morgan and featured an appearance from Voysey’s band guitar player, Zach Cornhauser, who added some rock inspirations.
“It’s not a love story, but I think it’s kind of fun to explore that type of relationship,” said Voysey. “I feel like a lot of my songs are kind of in that same vein where I’m not really talking about long-term relationships or loving relationships, but I’m talking more about the fleeting emotions that you get from someone that you maybe know for a couple of months and kind of how that can be powerful as well over these long-term relationships.”
Voysey was also involved in the Tallie Festival, a two-day all-female headliner event that celebrated women at the Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Nov. 22-23, 2019.
“I think that it’s important to give females a platform and I love the idea of doing an all female festival two days in a row, so I’m pretty excited that they asked me to be a part of it,” said Voysey.
On Dec. 27, 2019, Voysey put out a new song called “Phoenix,” which was a part of Telegraph Hill Records’ second compilation album.
“It’s fun to put out your music with other people because we put it on a playlist and you can sit down and listen to the whole thing, a nice little community that we have there doing that sort of thing,” Voysey said.
Voysey is currently at work on an album, which will include a track called “Part Time Lover,” which she felt was her most meaningful song because it was her oldest one and with an added twist that she collaborated with her prom date on it, though years after prom.
“We wrote that together and I thought that that was kind of fun to collaborate with someone else,” Voysey said. “I think it’s the only one on the album that I worked on lyrically with someone, so I think it gives a different perspective to the song and it’s really tight and I feel like every time I play it out, that’s the one that people point out and they say, ‘I really liked that one.'”
Another standout track for her is “I Don’t Cry Anymore,” which is about coming to terms with the end of a long relationship.
“[You’re] getting to the point in your grieving process that you’re still upset and you’re still hurting, but you’re not showing it outwardly anymore,” said Voysey. “It’s kind of more like an internal emotional journey that you get towards the end of the healing process, so that song’s pretty emotional, very, very different from most of the other topics that I talk about.”
No matter what the future may bring, Voysey promises whatever she puts out will always be uniquely her own.
“I just wanna go up on stage and fully be myself and say ‘Hey, if you saw me walking down the street, this is the person you would see,'” said Voysey. “That’s why I do music. I do music to be myself. I’ve been an actress forever and I got so tired of it because I was always stepping into somebody else’s shoes and being somebody else. I still do acting, but music was my way of telling my story, not telling somebody else’s story and I think that extends to your live performances and who you show them on stage and for me, I just want to be Leah Voysey. I just want to go up and be myself.”