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Jamie Leonhart: News & Musings

NYC Workshop/reading for Estuary - October 5, 2015

 

Last week I had the opportunity to work with a whole team (band, director, stage manager, sound, etc.) on my piece Estuary: an artist/mother story.

I want to be able to describe how amazing it was to hear the music come to life and to hear how the monologues work within the piece, but it is so hard to find the words (and that is rare for me.)

As we move toward the first full performances of this piece, I am filled with gratitude and joy, and a healthy serving of anxiety.  

I hope that you are able to join me on this journey.

 

xx

Heading to Philly - June 18, 2015

I feel so fortunate to be afforded the time and resources to focus on my Joe's Pub commission for TWO WEEKS in Philadelphia for a residency at the Kimmel Center.  There I will be working with the director Joanna Settle in the company of a wildly talented group of people:  Dito Van Reigersberg (a.k.a. Martha Graham Cracker), New York-based theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones working with composer Bobby Halvorson, cabaret performer Ethan Lipton working with his band and theater artist Migguel Anggelo collaborating with David Drake + Mau Quiros

Under the tutelage of Shanta Thake, Director of Joe's Pub, and the Kimmel Center's Artistic Director, Jay Wahl, the residency program will take us through the writing process and composition of five new works. 

There will be public showings of the developing pieces on Wed 7/1 and Thurs 7/2.  If you are interested and find yourself in the Philly area, you can get tickets here.

LONG LONG TIME - August 5, 2014

ARTISTRY

I am embarking on a new creative journey.  Exciting, challenging things are afoot, and while I'm not ready to say exactly what they are, I promise to share when ready.

 I just went into the studio to record "audiophile" tracks -- voice and piano.  Some original, some re-conceived chestnuts -- some, untouched, are goose-bump worthy, and I'm excited to share.

 I am continuing to sing with some of my favorite artists like Paul Brill and The Breithaupt Brothers -- they feed my soul!

TEACHING

I recently returned from serving as Associate Faculty of Somatic Voicework(TM) The Lovetri Method at the Contemporary Commercial Music Institute at Shenandoah University. It was an amazing experience, both rewarding and humbling.  It invigorated me in regard to my private sessions, both vocal lessons and performance coaching.

If you are curious about lessons, please contact me: jamieleonhart(at)gmail(dot)com.

 


Donald Fagen on Letterman and EMI recording artist Alexandre Tharaud - January 5, 2013

I had the pleasure of performing, "Weather in My Head" with Donald Fagen on David Letterman.  

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DznqCMpcQxQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

and also performing with the wonderful French pianist Alexandre Tharaud at le Poisson Rouge for the release of his EMI recording, Le Boeuf Sur le Toit

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Z872bP8_i3A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

Great end of 2012 - January 5, 2013

I ended 2012 with some wonderful shows,  including:

"The Holy or the Broken" at the Tribeca Y celebrating Alan Light's new book about Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
I sang a Portishead-inspired version arranged by Michael (Leonhart) and a gorgeous a capella arrangement by Peter Keisewalter with Carolyn Leonhart-Escoffery and Victoria Cave.

The Hills Are Alive at Rockwood Music Hall with the aforementioned freaks, Peter, Carolyn & Victoria.  It is an amazing upside-down, sideways and backwards rendering of the O&H "Sound of Music."  If you haven't checked it out, you musthere.

and

Project Sis at the old gem, The Bitter End.  Pauline and Christine are the Sisters Kim and are a collective force to be reckoned with on violin and cello, respectively.  They brought together a great group of folks for a holiday-inspired show.  

Entering autumn - September 6, 2012

I have been doing whatever the estival equivalent of hibernating would be and now it is time to play. (What is estival, you ask? Look it up!)

I am doing a solo show at Rockwood Music Hall on September 20 (see Calendar Dates) and have some other exciting events coming up.

I've sung on some great recordings including Donald Fagen's new record, "Sunken Condos" coming out on October 16 (which happens to be my birthday) and Jane Siberry's newest oeuvre. Some gorgeous material.  Also did some singing on another big record, but I will disclose this when and if the song makes it on the record! (Fingers crossed.) 

xx

Nice photo in the NY Times - February 21, 2012

I had such a wonderful, eye-opening, mind-expanding time preparing for (and performing in) "Songs of America: From Stephen Foster to Bob Dylan and beyond" at the 92nd St. Y as a part of their Lyrics & Lyricists series.  And to boot, Stephen Holden had nice things to say about it in the New York Times and they chose my photo to represent the show!  I am so delighted. 

See "Press/Review" section for the article and photo.

xx

Oh goodness... - January 21, 2012

Time passes so quickly. So quickly.

Seems that I haven't written for a year.  And a lot happened.  But let's not dwell on the past.

What's to come:

Shows:  Paul Brill, 92nd St Y Lyrics & Lyricists Series, Hey, Sailor! and then...SOLO show, record release??!!

Recordings: I am ruminating and writing in preparation for recording.  I am excited, I am nervous, I am full of hope.

Teaching:  I am teaching some fantastic new musicians who are taking the town by storm.  If you're interested in lessons, drop me a line.

Life is good.  Hard, but very, very, good.

x

Catching up - May 6, 2010

My head is in a spin from all the amazing projects I've been involved in this past week.  To recap:

- I starred as Michael (Leonhart) in a Jackson Five-style dance video for the title track off of his just-released "Seahorse & the Storyteller" (Truth & Soul Records).  Tatiana McCabe shot this video (check out her site from my links page.)  This was a crazy night after weeks of collaborative choreography with a fine group of ladies who all danced in the video (including a very pregnant Jordin Ruderman.) 

- I sang in support of Mimi Cohen and "To Carry On," her wonderful one-woman (and three back-up women) show deconstructing the life and legacy of 60's icon, Laura Nyro.  Mimi is an amazing performer and the show is riveting.  Mimi will be putting up the full show in the fall of 2010 at the Cherry Pit Theater.

- I had the honor of debuting an amazing tune called "Missing Me" at the Breithaupt Brother's annual show at Joe's Pub.  These guys write phenomenal tunes, reminiscent of the great American Songbook (and they're Canadian!!  Go figure.)  This show had an awe-inspiring cast of musicians and singers to perform their material.  I joined the likes of LaChanze, James Naughton, Kelli O'Hara, Catherine Russell, Greg Naughton, my lovely sister-in-law Carolyn Leonhart, Tyley Ross, Rikki Rumball, and Shelley McPherson.

And

- The Avramina 7 (Michael's band, of which I am a member) performed an AMAZING record release show last night @ the Mercury Lounge, with Sean Lennon opening up with a beautiful DJ set.  The show was electric and the crowd amazing. 

WHAT A WEEK!

Lots of catching up to do... - December 13, 2009

Wow.  2009 is nearing an end.  I just put my 5-month-old son to bed.  Life gets better and messier every day.

Although Milo is my biggest, most visible accomplishment this year, I'd say it's been pretty wonderful musically as well.

Some recording that I began earlier this year (some with the wonderful Stephan Altman of Mophonics, others with my brilliant husband/collaborator Michael Leonhart) will be completed and released in 2010. 

I continue to strive to find authenticity as a performer and writer, and continue to enjoy and marvel at the path on which this striving takes me.

I look forward to sharing all of this with you.  Happy holidays, and a safe and prosperous new year.

xx

The latest... - July 11, 2009

I realize that I've been really lame in keeping up the the news here...I've had a great handful of months, continuing to play and record new material. I've been working with a great producer/musician in LA, writing a handful of new songs, which I'll post really soon.

The most pressing news is that I'm about to give birth to our first child. My due date has come and gone, so any day now...more soon :)

Shows will resume in September - solo, Avramina 7, Hey, Sailor! and more :)

xxx
Jamie

By request: the lyrics to "Told You" - October 27, 2008

What if I told you
Would you believe me
I was the only one not playing your game

I couldn’t help it
It was so easy
I’m so much better on my own

Na na

If I had a lifeboat
I still wouldn’t save you
Cause I know that someone else will throw you a line

I was almost prey
to your wolfish ways
But it’s not your lucky day
I’m not gonna fall for your love

You want to believe
That I could be enchanted under your spell
Now you can see
That I control me and can never be held


As I walk out the door
You talk but I don’t hear no more
You want to know
How I could go
You ought to see
What you look like to me…

I'd like to thank you
For showing me how to
Now I can see someone who's
playing your game

And when I tell you
You will believe me
I’m so much better on my own

"Told You" available on iTunes and more... - July 14, 2008

The song, Told You, from the TRESemmé commercial is now available on iTunes!
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=284068741&s=143441 I'm also going to post it on my myspace page -- feel free to add it to your profile!
http://www.myspace.com/jamieleonhart.

"Second Sundays" interview posted - July 9, 2008

I was the June guest artist at "Second Sundays," Danielle Gasparro's interview series at Rockwood Music Hall.

The whole interview, including impromptu performances of very old tunes, is posted here:
http://daniellegasparro.com/secondsundaysarchives/SecondSundays_JamieLeonhart_06.1.08.mp3
Enjoy!

Michael Arthur's video for who says words.... - June 3, 2008

Michael Arthur (you can find more about him in the LINKS section) illustrated a beautiful, whimsical video for my song "who says words." Check it out here: http://inklines.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-dont-plan-it-on-this-planet.html

oo la la TRESemme - May 29, 2008

I do some really fun work with a commercial music agency called the Resource, here in NY. Of late, we did a 30 second spot for "Flawless Curls" a TRESemme product (god knows I know about curls!)

The 30 second tune was so catchy and fun, that the advertising agency, and TRESemme started getting calls and emails about the song. SO, we made a really fun full-length version of the tune. It's going to be available on the TRESemme website and also on iTunes under my name.

While it's a bit different than the rest of my current "songbook", I loved writing and recording it with these guys, and it shares the spirit of my other tunes, I think.

It should be up pretty soon, but it the meantime, you can look @ the commercial on the TRESemme website: http://www.tresemme.com/

Recording at the Bunker - May 11, 2008

Last Thursday my band and I spent the day at The Bunker Studio in Williamsburg, Bklyn. (owned and operated by Aaron Nevezie & John Davis.) We recorded the basic tracks for "The Arrogance of Genius," "Morning Glory" and "Control Freak" and they sound GREAT! Over the next month or so we'll be recording the horns, accordion, etc. and then will present them for consumption in some form or another.
Really excited to share them with you.
xx

Borders Open Door Poetry - May 1, 2008

My song, "area" was featured in Episode One of Borders "Open Door Poetry." This project is made up of video segments of exclusive interviews and poetry readings from high-profile poets (Pulitzer Prize-winners, Poet Laureates, National Poetry Slam Champs, etc.) that have been compiled as an educational resource made available for free to schools/teachers/students. "area" was used (along with some other songs by both "breaking" and established artists) as a means of segueing between these interviews and while the credits roll at the end of each chapter.

Check it out at http://www.bordersmedia.com/odp/ (Click the link on the right side of the page for Episode One)

New video up on youtube.com - March 10, 2008

*New* Satisfy Your Soul from Joe's Pub 1/31/08. Shot and edited by Angshuman Ghosh and Zach Winick.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ENPpXFkCxtg

Rainbow Connection from same show.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7NawOGRrRlU

More lyrics - March 10, 2008

People have been asking me for lyrics - I'll have to find a better permanent spot for them, but here are some for now...

FORWARD MOTION (Jamie Leonhart/Michael Leonhart) © FB Odini Songs (ASCAP)
I hold tight
Like muscle to bone with all of my might
To anchor against the eventual flow
of forward motion

Night after night
I wake with a start
with my heart exploding
willing a change without doing a thing
to make it happen

Days are weary
With worry and regret
Obsessing in circles has done me no good
And I struggle to forget…

That I'm
Just one in a million
with too little time
that's eaten up daily
By worryin' 'bout failure
While life just happens.

So time
Keeps passing by
And my only reason
For stepping aside
is I'm not quite certain
What's behind the curtain
So I move slowly

Through days that are weary
With worry and regret
Obsessing in circles has done me no good
And I struggle to forget…

I'm a piece of fabric
In a shirt that doesn't fit
I'm the loose connection
In the lamp that won't stay lit

Fight against the flight of time
Fight to show the world that I'm
Not stuck inside

These days that are so weary
With worry and regret
Obsessing in circles has done me no good
Yet I struggle – oh I struggle…

GROW (Leonhart 10/2004 © FB Odini Songs (ASCAP))

So you had a little battle with yourself today. Today.
So your demons won't go away as quickly as they came to stay.
Let all your reason wash away.
Let yourself try to dislocate from the mess you made.
The mess you made.

Grow.

Grow – in spite of the weeds choking you hoping you're never free to breathe.

Breathe – and you'll see that they're trying to fulfill your needs and free your dreams.
Let all your reason wash away.
Let yourself try to dislocate from the mess you made.
The mess you made.
Don't be ashamed.

Grow.

If you're not living for yourself, you're not living at all.

So you had a little battle with yourself today. Today.

HUSH (Jamie Leonhart/Michael Leonhart 2006 © FB Odini Songs (ASCAP)

Hush
Quiet
Yes, they were reckless with your love

Try to fight – don't let them think
you've given up

When there's not quite
Enough time for you to gather up
Just hold tight
Until you can hear your heart above

The din of the meaningless conversation
Why, oh why did you care?

You put yourself out there and they took you down
And you sit bare, you sit bare

You know you are not to blame,
'though it's been the same situation so many times
You didn't think you'd feel such pain
Deep down inside when all is quiet
"It's tough," you say, "enough."
You've paid the price (over) a thousand times

maybe just one drink or two
Will cancel out what you've been through
Stand on my shoulders
The world seems so small
But you won't fall
you won't fall

And for one moment, everything seems possible
For just one moment
For one moment anything is possible
For one moment it was good

Not even one drink or two
Will cancel out what you've been through
Stand on my shoulders
The world seems so small
This is the start of it all…

SATISFY YOUR SOUL (Jamie Leonhart/Michael Leonhart 2007 © FB Odini Songs (ASCAP)

Now that I've shed my second skin
I find it harder to begin the day
With smiles and style and laughs and open doors

Now that the layer has been scratched
My in and out don't seem to match
And I struggle to make sense of the simple things

Now that you've seen me come undone
My mind has only just begun to comprehend
The depths of my imagination

Now that the die is cast
And the days don't last as long as I had
hoped and wished they would

(when I thought)
I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself

Now what I struggle with inside
Is an ache to satisfy
The dreams desires and prayers and
Longings of my heart

Now that I've only just begun
to recognize I'm having fun
to recognize the thrill of my emancipation

(from when)
I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself

Let go of memories
Slip into unknown streams
& open my mind to explore the potential
Of sharing the world of my thoughts
No longer run and hide
I've got to satisfy my soul
My soul…

I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself


SIMPLE DAY (lyrics: J. Leonhart 2005) © FB Odini Songs (ASCAP)

While a touch of sunlight glows
Sit, enjoy the silence grow
Can I let you go for just a while?

Expectation, go away.
Just enjoy this lovely day
In this feeling I escape for a while.

What a lovely day today
Now the twilight shows its face
Nothing lost and nothing gained.
This simple day.

An easy resolution list - January 6, 2008

My friend Abby sent me this, and I think it's great. Let's all give it a try!

11 EASY THINGS we can all do to greenify in 2008. I promise, they are beyond easy. I know many of you know (and do!) a lot of these things already, but being that it's the new year, I thought why not remind us all of how stoked we are to live on this awesome planet -- and of all the ridiculously simple things we can do to keep it awesome. Adding just one of these things to the things you already do can make a huge difference.

1. Strip It: We all know that lots of energy is being sucked from our TVs, hairdryers and coffee pots, even when they're off. (And if you didn't, now you do!) Get a power strip, and plug everything -- computer, lamps, TV -- into it. When you're done using it, turn the whole thing off and/or unplug it. This way you're saving money & energy when they're not in use. (This is also called killing the phantom load...scary...It'll save ya $$$.)

2. Paper or Plastic? Neither. BYOB to the grocery store, to get your lunch from the deli on the corner, to the pharmacy. Plastic bags take 1,000 years to biodegrade in a landfill . That's, like, a hell of a long time. (They also take up a lot of room under the sink.) I love envirosax -- you can roll it up and put it in your purse! peacefulcompany.com

3. BYO travel mug & water bottle. We are lucky to live in a place where the water that comes out of the tap is clean. A 1-liter plastic bottle of water actually takes 6 liters of water to make because it takes 5 liters of water to cool the plastic. That's a hell of a lot of waste for something that only 20% of people recycle anyway! Buy your own bottle ( sigg.com or nalgene.com) and you can fill it up anywhere! (You save lotsa moolah, too.) Oh, and get yourself a travel coffee mug while you're at it, and stop throwing 5-10 coffee cups away a week (or 260-520 a year).

4. Wash your clothes in cold water. They'll survive.

5. BYO utensils/plates/bowls to work. It's homier, too. And just think of how much waste you're saving! (5 plates, forks, knives, napkins/week X 4 weeks X 11 months a year = 220 place settings a year. If you bring your own stuff, all you need is a little soap & water to clean 'em every day.) And if you work on the go -- pack your own lunch in Tupperware.

6. Get rid of junk mail. Unless you love that LL Bean catalogue that comes to you every month, make it stop. For $20/year, greendimes.com will stop 70-90% of the junk mail from coming to your house AND (here's where the $20 comes in) will plant one tree a month for you! How cool is that? Why should you get rid of that shit? Not only is it annoying, it requires an estimated 100 million trees and 20 billion gallons of water every year to produce. That sucks.

7. Go eco in your home. Buy cleaning products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Mrs. Meyers. They don't cover your home (and pollute the water and air) with toxic chemicals.

8. Say no to ATM receipts. How many times have you gotten an ATM receipt only to glance at it, and then toss it in the garbage 2 seconds later? Don't get a receipt -- read your balance on the screen instead! "If everyone left their receipts in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long—enough to circle the equator more than 15 times," says Elizabeth Rogers, co-author of The Green Book. That's CRAZY.

9. Turn off your computer when you're not using it.

10. If it's yellow, let it mellow... you know the rest. (Your boss may not approve, so do this one at home.)

11. Remember who you're doing this for. Do you want your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids and great grandkids to enjoy the snow, sun, trees and air as we have?

Last day of the year... - December 31, 2007

As 2007 draws to a close I've been gently taking stock of the year. Successes, failures -- things I'd have liked to have done differently and things of which I'm terribly proud.

I am grateful to my friends and mentors, and even those who irk me, but push me to be better than I think I am.

I am excited for what's to come this year -- the national release of "the truth about suffering" and all that's involved with it; my voice studio growing; my friendships strengthening and deepening.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your minds and your ears...

much love,
Jamie

"baby it's cold outside" duet with Casey Shea - November 27, 2007

I had the pleasure of recording a duet with Casey Shea (if you don't know him, hurry to my links page) for a Family Records Holiday CD.

This cd has thirteen tracks from some of New York City's finest emerging singer/songwriters and bands, including a rendition of "Do They Know it's Christmas"

Even better, all proceeds from "A Family Holiday" will be donated to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

So - check it out here:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/familyholiday

What I did on Halloween - November 2, 2007

Michael and I marched with Geoff Mann's Eternal Buzz Brass Band in the Park Slope Halloween Parade. I played bass drum and cowbell. SO MUCH FUN!
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2344/1831669657_5e9fdc33a3.jpg
Then we went to see our pals the Rich Girls @ Rockwood who were impeccably made-up as KISS...

A good night...

LYRICS and LINK to VIDEO - Satisfy Your Soul - October 21, 2007

Satisfy Your Soul

Now that I’ve shed my second skin
I find it harder to begin the day
With smiles and style and laughs and open doors

Now that the layer has been scratched
My in and out don’t seem to match
And I struggle to make sense of the simple things

Now that you’ve seen me come undone
My mind has only just begun to comprehend the depths of my imagination

Now that the die is cast
And the days don’t last as long as I had hoped and wished they would

(when I thought)
I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself

Now what I struggle with inside
Is an ache to satisfy
The dreams desires and prayers and longings of my heart

Now that I’ve only just begun
to recognize I’m having fun
to recognize the thrill of my emancipation

(from when)
I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself

Let go of memories
Slip into unknown streams
And open my mind to explore the potential of showing the world all my thoughts
No longer run and hide
I’ve got to satisfy my soul
My soul…

I knew how to handle
I knew how
I knew how to handle myself

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDF6wccyLWQ
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