by Rick Moore
That’s the title of Leslie’s latest single and her forthcoming album, and after one listen you’ll know that this woman is exactly what she sings about, “Countrified.” She lives in Los Angeles these days, having been born in Singapore before living all over America. But maybe more than anywhere, her heart is in Nashville, the home of Country music and the city where she earned her degree in vocal performance from Vanderbilt University. While she studied and honed her chops in college, though, she longed to be part of the Country music industry less than a mile away on Nashville’s famed Music Row.
“I love all music, but I especially love Country because, for me, it’s really about your roots,” she says. “When I wrote ‘Countrified’ I was really trying to figure out where I fit in. When I started to explore my roots, I figured out that they’re really in my family and my nation. And the word ‘Country’ doesn’t really have to mean that you come from a certain space in the South. Country music is about your roots, and going back to those roots.”
Mather is influenced by acts that were making a name for themselves before she was born, but her own sound is totally modern and her vocal ability on par with the greats. “My dad listened to the Oak Ridge Boys,” she says, “but my mom introduced me to Neil Diamond, the Carpenters, and all that pop music as well. I’m from an eclectic background because I moved around so much, and I’ve listened to everything from opera to C&W to jazz. Linda Ronstadt was huge for me, because her voice was so powerful. Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood – there are so many great singers out there that I love.”
Leslie’s performance on “Countrified” brings several female Country legends to mind, but she still sings like herself. Shania, Miranda, and maybe a little Dolly or Faith pop up in her phrasing and delivery, but it’s just because Leslie is exploring the same space as those women while still sounding like her own person. She’ll be making her debut at Nashville’s famed CMA Music Festival in June, performing for throngs of fans on the Chevy Roadhouse Stage. She’s also been on a radio station tour to support the release of the new single, and has been met with a great reception everywhere she goes. “It’s so exciting for me that ‘Countrified’ is climbing the charts,” she says, “and it was great to travel to radio stations all over America and know they’re playing it.”
Leslie is a trendsetter and rule-breaker whose style hints at the influences she grew up with while still keeping it Country. “When Garth Brooks came along, I realized Country doesn’t have to look like one thing,” she says, almost excited at the recollection of his arrival. “It can look like whatever you want it to look like. Country today is a very diverse genre and I love that you can explore other types of music within it, and it can still be Country music. For me, Country is the most welcoming place.”
Powered by Facebook Comments