Leah Dou shines at a Beats showcase in Hollywood, CA.
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I had the opportunity to cover emerging pop artist Leah Dou at a Beats By Dre presents showcase recently and this girl is dope. I was in LA for other meetings and interviews that week, when I received an invite from our friends at Golightly Media.
After taking a listen to her track “River Run” that her publicist shot over, it peaked my interest and I moved a couple of things around to catch her set. Amidst a world of Top 40 parody and formulaic pop arrangements, Leah Dou is a breath of fresh air.
The showcase was held at the intimate Sayers Club. The dim lighting of the welcoming venue was accented by vintage walnut leather couches that surrounded the ground level stage. Beats By Dre logos shadowed the cool and hip crowd mixed with family, friends, fans and industry. The vibe was warm and optimistic.
Jason White, the Head of Marketing at Beats By Dre kicked off the show and engaged the crowd. He led with an anecdote on how they discovered Leah and to announce that they will also be debuting a short film on the evening called, “The Way I Am.” The film features Leah and her single, “(it’s not a crime), it’s just what we do.”
“When I first met Leah we were in London. We were only talking for a short while and instead of going out for dinner and drinks, she tells me that she has to break away and get back to the studio,” White says. “I respected that, she’s an artist. Beats is a global brand and we look for talent all over the world. Leah came to us through out Shanghai office. They’ve been following her career and when they knew she was ready to enter the U.S. market, that’s when we decided to make it a global relationship. We knew that she was such a powerful voice in China, that it became the perfect opportunity to feature her and tell the right story around Chinese New Year.”
As Leah took the stage accompanied by her British bandmates, cheers erupted as her petite frame and soft and sincere facial features emerged. Her tattoos reflected over a smile that makes up the canvas of her artistry. After a few “than you’s,” sick groves and fresh beats filled the room blending trip-hop, pop and jazz. Leah’s soft tone caressed every verse. She and her bandmates have only been playing together a relatively short while before setting out on road but you wouldn’t know it. The musicianship was tight and the chemistry was evident.
“Leah is so cool, lovely to play with her, she is extra special,” drummer Jonny Brister stated, “For myself, I think you see a genuine person. It was easy straight away when I saw her love for music. I knew that I wanted to play with her.”
As the night progressed, bodies swayed to melodic bass lines and introspective lyrics. She played songs off of her debut album Stone Cafe which has independently sold well. In addition to being endorsed by Beats, Leah was nominated by QQ Music (the Spotify equivalent in China) for New Female Artist Of The Year in 2015. She has steadily grown her fan base since and recently toured with global super stars Bastille.
Family and close friends could be seen in the crowd with tears of joy in their eyes. It was endearing, this show meant something beyond a theme or just another artist trying to get put on. It was a coming of age. Leah Dou is not in anyone’s shadow, it is clear that she stands on her own two feet and is in control of her destiny. I had the opportunity to connect with Leah after her set. She is quiet and humble, yet has a charismatic presence without saying a word. Check out the interview.