College Media Network - Search the largest news resource for college students by college students

Kristen Leigh: An Original In a Familiar Scene

One writer finds a refreshing twist to live music

Published: Monday, March 20, 2006

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010


If you find yourself sitting in a bar on most nights, there will likely be two things accompanying you: the drink of your choice and some form of music being played – live or recorded. It is part of a typical evening in the night life of any city.

Just off of the sidewalk on the other side of the window of the Lager Haus on a drab Thursday evening, Kristen Leigh sat with acoustic guitar in hand and microphone to her lips. Rolling off of her lips were songs that at some point in her life inspired her to become who she is.

A native of Greensboro for most of her life, Leigh uses her inspirations to liven up the local city scene. To call her a “cover artist” would be simply to say she is a clone of the person who is famous for singing the songs she now plays in the cloudiness of a dark bar for little or no money.

“I am a singer,” she says assuredly. “I just love to sing.”

Entering into a bar bearing the sign “live music” means allowing yourself to become a member of an audience. To find yourself the audience of Kristen Leigh, however, may intrigue you a bit more than most artists. She doesn’t allow herself to be categorized into any specific genre, because if you talk to her you’ll find out that there isn’t such a thing to her.

“I play a little bit of everything,” she admits.

It’s quite an understatement because in the time one artist may play a few songs of one particular kind, Leigh will take you from Neil Young to Weezer without missing a note. “I am a big fan of music,” she will say, and most musicians will agree with that sentiment. But Leigh is different from most, her performance testifies to it.

Her drive is simply an essential love and respect for those artists whom she has studied and learned from.

“I have to [play], it is the one thing that feels meaningful. There is an energy between you and the audience that is hard to find anywhere else.”

It is evident she feels that energy, as you can’t help but listen to her over the conversations mumbling through the room.

What she displays on stage is essentially Kirsten Leigh. It is much more than playing songs to entertain. What she shows is a girl who once was intrigued by her kindergarten teacher who played guitar in class.

“I am so grateful for that,” she says as she reminisces about being a little girl, finding her first inspiration. She found a passion in that moment and as she has been through struggles of different kinds in her life. Yet throughout it all, music has been her constant.

In the era of MySpace exposure, bands and artists are categorized even more so, and if you stop by Leigh’s page, “folk rock” will be one of the labels in which she sits under. But she makes it clear that she draws little pieces from across a wide span of genres. “There’s an element of raw feeling, soul, heart in any genre. That is what I like to play.” In the mystery of a local bar scene, she could blend in with the many musicians that pick up a guitar on any open mic event. However, she will be unique.

“I would never cover a song and not make it my own,” she will say as quickly as admitting she is shy about her own original material. But in the normalcy of a mid-week evening, originality will undoubtedly be found bellowing from the voice of Leigh.

Ask if she could share a duet with anybody and she has a hard time choosing between many artists, particularly “John or George.” Lennon and Harrison would fit cozy with her on the stage, picking out the notes from the Beetles to good old classical church hymns. Live music is an experience in itself – Kristen Leigh adds originality in the mix.

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

Be the first to comment on this article! Log in to Comment

You must be logged in to comment on an article. Not already a member? Register now

Log In