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Alva Leigh

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“Can I tell you a story that made me who I am?” Alva Leigh sings on her debut album.

From a 22-year old piano-playing singer-songwriter, this lyrical question might lead you to expect the expected – candlelit confessions and dear diary entries, all about love lost, found and unrequited.

But Leigh’s answer is much more compelling.

Over ten songs that take on subjects from travel to natural disaster to death, she offers glimpses into her heart and soul through puzzle pieces and striking poetic fragments. The crumpled map of an ex-lover’s face. A steeple of ash in the rain. The heart that explodes like a red, white and blue firework display. A pig in heaven, grunting a secret life.

Leigh isn’t being purposefully cryptic or elusive. It’s just that she believes in the power of music to bring out shadows and light, and ultimately, a truth that’s somehow bigger than what resides in the words of a song.

“That’s what made me fall in love with songs,” she says. “When I first heard how lyrics and sound could come together to make something more than their separate parts. Something that can change you. It’s almost like a different language. Joni Mitchell’s Blue was like that for me. That record changed my life.”

And it isn’t just the Joni Mitchells and Paul Simons who light her creative fire. A self-described “bookworm,” Leigh says, “I get very excited about beautiful moments in books. Whenever I find a great image in a story or a poem, it sticks with me. And I find that it will jump out of the story in the book and into my own story.”

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