#CMchat Exclusive Interview: Grammy nominated Amber Leigh

Singer/songwriter Amber Leigh has had what she calls, 

“a crazy love affair in Nashville since 1994.  Ups and downs.”

40+, working multiple jobs and still pursuing that “love affair” to the tune of being a 2018 Grammy-nominated songwriter.

Brief Career Synopsis.

“My career has been a lifetime of chances and stages.  I learned to sing as a child on the stage of First Baptist Church in Edna, TX.  I joined my first band (Showdown) right out of high school (1990) in the Texas dance hall heyday.  Recorded my first record in Bristol, TN in 1993.  Moved to Nashville in 1994 and collaborated with songwriters and signed a record deal with Dreamworks Records with my personal story song ‘Easy Loving You‘ (a song about my teenage pregnancy and relationship with my daughter).  Wrote for Terecel/Sony Music. (I also) wrote for Dunegrass Music.  Songs recorded by Luke Bryan, Gwen Sebastian, Reba McEntire, and many others. Currently nominated for a Grammy on Reba McEntire’s Sing It Now record with song ‘Angel on my Shoulder.’ Recently recorded Straight Lines, a collection of favorite original music from my years in Nashville.  Gypsy-style released my single ‘Float,’ song about the love of floating down the Texas rivers, also releasing a video to CMT. Single picked up by many free market radio stations. Excited for the next celebration of music that I’m working on!! COMING SOON!!!”

Amber Leigh “Float

Where were you when you found out that you had been nominated for a Grammy? (co-written with Phillip White and Leigh Reynolds that Reba McEntire recorded)

“A friend called me and asked if I knew that Reba’s record is nominated for a Grammy and I went to google the nominees and there it was, Sing It Now with my song ‘Angel on my Shoulder‘ was up for Country Roots Album!  Had to call my Mom and Dad and have a little freak out party about it!! I’m so excited!!”

Reba talks about the song “Angel On My Shoulder

What is the backstory to “Angel On My Shoulder?”

“Originally was thinking of Wynona Judd when Leigh Reynolds, Phillip White and myself wrote ‘Angel on my Shoulder.’ Wynona was cutting a record before her husband’s tragic accident and Leigh had a direct connect because he worked with her. Obviously, Wynona postponed recording and the song was in the sand pile of songs in Nashville.  I knew Reba had heard ‘Angel on my Shoulder.’ before she recorded previous records but never put it on one until the gospel/roots idea became a reality.  I think she just pulled it out of a bunch of songs she loved and we were all informed March 2016 that she had cut it.  Very exciting news!”

Angel On My Shoulder

Where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?

“I’m inspired by the strength of persevering through the hard parts of life.  Also, I like to remember the good in love, even if it goes away. I really like harmony and good bass lines so I’m always thinking of the mood of the song.”

Looking at the other up-and-coming guys and gals in the genre right now, who has really impressed you?

“There are so many talented singers and performers it is really hard to hear them all.  The few young artists I’ve known and written with inspire me with their perspective of love and relationship in the world now. Currently, my fav girls are Ashliegh Lisset, Abbi Scott, and Abby Anderson, just love their energy!!  I’m proud to say I have written with boys (like) Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan (‘You Make Me Want To‘ co-write), Brett Eldredge, and Red Marlow.”

If you were to go out on your own headlining tour, what supporting acts would you bring along and why?

“Would love to have my band start up with some uptempo intro covers of my fav songs and then have some of my friends come up and do a few songs with the band.”

What are the five things you can’t live without?

“I can’t live without Jesus, Mary’s Monday spin class, knowing my kids are ok, chocolate, and sweet fuzzy love from hubby!!”

What’s your motto or the advice you live by?

“My motto is a Bible verse ‘Never repay evil for evil.’ Romans 12:17”

What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar/in the car/ for karaoke?

“My favorite belting song is ‘Blue Bayou‘ by Linda Ronstadt.  My sister would say ‘Proud Mary‘ by Tina Turner.”

Ten years from now you will be…

“10 years from now I’ll probably be selling real estate in Nashville to support my music habit and hopefully traveling the US and beyond to play my songs.”

For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words:

“5 words…Lionel Richie/White Chick Country.  My vocal has always been a little Linda Ronstadt/Karen Carpenter/Patty Loveless.  My heart wants to be R&B country but I’m so singer-songwriter that I fit the Americana market a little more.  My record Straight Lines is a journey of country songs that I have lived with for years in Nashville.  Very steel guitar driven.  Love love all of the musicians who played on it!  Wish I could play with them every weekend and we could make lots and lots of money!!”

What five artists/songs would I see on your recent playlist?

“My playlist has band Lone Bellow, Jamie Johnson, Anne Murray, Vern Gosdin, The Weekend (I’m all over the place!) …and of course George Strait.”

If you could go open up for any artist on tour right now who would it be? 

“Well I have so many but I would really love to open for Irish songwriter Foy Vance.  Heard him in Nashville and was just blown away!”

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing or performing?

“Favorite thing to do besides music is being with my husband, kids, and family which now includes my little granddaughter Harley Jean.”

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Author: Donna Block

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