Friday, November 19, 2010

Pheaturing Leah West

Hello, and welcome to the latest entry of the Phile. This is my last post... with me being 41 years old. Next Tuesday I turn 42, and by then I might know the meaning of life. Here is other the big news that's happening in my life right now: after working at Epcot for the last 22 years and ten months I am transferring to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted a work environment that was more relaxed, with less kids and more steady hours. Did you see that President Obama has written a children's book? You can tell President Obama wrote his children’s book a few years ago. It lists 13 great Americans and they include Bernie Madoff, Tiger Woods, and Charlie Sheen. All of the royalties from Obama’s book sales will go to an organization that really needs the money: the Obama re-election company. Children’s books have to have a moral at the end, like “Green Eggs and Ham.” The moral was that you can eat spoiled meat. Rep. John Boehner is the new speaker of the House. Turn-ons include tax cuts and spray tans. Sarah Palin’s new reality show had very high ratings. It’s basically “Ice Road Soccer Mom.” There was a funny moment on Palin’s show when the Palins approached a brown bear and asked to see its papers.
TSA agents can now feel the inside of passengers’ thighs. I get more action going through airline security than I did all through high school. There’s a royal wedding in Britain, but in America, a man in Kentucky was forced to eat his own beard. Britain hasn’t been this excited about the prospect for a new queen since Ricky Martin. Prince William and Kate Middleton will be married at the ancient gothic church, St. Paul’s Cathedral, where every royal wedding has been held for the last 100 years. Either that or they’ll get married in Cabo. If you’re British, you may as well enjoy the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. You’re paying for it. Do you watch "Dancing With the Stars"? I don't, and there's an old man somewhere who won't anymore either. A senior citizen was arrested after shooting his TV when Bristol Palin wasn’t kicked off of “Dancing With the Stars.” Come on, John McCain, it’s been two years. Get over it. You would think a guy with a shotgun tucked between his couch cushions would be a Palin supporter. Los Angeles County has banned plastic bags. You know what this means. Randy Quaid has to find new shoes. Tiger Woods joined Twitter. That’s right, Tiger tweeted out that he has “finally decided to try out Twitter.” Tiger wanted to say more, but he had to give half of his 140 characters to Elin Nordegren. There is a God: Warner Brothers announced that it wants to remake The Wizard of Oz. This version is going to be totally updated for 2011. For instance, each of the flying monkeys has to be patted down and go through a body scanner before they can take off. AAA is predicting that 42 million people will travel this year for Thanksgiving. Not only that — 30 million of them won’t be talking to each other by the time they reach their destination. Everybody in the world, except us Peverett's, are gonna go see the new Harry Potter film today. There's supposed to be one more, but they decided to make an extra one. and here on the Phile, I have the poster for it. So, Harry Potter fans, prepare to wet your pants.

And did you see the new Harry Potter inspirational poster? Check it out if you haven't.

And now for the...

This is the 11th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C.:

It's available on Amazon, at your local book shop and in a LEGO store somewhere. The author, Jonathan Bender will be a guest on the Phile later in December.

Okay, today's guest is a beautiful and very talented singer from Kelowna, British Columbia, who has a her debut album out called "Beyond Words". She'll be playing tonight at Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, BC, Canada. so, screw the Harry Potter movie and go jump on a plane. I would go but "The Good Guys" are on tonight. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile... Leah West.

Me: Bonjour, Leah, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you?

Leah: Bonjour Jason! I'm doing really well, thanks for asking. And you? or... et vous?

Me: I am doing okay, thanks. Okay, first I have to say I purchased your album "Beyond Words" off from iTunes and really liked it. It's your first album, right?

Leah: Wow, for the interview, I would have gladly sent you a free copy. But I assure you every bit does help go towards the next album, so thank you for purchasing my album on itunes! Yes, it's my first official album. I've done demos, but this is the first full length album and I'm so happy with it.

Me: How long did it take you to record it? It came out last year I think, am I right?

Leah: Yes, it's called "Beyond Words" and it was released July 2009. Marty and I usually finish about a song a day, and a few days to mix and master. That being said, the album took a few years because of money and the writing process and then choosing the right songs for the debut album.

Me: You sing beautifully in English, but that's not your first language. Your first language is French, right? I am English so don't hold that against me.

Leah: I definitely won't hold it against you because my first language was also English. In fact, French is my third language. Spanish is my second. I grew up in the US, and both parents spoke English. My father's mother was of French decent, but I never knew her. I'm mostly Irish with a little French, Czech and Hungarian in my ethnic background. And thanks for saying that I sing beautifully.

Me: So, you're not French? Sorry. Where abouts were you born?

Leah: I'm American second generation. My mother's parents were both born in Ireland. I was born in New Jersey. I've lived all over including New York City; Los Angeles; Costa Rica; Boulder, Colorado; Lake Tahoe; Big Sky, Montana; and finally settled in Canada in 2005 after visiting for a few years and fell in love with a place called Kelowna in British Columbia.

Me: One of my number one favorite bands is from Canada... The Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of them? Who do you listen to?

Leah: I love those guys, such great tunes. Oh my list of favourites goes on and on. I listen to everything from pop, rock, folk, dance, country, classical, jazz, blues, new age. I love it all. Good music is good music no matter the genre.

Me: Did I hear right that you grew up in New York? Did you live in the city? What was that like?

Leah: I grew up just outside New York City in a town called Upper Montclair, New Jersey. I loved it. It's such a melting pot of cultures and such a diverse group of people from all types of backgrounds. I loved being so close to the city where it's just a high saturation of the arts.

Me: Congrats on finishing in the top 3 of 3 categories of the 2009 BCIMA Awards. What were the 3 catergories and what is the BCIMA Awards?

Leah: Oh, I have to try and remember... I think the categories were Folk Song of the Year, Pop Song of the Year and People's Choice. I'm pretty sure that's right. BCIMA are to recognize all the artists and industry people in British Columbia outside of the Vancouver area. BC is a huge province, about the size of California, Oregon and Washington all put together. Lots of incredible talent right here in the valley I live in including Andrew Allen, who just got signed to Epic; Ryan Donn, a good friend who has had much radio success; and Daniel Powter who wrote the mega-famous hit "Bad Day" to name a few.

Me: There was a huge controversy about your song "Spring" being ripped off for Eurovision. Can you tell the story, Leah? And a lot of my readers are American and probably don't know what Eurovision is. It's the competition that gave us ABBA!

Leah: I actually never heard of Eurovision myself despite the fact that it dwarfs our little "American Idol". Eurovision is a contest involving almost all of the European countries and it's similar is format to "American Idol" or "America's Got Talent". Yes, it gave us ABBA and Celine Dion! Producers in Slovakia used my song "Spring", the same exact arrangements, same melodies, same production from beginning to end and pretended that they wrote the song, put Slovakian lyrics to it and had a beautiful singer enter the song into Eurovision. Somehow, by the weirdest coincidence ever, one of my fans recognized the song and told me about it. I hold legal copyright. I cannot imagine why these apparently reputable producers would risk their career to do such a thing. Just ridiculous really. They hardly changed a note in the whole song. Even teenage girls in Slovakia were writing me saying they recognized it was the same song. It's such a bizarre story that it made headlines around the world! Despite my panic and much wasted energy when this all began, I've also had a lot of press and fan support over the matter, so it has been a strange blessing in some ways.

Me: Don't feel too dad had a song stolen from a hotel room. Everything worked out in the end, right?

Leah: I've heard the hotel room story before. People will be people. Some are good and some, well, not so much. So far, I had have no issues with them contesting anything. I've had legal copyright for a few years now. I'm very diligent about that, always have been. Once the song is either written or freshly recorded, I send everything to the US Copyright office. I can't believe I actually had to prove one of my own songs, but I was lucky that I've had my Virgo personality taking care of details like that to save me arse this time around. The singer has admitted that she knew nothing and that the producer who claimed to have written acted very strange right before the contest. She apologized to me for the mess and was actually quite gracious about the whole thing and I'm taking that as they are admitting guilt to stealing my song based on all of that. I've heard nothing since and I have some really great fans in Slovakia now watching out for any activity on their part.

Me: You worked with Marty Rifkin who also worked with Springsteen, Jewel, Tom Petty and the woman who introduced me to you... Carrie Wade. How did you first get to work with Marty? Did he have any good Springsteen stories he shared with you? Or Jewel stories?

Leah: Marty was referred to me by a singer-songwriter friend who worked with Marty. Marty is simply an amazing person as well as a phenomenal producer. I'm sure Marty has lots of stories about Springsteen, Jewel, Tom Petty and others, but he's the kind of guy that respects the privacy of others and therefore doesn't talk about them much. He's discreet and totally professional and you have to respect him for that, because you know that he will offer you the same respect and privacy in return.

Me: And is that how you met Carrie?

Leah: Yep!

Me: Singer/songwriter Jeff Cameron introduced me to Peter Kearns who introduced me to Carrie Wade. You gotta keep the six degrees going, Leah. Who can you recommend that I interview?

Leah: Hmmm... I'll get back to you. Many, many amazing talents I know for sure! I'll hook you up with someone good though!

Me: Leah, you are a Jill of all trades. I cannot believe you are also a ballet dancer, an actress and a visual artist. What do you like doing best out of all the things you do?

Leah: You know I think life is life a moving ocean. I love it all. I've had my phases. Sometimes you never know what the tide will bring in. I kind of move around a lot but have been mostly into music and photography the past few years more than acting, dancing and painting.

Me: Have you acted in movies and tv? And can you explain what a visual artist is? I never understood it.

Leah: I've had small roles with many wonderful talents including Tom Cruise, Annette Bening, Gary Shandling, Kate Hudson and more. No super big roles, but I made a living off acting for a few years while living in Los Angeles. As far what a visual artist is, well, it's quite simple really. There are dance artists that dance; music artists that make music; and visual artists usually paint, sculpt, do graphic design or creative photography. Anything that is creative in a visual way. I love taking pictures and messing with the colours, contrasts, et cetera, and I also have done quite a number of oils on canvas, metal sculptures, pottery and more. Just love art and expressing myself. It's a great outlet for me, my thoughts and emotions.

Me: Leah, thanks so much for taking part with this interview and being on the Phile. You are working on your next album right now, right? Does it have a title?

Leah: YES! so excited for the next album. It's going to be called "Parachute" which is the title track. It's an album about letting go and blossoming. I'm hoping to release it by summer 2011. We'll see. And thank you for having me on this interview Jason, it's been fun.

Me: Can you come back when your new album is out?

Leah: You betcha! I'd be honoured.

Me: Thanks so much again. Go ahead and plug your website, Leah. I wish you lots of luck, and tell Carrie I said hello.

Leah: I will tell Carrie hello AND thank her for referring me to you! My web site is and I'm also easily searchable on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and Reverbnation. Thank you Jason and wishing you continued success. Until we meet again xoxo.

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Leah for a wonderful interview and to Carrie Wade for hooking it up. The Phile will be back next Phriday on Black Friday (or Black Phriday) with musician slash blacksmith Layne Hendrickson. A blacksmith for Black Friday. Until then, have a Happy Thanksgiving, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you bye.

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