Words: Harry Collins
As Leah Kate embarks on a headlining European tour, LDN got to sit down with Californian singer-songwriter and creator of the smash ’10 Things I Hate About You’ at her management headquarters to discuss her new EP ‘Alive And Unwell’, finding inspiration in difficult situations and advice to young artists trying to follow in her footsteps.
For our readers that may not be familiar with you, can you explain who Leah Kate is in your own words?
“Leah Kate is… a singer/songwriter from LA who likes to write empowering, bad-bitch bops that make you inspired to go and get what you want and not be afraid to go out and be your best self.”
And your lyrics always define that. What helped to influence this style which is recognisably yours now?
“What really helped shaped my style was my life, being a shit-show growing up and just through living it, I really just write my truth and put it to melodies and they become these songs that – unfortunately – people can relate to and connect with.”
Speaking on writing, you had the opportunity to collaborate with prolific industry heavyweight Mike Wise (Britney Spears, Ellie Goulding), can you talk us through how that came about?
“So we actually met on a Zoom meeting in the pandemic, where we did our first collab ‘F U Anthem’ together, and after that song I was like, ‘I really liked working with him, I want to work with him again’ but I couldn’t get a day with him, through some drama with a manager that I won’t get into. Then after I started working with someone new I got five days with him and on the first day we wrote ’10 Things I Hate About You’, so it was a really great experience.”
And that propelled you into success, with opening up for Madison Beer on her European tour, to now headlining and selling out your own. How have you managed to deal with this success, or do you have any advice to young artists that may hopefully find themselves in your position?
“It’s funny because I’ve had all this success and had one of the biggest songs in the world this year, but I don’t feel like that, it still feels as if no-one listens to my music! But I’m constantly working my ass off and not taking no for an answer, but also not being afraid to reach out to people or ask for something – that’s how I got the Madison Beer tour myself, I hit up her manager for like a month straight, and kept persisting until he asked for a reel and then I got it! So I’m all about just pushing and going for it. If you put in the energy and the hard work you will see results.”
With the new ‘Alive And Unwell’ EP, what song in particular were you most excited for people to hear?
“All of them! But ‘Hot All The Time’ is definitely my favourite song, I feel like that is the start of a new era for me and sums up a way I’ve been feeling forever – just wanting to be my hottest, most confident self all the time to make someone regret leaving, or make someone miss you, and that’s a big theme on all of the songs. This one is so different, it feels so fresh. But I also love ‘Never Been Better’, it’s very much like about when you finally move on from something and your happy again and realise how much better you are without someone or something in your life, and that celebrates that.”
Another exciting thing is the live shows. Are you spicing up the setlist from gigs?
“Oh yeah, there’s some weird shit I added into the set, like I wrote ‘Monster’ about being trolled and really fucked with online, and right before it plays I have this two-minute intro of people talking about me and the things people would say about me, voice notes they would leave. The way we’ve done it is haunting sounding and cool – who knows though I might regret it after hearing it to many times and take it out but for now it’s in!”
Of course, as a superstar you’ve dealt with online trolling. There was the infamous case of the fans being rude while you were on the Chase Atlantic tour. Looking back now, how have you found a way to deal with that? Other than putting it in your live show, of course!
“Just realising that any press is good press, so these people are using my name and my songs and they’re getting hundreds of millions of views, but I know my worth and I know my music is good so I guess now I don’t really care. I ended up flipping it back on them in the end.”
Finally, we are LDN Magazine, and London is a big part of our identity, what do you think of our city? Have you had a chance to explore yet?
“Not a ton, unfortunately, but I love the energy – it feels like a prettier, classier version of New York City and I love New York! You know, you get to walk around and there’s so much culture around you and its incredibly diverse. It’s much different to LA too, so I love London and was very excited for the London shows. Night one in London was the first to sell out in an hour so I knew the energy was going to be crazy!”
Leah Kate’s new EP ‘Alive and Unwell’ is out now, check out the video below.