I chatted to singing sensation Leddra Chapman about her career so far, her new single ‘Ghosts’ and her plans for the future!
What sparked your love of music and what made you decide this was the career for you?
I’ve been surrounded by music from a very young age. My Dad has played in bands his entire life and there were always instruments and other musical equipment in the house… So, it came quite naturally to me! I started writing my own songs around the age of 12; I remember playing the first one to my Dad and him saying “OK… that’s actually very good”! I was badly bullied at school and song writing gave me an escape – it was my own little form of therapy and still is to this day.
You released your debut single ‘Story’ at the age of 19 – was it daunting entering the industry at such a young age?
I actually entered the industry much earlier, at 15, so to even be able to release a commercial single when I was 19 required four years of grafting! I remember my managers coming into my school for a meeting with the Head Mistress and my Mum; wanting industry figures to realise how young I actually was, put my hair in pigtails so I’d be left to develop into an artist at a more nurturing pace and see out the rest of my education! By the time ‘Story’ came out, I was so excited & absolutely ready for it; I had learned a lot about the industry and had worked for such a long time on the debut album. I was just relieved it was out and could finally be shared with the world!
Sir Terry Wogan was the first to play ‘Story’ on the radio, what was that moment like for you?
I was mid-tour when the first play happened and I only got the call to say it was going to be played the night before. I remember thinking “they aren’t going to play it…” as it just didn’t feel real! For such an iconic show to have a debut radio play, it really is just one of the happiest memories of my career so far. As I’ve been an independent artist from the beginning, when these things happen it’s that much more satisfying!
I read that you’re an independent artist and run your own record label, ALC Music. Is this still the case or have you signed to a major label? If this is still the case, how has being independent benefited you?
I’ve always been independent, and I champion independent labels & DIY artists alike; independent labels and DIY artistry is the way to hit the ground running for any musician. I think major labels can be instrumental in achieving higher levels of exposure and for many I know they have been fundamental parts of a lot of people’s journeys, so I’m not against the idea of working with labels in the future (I have licensed my album to labels in other territories in the past), but I do love the thrill of being independent. It gives me freedom creatively and also freedom to set my own goals & determine what success within this industry really means for me.
When you were just starting out, you collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his EP ‘Live At The Bedford’ and ‘Songs I Wrote with Amy’ (my personal favourite is ‘Cold Coffee’!) Also, I read that you were personally invited to perform by Tom Jones! How did this come about and what did these experiences give you?
Ah so glad you love ‘Cold Coffee’ (it’s my fave too!) I first met Ed at a very intimate gig in London, there must have been only 50 people in attendance. He was very complimentary of my music and wanted to collaborate, I then saw his live set and immediately agreed – he was such an incredible live performer, even in the very early days of his career. I’ve never known a more hardworking musician than Ed – look how it’s paid off! And Tom Jones… what an absolute gent. I opened three of his shows to crowds in the tens of thousands. It was such an honour to share the stage with him!
I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your father who, I’ve read, was such a support for you and your career. I can only imagine what a difficult year it has been for you. Your new single ‘Ghosts’ is out now; where did the inspiration for it come from?
I’m finding grief is a constant range of revolving emotions, I definitely wasn’t expecting them to be so sporadic & unpredictable! One moment I’m sobbing and the next I’m howling with laughter at an inappropriate joke (which my dad would love!) This song was written during one of the “sobbing” moments… I really didn’t want to hold back and give it a happier ending or “lighten” it up at all – I wanted it to be raw and painful because that’s how I was feeling. When people have listened to the song, I’ve felt the need to reassure them that the emotions I’m describing through my lyrics aren’t there all the time, because that’s not what grief really is. But it is important to capture moments in a song, so I really hope people can relate and find comfort in it.
What are your plans for the future? Do you feel ready to release new music and potentially tour again soon?
I have more new releases in place for 2020 and I will also be celebrating my debut album’s 10-year anniversary! On 17th March, I’ll be performing my ‘10 Years of Telling Tales’ concert at the Jazz Cafe in Camden alongside my band and I am planning an acoustic Telling Tales Tour alongside this around the UK. So yes, I’m feeling totally ready!
We can’t wait to see what Leddra gets up to in 2020 and if you want to listen to her new single ‘Ghosts’ here’s the link for Spotify!
Thank you Leddra!