Nash makes Brett Manning Studios and SingingSuccess.TV more than richer!
For singer-songwriter Leigh Nash, life is a humble walk of wonder along paths of privilege and positions of potential, with each step powered by love and learning.
As the newest coach with Brett Manning Studios, Leigh feels both excited and honored.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “In a way, it’s like walking out onto a scary stage. But I love voices. It’s my dream to help, to greet each singer with open arms and make positive changes to honor and celebrate their unique gifts.”
The naturally effervescent, engaging lead singer for the Grammy-Nominated and Multiple Dove award-winning group, Sixpence None The Richer, is actually quite shy by nature, but said she has learned to surrender fear and anxiety in exchange for the confidence that comes from performing.
From Shyness To Confidence
It was her uncanny ability to mimic country singers like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn that helped her find confidence in the face of shyness as an awkward adolescent growing up in New Braunfels, Texas. It led to her singing in Heidelberg Hall at age 12 for a local group called The County Line.
“I wore the tightest red wranglers, white shirt, and a silly little bolo tie, and I had braces,” she said. “I sang, You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man. I had such gusto and spirit. People thought it was hysterical. My parents were so shocked but very proud. I used to imitate Patsy Cline for my father because it made him laugh. I’d do it for his friends. I’ve always been really good with impressions. But, it occurred to me if I can sound like these people, then I probably have my own voice.”
Leigh said that she began to find that voice by singing in choirs with great teachers both at church and in school. It helped her develop good technique and healthy muscle memory.
Meeting Matt Slocum
It was a bus trip for a church choir outing that led to her creative partnership with Matt Slocum and the beginnings of Sixpence None The Richer.
“He approached me on the bus,” she said. “I don’t think we’d ever really talked. He just passed by me, going down a row of seats, and said, this is a song I wrote, handing it to me. He was shy like me, and said he’d heard me sing in church. It was the first song he’d ever written. The song was about his father who had recently passed away.”
Sixpence None The Richer
Leigh sang the song for Matt into a four-track recorder set up on the dining room table. Matt had artwork done and made tapes of the song, giving them away as a Christmas gift.
One of the tapes ended up in the hands of Dave Bunker who was conducting a seminar on demo recordings at a Christian music event in Illinois called Cornerstone. That eventually led to Sixpence None The Richer signing with its first label, REX.
The Contemporary Christian group is best known for its mega-hit, Kiss Me, one of the most-used songs in the history of film scoring. After a run of successes, disappoints, highs, and lows that lasted a decade, the popular group that had its first release in 1994 with The Fatherless and the Widow, disbanded in 2004 when Leigh was eight months pregnant.
After the breakup, Leigh soon embarked on a solo project called, Blue On Blue, produced on her own label, One Son Records.
“I had just had my son, Henry, and I felt this surge of independence and was inspired by being a mom after coming off this rush, this ride of success with Sixpence,” she said. “Being a mom and even giving birth was scary and inspiring, but the confidence was the coolest because I’d worked through the hardest thing ever. So, I wanted to write about this and make a record.”
Leigh is eager to do another solo project, this one to honor her country roots that played a huge role in helping her surrender her shyness for the sake of her singing success.
“I want it to be an authentic classic country record, but with mostly original songs,” she said. “I want to use the same mics, amps, and guitars they had back then. And work with our bass player from Sixpence (Justin Cary).”
After a hiatus of a little over five years Leigh has also reunited with Sixpence None The Richer (Matt Slocum and Justin Cary).
“I told Matt I want to make records with you until we can’t do it anymore. We want to learn to do it our way and follow rules that make sense to us,” she said, stressing the importance of having artistic freedom.
The group’s new project called, Strange Conversation, is due out in the Spring.
“It all about the song – and my voice,” she said. “It’s less lavish as far as production and instrumentation go. There is no waste, just an emphasis on strong material and performance. Our producer, Jim Scott, is just amazing. Together we all have a supportive, creative marriage.”
Grace + Gratitude
Grace and gratitude are driving forces for Leigh’s career. As she looks back on her ride with Sixpence to its latest venture, she cites several key turning points.
“I’m very proud of Matt and the music and what God has put together,” she said. “In the beginning it got me out of a small town and helped me gain confidence I’d not have otherwise found. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I needed, and it helped me begin to form an identity I could value and be proud of. It gave me a chance to travel all over the world. Seeing the faces of people singing along is just amazing.”
Seasoned + Strengthened
Grace and, gratitude, along with lots of personal growth have driven the distance between the group’s disbanding and reuniting, and has helped Leigh become both seasoned and strengthened.
“In that break a lot of life happened, with many ups and downs,” she said. “My marriage of 11 years ended in divorce with a two-year old, but we’ve worked things out so that we are both there for Henry. Then, my father died a year after the divorce. Working through all this has made me a better communicator as a singer. Plus, I’m stronger than ever as a singer, a mother and a person.”
Her new found strength will be effectively engaged in her role as a Brett Manning certified associate.
The Gift Of Brett
“Brett is a genius,” she said. “Just watching him teach is incredible because he knows so much. There’s a wealth of information you get in just one hour. Since working with Brett, I have more power in my voice and more confidence in my abilities. It’s like I have his set of extra super powers in my pocket.”
She looks forward to taking what she’s learned both from Brett’s teaching and from her experience as a successful performer to help bring out the best in her students.
Lessons With Leigh Nash
“I’ll be a student my whole life,” she said. “Half of what I have as to offer as a coach is what you can’t teach but is learned through your own life experience. The other half is great technique that comes with Brett’s methods. Also, as a performer I can impact stylistic choices. That’s my strong suit. I can help with things like what you bring to the stage, how to present and carry yourself, even things like how to behave in business meetings. I can help you to passionately communicate what’s in a song so that you move your audience. You want to be true to the song and the story you’re telling.”
Honoring Your Gifts
Because this gifted artist understands shyness, a lack of self-confidence, and that power that comes from honoring your gifts, she will soar as a coach for Brett Manning.
“There’s such an incredible feeling that comes even with seeing just a little difference in somebody’s voice or just seeing them opening up,” she said. “To be able to encourage that and help bring that out of people everyday is a dream. I mean, think about it, with each session I get to play with an amazing instrument for an hour. To hear what the instrument can do and help someone get stronger and more confident, it’s such a privilege.”
To book a voice lesson with Leigh Nash, please email Keith at [email protected] or call 615.866.1099. Nash’s availability is extremely limited so don’t delay and book a lesson today!
Article written by: Randy Moomaw