Savanna Leigh's soft, gentle vocals and delicate melodies immediately caught my attention. Her new songs "unfamiliar" and "like i used to" are prime examples of where she shines in her vulnerability. We talked to the up-and-coming artist about the inspiration behind the songs and the challenges she's faced in her music career.
How did you get started in music?
Savanna: I got started in music in a really organic way. I grew up surrounded by music and creative people in my family. It feels like music was always around me; it was only natural that I was drawn to it from a really young age. My parents said when I started talking, I started singing.
Tell me about your new songs "unfamiliar" and "like I used to." What's the story behind them?
Savanna: I wrote both songs two summers ago... both of these tracks are really close to my heart. Growing up in Florida and making the move to Nashville to pursue my dream of being a full-time artist/musician was a really big sacrifice for me. I think when I wrote these songs, I felt really homesick; I missed my hometown friends, my family, the ocean, and just all the things that Florida consists of. I also had just turned 22, and a lot had changed in my life since I moved. When I wrote these songs, I was feeling really out of touch with a younger version of me that I really missed. Someone who was more carefree, naive in a sense, confident, a version of me that felt unstoppable. That's what inspired both these songs.
What else has been inspiring you lately?
Savanna: Nature, spending time outside, and listening to some of my favorite songs really help inspire me. Getting present and focusing on what I am experiencing/feeling in the moment has sparked some really cool song ideas lately.
What's your songwriting process?
Savanna: My songwriting process changes all the time. But recently, it's been a mix of different things. I tend to write down a lot of lyric ideas in my notes app on my phone whenever I feel inspired or an idea comes into my head. I then later go to my acoustic guitar or my piano and mess around with those lyrics in my notes and try to come up with melodies that I like. I have a bunch of half-written songs on my phone right now. Some of my best songs have been ones that I've started and then come back to later instead of trying to finish all of them in one sitting. Being patient with myself is important, and it's something I'm working on. Not forcing inspiration and, if nothing comes to me, being okay with that and trying again the next day, but not adding pressure to myself, is helpful when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship with my creativity.
What's been the biggest challenge for you in your career?
Savanna: I think having patience has been the biggest challenge. I am a big-picture thinker. I always want results and things to happen instantly, and I always want to feel like I'm moving forward at an intense speed. But music is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a million small steps and moments that lead to success in this career. It is also really hard to let go of control, to trust that everything will work out when it is supposed to, to focus on the present, and to take it day by day.
What keeps you motivated?
Savanna: My passion for music and songwriting is what keeps me motivated. There is nothing else in this world I could imagine doing or want to do. I've given up so much to pursue this dream, and I think what keeps me motivated is knowing that if I keep pushing forward and continue to give it my all, I'll have no regrets, and I'll be able to live my dream. You can't have success without slow days, failure, and disappointment, and that is what I try to remember in times when I feel discouraged or disappointed.
What artist has been on rotation for you lately?
Savanna: Holly Humberstone! I love her new album so much. It is so cohesive sonically, and I have always been so inspired by her storytelling, her lyricism, and her melodies. She is amazing.
What's your best piece of advice for young women?
Savanna: Never let anyone or anything stand in the way of your dream. If you know what you're passionate about, and you know your "why," surround yourself with people who are like-minded, who believe in you, who support you, and who keep pushing forward.