Leah Kate's show at The Roxy was packed with fans who held up signs saying, "You made it rockstar." As she jumped around the stage singing the songs off her super-pop album Super Over, it felt like a moment she's been working for her whole life. Leah Kate has been called an industry plant online with each release, but her dedication and work ethic have proved the haters wrong countless times. The way she's able to use the trolls to promote her music just shows her marketing prowess. We talked to her about the new album, turning the haters into fans, and trusting your gut.
So, let's start by talking about Super Over. Can you kind of tell me about the inspiration behind the album?
Leah Kate: It all kind of stemmed from just really wanting to move on from a specific toxic person in my life, and getting super over them was the end goal. So that's kind of how I came up with the title. I was not super over the person when I wrote it, but it was like a journey getting there. But musical inspirations behind the songs were a lot of vintage Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Charlie XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, and those kinds of artists. And yeah, it was super fun to make. I'm really proud of all the songs.
I feel like your songs are just so fun. Is that something you prioritize when you're recording them? I know you said, like Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen. Are you like, I want to make these songs fun for people to dance to and jam out to?
Leah Kate: A lot of them are sad lyrically, but I want you to feel empowered and good when you listen to them, which is why a lot of the productions are very upbeat and fun always because I do like that effect.
I love how you picked the openers for this. You sourced them through social media. Why was that something important for you to do?
Leah Kate: I just think it's really cool to give other artists an opportunity to go on tour and perform. It was so hard for me to land my first tour. If I can give back in that way, then it makes me happy. I love just discovering new artists and new music. It was super fun for me. I love meeting new people and connecting with different artists. It was just an easy way to do that.
Did having this tour kind of make you feel validated after all of your years of hard work?
Leah Kate: It's a reminder of why I do what I do, and it definitely is very validating seeing everyone scream the songs every night and show up and wear the merch and all the things and come with letters and wait in line. It's so insane to me, and I don't believe it.
I feel like I've followed your career for so long, and it would kill me on TikTok when people would call you an industry plant. How tired are you of that narrative?
Leah Kate: I'm so tired because I'm obviously the farthest thing from an industry plant.
Do you feel like that term always kind of falls? I always see it falling on women who are especially popular on TikTok.
Leah Kate: I feel like a lot of people just want to bring down new women succeeding on TikTok. So, the easiest way to do that would be by calling me an industry plant. But I had no industry help. I still don't. I'm still an independent artist, so I don't know why people where they got that. It ain't true.
I feel like you have taken online hate and just kind of reversed it in a way to promote your music. And I think it's so smart what you do.
Leah Kate: I think it's empowering, making light of it and laughing at it, it's fun, and it helps. Being able to laugh at it is everything, and you have to just look at it and laugh. And that's what I do. And it makes it a lot easier, that's for sure.
It's so good for promoting your music, too.
Leah Kate: 100% because people love to see the trolls attack me, so I definitely use it as a promo tactic.
What's your advice to people who get a lot of that hate online?
Leah Kate: It took a lot of practicing self-love, I would say, and reminding yourself just of the little things that-- the little wins in your life. And it was really hard. At first, it wasn't easy. I really struggled with it. But then I was like, "You know what? I really don't care. I spent so much of my life caring what people think. I think one day, I just had a wake-up call. I was like, "What's the point? Why care what other people think?" I'm just going to like, "You only live once. I should do what I love and fuck everyone else. And so I just like, I mean, it took probably like a whole decade to overcome that, and it still isn't easy sometimes. But I'm like, "You know what? It's better if people are talking about me than not talking at all," I suppose so.
What has been one of the biggest challenges for you in your music career? I know you're an independent artist. But what kind of has been one of the biggest hurdles to overcome?
Leah Kate: Honestly, probably dealing with the amount of hate I got last summer was really difficult. I got so much hate. I feel like I was one of the most viral names on TikTok for the wrong reasons. And that all kind of stuff-- I had signed to a record label, and they kind of pushed me into some of the worst career decisions that I don't think helped me whatsoever. That was something I had to overcome was listening to other people. I stopped listening to my gut and my intuition when I signed and had 40 people around me at all times, kind of telling me what to do. But ultimately, I only win when I'm taking my own advice and doing what I feel is best for my career. So, just always follow your gut and trust your instincts. And I kind of strayed away from that for a bit. But then I was reminded after some things I was pressured into doing that that's kind of the way I should lead my career always.
What would be kind of your best advice to your younger self to follow that?
Leah Kate: Definitely do not care what people think because I spent way too much time caring.