Singer-songwriter, producer, DJ most known for her electro/hardstyle sound and powerhouse performances. She’s shared the stage and gained support from major artists including Adventure Club, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Benny Benassi and Laidback Luke to name a few. Dark Beauty spent a few nights in Santa Monica getting to know this up and coming artist on a warm night strolling along the beach. Let’s find out what has been going on during her musical adventures…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Video and photos Azalea Jeanette
Photo by Azalea Jeanette
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia for the majority of my life. Now I live in Los Angeles California but I also spend a great deal of time in New York. I love Atlanta so so much and am very grateful to come from a place with so much talent and awesome people! Atlanta is so alive and mentally freeing to me. LA is of course a lot of fun as well!
When did your journey into the EDM world begin?
For me my interest in EDM started as a little kid watching my older brother Jon DJ on his turntables every night in the room next to me. I started playing in Atlanta’s club scene in the summer of 2011. I played a lot of dirty and heavy Dubstep and later also got into high energy thumping Electro. Now I put my voice on my on tracks along with other artist’s tracks.
You write and sing your own tracks, what fire within you has you so driven?
There was never a time in my life where I wasn’t writing music and now I write music with the intention to perform it. I couldn’t imagine being any other way. I’m very grateful to be able to have something that’s mine. Ever since I was a kid, music was my escape and I’m grateful to continue to have that. That fire has always been there and I don’t see a day it could burn out because honestly I find that this is a major part of my identity. Music has always been my drug. I can’t picture a time in my life where I’m not playing music. Singing, playing guitar, keyboard, and drums were always my way of expressing myself. It’s good to have something that’s our own that you can do that nobody can take from us. For me that’s always been music. It’s no hard decision to continuously create and pursue music with everything in me.
How do you see your role in the dance music community?
I hope to bring positivity into any community I find myself in, I come from the Atlanta music scene and I love watching everybody grow. I hope that in the music community I can help inspire people to do what they love by continuing to spread the message that they can do anything!
You recently performed at Imagine Festival, tell us the highlight of that experience:
We really put together a big performance for IMAGINE FESTIVAL with the edition of Fyer music (Grabriel on guitar and keyboard) and Bobby Duque (Skrillex’s brother) on drum pad. Jon Wilkes killed it at live drums and I brought on two other vocalists to perform songs we have written. I hired two incredible dancers Mikey Hollingsworth and Kyle Walker as well who added to the theatrical nature of the live show. I performed all new high energy music and the show was great! I got a lot of great feed back and felt that I had progressed by pulling that off. So much fun!
What musical toys and programs are you using in the studio?
I use Ableton and use to use Maschine. I’m looking into making additions to my live show, adding guitars and a drum pad along with my DJ and vocal performances.
What have you learned since you started in the music industry and how do you feel you can improve?
I‘ve learned that the only person who can stop you is yourself and if you want something badly enough you can obtain it. This business isn’t for the weak of heart but you can do it!
Name some of your favorite things:
Writing new music, singing, playing guitar and playing drums when they’re available. Also being outside gives me a high; I can’t stay inside too long, I have to take breaks. Painting weird creatures and characters, wine, progression, meeting people, and my supportive hot boyfriend Harrison.
Best moment of your life?
Every moment I’m on stage performing is. It’s a high I cant buy. One of my favorite moments, specifically, was at Tomorrow World; I was having one of the roughest days ever and the gates were being held back during my set. I had five minutes left and the gates opened. I could see hundred of people waiting to be let in a few hundred feet away cheering for me. They let the gates open and the people ran full force flooding in front of the stage and packing out the entire area. I could really feel the support they had fighting through the moment with me and I felt so honored to be with them.
Photo by Azalea Jeanette
Darkest moment of your life?
One time the electricity went out and it was out for what seemed like forever… Just kidding, I’ve experienced a lot of dark moments growing up and a lot of pain but nothing that I wasn’t able to learn the most valuable lessons from. I’ve seen what low looks like and I’ve chosen never to put myself there.
What’s coming up next for Leah Culver?
You can expect a lot more music and a lot more live pieces to my sets. I’m working on releasing two EPs this year, Radiance and my untitles Fall EP, I can’t wait to share them!
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
To me dark Beauty is probably the purest beauty there is, it’s the realest beauty because we all have a dark very real pure side that we learn to bury. The best music comes from these places and that’s beauty.