Emotion and allure are at the heart of Leah Flanagan’s songwriting. The Sydney-based singer/songwriter uses space in an enchanting way – the listener has the sense they can settle amongst the lyrics and become part of the music. And when you settle you get carried away. It’s Leah’s voice that holds you, makes you feel, never in your face, instead making you an offer you can’t refuse.
A childhood spent in the laid-back tropical climes of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Leah brings a refreshing and unique authenticity to her work. You can hear the echo of artists such as Meshell Ndegeocello, Martha Wainwright, Joan As Police Woman and Trixie Whitley in Leah’s vocal delivery. You can hear and feel the depth of emotion she invests in her songs and the honest stories that populate them. On stage you’ll also experience some of the tales and inspiration behind Leah’s songs and enlivened by a rich musicality – whether backed by a full band or solo with ukulele (in the Northern Saltwater country style), acoustic, or more recently electric guitar in hand.
With Venetian, Aboriginal and Irish heritage, Leah has a fascinating historical, geographical and cultural mix to draw from. As a result, she possesses a versatility and stylistic range that has seen her work with a long list of diverse musicians and projects.
Her incredible journey as an artist is woven with star-studded collaborations with the likes of Sinead O’Connor, Meshell Ndegeocello and poet Sam Wagan-Watson; touring productions 1967: Music in the Key of Yes, Shane Howard's EXILE, Mission Songs and the Black Arm Band; Adelaide Festival’s 2011 production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, performing in Clinton Walker’s Buried Country Roadshow; duetting with Paul Kelly and Ursula Yovich and recently recording a duet of Archie Roach’s “I’ve Lied” with Marlon Willliams. Leah has also featured on the TV Programs - ABC’s Spicks and Specks, and SBS's Rockwiz.
Her debut album, Nirvana Nights, recorded with ARIA award winning producer Steven Schram was released in 2010 and saw Leah spend the consequent years busy touring and on the live festival circuit. In 2011 the song cycle she composed based on the poetry of Sam Wagan Watson, entitled Midnight Muses premiered at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and was recorded and broadcasted live by ABC’s Radio National. Since 2013, Leah has been busy working away in mentor Jim Moginie’s Oceanic Studios in the northern beaches of Sydney developing and working on her most recent albums and recordings. The ‘tender, romantic’ single Everything (2013) received wide radio play across Australia yet it wasn’t until 2016 that Leah released her second LP, Saudades. The album regarded as “a close and intimate affair..” by the Australian was picked up as feature album nationally by the ABC, RRR, PBS radio stations and the leading single Chills received acclaim reaching #16 on the Australian Independent Radio Charts. Unable to make touring commitments for Saudades due to the birth of her son, Leah released the 2017 live EP - Live at the Bella Union, recorded and engineered by Nigel Swifte at the Melbourne launch for Saudades. Her latest offering is the Oceanic Sessions; the product of Jim Moginie and Leah’s collaboration that was recorded across 2013 - 2015.
A darling of Australian community radio, Leah’s releases frequent the Airit Charts regularly with songs Everything, Chills and Old Fashioned spending time in the top positions on both the metro and regional charts. Leah’s status as an Indigenous musician is one of pride and respect from her fellow musicians and the wider community which has led to invitations to contribute to essential albums such as Archie Roach’s 25th anniversary reissue of Charcoal Lane and the recently updated version of Buried Country 1.5, The Story of Aboriginal Country Music.
“when Flanagan's voice steps to the stage, everything else fades into the background, and you just listen. Such a gift is rare indeed.” - Rhythms Magazine
“Leah Flanagan is hands down one of this country’s finest songwriters” - Post To Wire
"Mostly it’s a close and intimate affair.... with Flanagan’s voice as the focal point, she builds a sensual tension that is only momentarily released by the intoxicating chorus" - The Australian
“The first single (Chills) from Leah’s upcoming album Saudades is a beautiful produced track that sees her deliver trademark sensitive, searching vocals over an echoey riff, contemplating an emotionally distant love“ - Tone Deaf
“Raw talent is one thing; refined talent is something else. With her new album ‘Saudades’, Leah Flanagan once again reminds us that she has taken her natural born gift for songwriting and singing and refined it over the years into a higher art form. This is not to mean that her latest work is lofty and unreachable – indeed, Leah has produced with ‘Saudades’ an aural sculpture that speaks to everyone that has ever loved, lost, longed and wished” – Foldback Magazine
"Leah Flanagan's second album, a suite of songs that explore bittersweet emotions universally experienced in relationships, gently announces the arrival of a major singer-songwriter. The sensual Chills with its irresistible riff, a voice and electric guitar duet on Two Worlds, the ominous, bluesy feel of Damage. An outstanding release." - Stack Magazine
"Leah Flanagan's latest full-length Saudades (from which this song comes) caused quite a stir among music critics in September last year. The Sydneysider is considered one of Australia's most gifted songwriters, blending alt-folk and soul into her affecting tracks." stack.net
“It becomes pretty clear with this release, that she’s put everything out there in this release. Put simply the album is a culmination of the emotions we feel as lovers, relatives and friends and in the relationships that surround those. It’s a brilliant release that exhibits the two years that went into making it” – Forte Mag
“As an album opener (Chills) is definitely indicative of a gorgeously honest record. Flanagan shows off some of her best on the track – a combination of talented songwriting coupled with beautiful arrangement” – The AU Review
“It’s lyrically raw but the driving beat and rich production are just captivating” – Timber and Steel
“Equal parts Lucinda Williams and Shirley Bassey, Flanagan is a rich talent and the curse of every music store - just where do you file this?"
- Sydney Morning Herald