Bandzoogle Member Spotlight: Leah Flanagan
Bandzoogle Member since: 2010
Genre: Acoustic / Folk / Soul
From: Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
A storyteller at heart with the voice of an angel, Leah Flanagan can also wield a mean ukelele. Since the release of her 2010 acclaimed album NIRVANA NIGHTS, a tribute to a small, defiantly seedy bar in Darwin, Leah has been winning the hearts of audiences at festivals and selling out venues across Australia with her honesty, charm and musical prowess.
Leah’s versatile musicality lead her to collaborating with Internationally famed and acclaimed heavyweights such as Sinead O’Connor, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ricki Lee Jones and John Cale. Most recently her uke-fused tropical stylings caught the attention of Jimmy Buffett, who invited Leah to support him on his Australian Tour in January this year.
Perhaps it’s her intrinsic blend of Indigenous Australian, Irish and Italian descent that sets her apart from many other singer/songwriters, but one thing is a definite, it is her beautiful voice and distinctive take on folk, soul and country has made her a favourite on the major festival circuit.
What’s your favourite Bandzoogle feature and why?
I like the site traffic section which lets me know how many hits I getting from various locations. It really helps when planning tours.
How did you find the experience of working with a designer?
The best thing I have done. I can focus more on my music and let Stu handle the tech stuff which I find incredibly difficult to get my head around.
What do you think is the most effective promotional tool for your career?
Touring has done well for me. Especially as the type of music I play doesn’t get a great deal of mainstream support in Australia. When I tour I can meet my audience and make a first hand connection with them. It is something I appreciate as a music punter too so maybe thats why I make sure I try to perform as much as possible.
What area of your music career generates the most income for you? Music sales? Live shows? Licensing? Other?
Live shows, music sales and royalties are probably all on par at the moment. It’s kind of hard to keep up with it all sometimes.
What’s one of your favorite career highlights so far?
The Seven Songs To Leave Behind show I did with Sinead O’Connor, Ricki Lee Jones, John Cale, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Black Arm Band and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was HUGE and I got to perform alongside some of my heros. A very very life changing experience.
You’re nicknamed the “Darling of the Tropical North”, tell us more about Northern Australia, it sounds lovely!
Darwin, where I live in Australia is considered remote area as it takes you at least 3 days to drive to the next major city! We are closer to Asia than the rest of the country and I have lived here almost my whole life. It is a very tropical city - you rarely need a jumper and I own only one pair of jeans! It is probably the most multi-cultural part of Australia too.
In your bio, your voice is described as a “voice of an angel”, and after listening to a few songs, it’s hard to argue with that. When and how did you learn to sing?
Why thank you. I have been singing ever since I was a small child. I have followed my love of music my whole life (I even have a classical degree!) and have just been developing my skills and career year after year. It has led me to where I am and I hope it takes me on many other amazing journeys.
You also play the ukelele, how did you start playing that instrument and what attracted you to it?
The ukulele has just gone gangbusters over here in Australia! I have been playing the instrument for years, actually I picked it up whilst being bored in the studio and after I wrote the “September Song” on the Uke, it has been my trademark instrument!
You toured Australia with Jimmy Buffett in January, how did that come about and what was that experience like?
We got personally invited to open for Jimmy’s Australian shows at the Sydney Opera House and Hordern Pavillion. It was such a fun experience - Jimmy Buffett is a lifestyle not just a rockstar. His whole crew were very lovely and generous to us.
And finally, any plans to leave Australia and tour elsewhere in the world so the rest of us can see your live show?
We are currently working on it. We will be in North America touring in 2012 but for now it is some much needed chill time to inspire some more songs for the next album. Keep a look out for us though - you never know where we might pop up!
Recommended Listening: “First Class Lovers”, “September Song” (both streaming on Leah Flanagan’s website)
Although Bandzoogle offers the tools to easily build a website without the help of an outside designer, some artists do work with a designer either to simply delegate the design task, or to further customize the branding for their site. Leah Flanagan’s website is a good example of this, so we decided to ask her designer Stuart Eadie of ArtistMarketing.com.au a few questions:
How important do you think it is for an artist to have their own website?
Paramount. Any one can have a ReverbNation page / Facebook / MySpace and so on. Not everyone has a well maintained well functioning website. The fact that someone can type in the artists name and end up in the artists online home from which they can interact and buy music direct is the whole point: The relationship between fan and artist.
As a professional designer, how do you find the experience working with Bandzoogle’s website building technology?
Mostly I love Bandzoogle as it has obviously been designed from a musicians point of view (I'm one as well). All the necessary features are there and are simple enough to work in most designs. There are a few things I'd like to have more flexibility over via the control panel. I can usually find a work around though to be able to access the style sheet when using the custom editor would be nice. You know like the firebug or web developer plugin for firefox.
What’s your favorite Bandzoogle feature?
From the point of view of the artists: the store and album download. From design P.O.V. the custom builder and the 'html' feature. Great to be able to get in there an add you own stuff.
How was it working with Leah Flanagan?
Leah is one of my favourite artists. I love her music, it's honest, direct and beautiful just like her. She doesn't mess around and seems to trust me. Pays her bills on time. Couldn't ask for a better client.
What’s your favorite section of Leah’s website?
The header. It has her face and the sitewide music player has her voice. I look into her eyes and listen to her voice. Creepy huh? Really I love the fact that Leah can send out emails direct to her fans and I know that every one in the mailing list wants to be there, also again the shop.... speaking design wise... too close.
What’s your favorite Leah Flanagan song?
That's hard as I really love her entire last album. I'll go with September Song as it features the uke and makes you smile. 'First Class Lovers' is a close second... aghhh too hard to choose. I love that she makes albums.
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