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West gets a kick seeing photo montages set to her music
As an independent musician, making ends meet can be a rough experience, but local singer/songwriter Leah West is working out a formula.
Using a couple of licensing agencies, she has sold the rights to five of her songs this summer for television shows—though she doesn’t know which ones.
“I can imagine if I put out a couple of more albums, I could make a decent living off this,” said West, who is also an oil painter and photographer.
Licensing songs to earn royalties has always been an option in the music business, but with the advent of the Internet, and various forms of social media, the options are far greater than for previous generations of musical talent.
West, for example, got herself signed to the licensing agencies after two of her songs went into international rotation via a contest she entered. The process brought with it new contacts and tips and had people all over the world looking her up. She then licensed her song Guardian Angel through Animoto, a video-making software company, and now anyone—from photographers to proud parents—can set their images to her music.
She has already started to reap the rewards.
“I’m still mostly an unknown artist…but all these little things are definitely helping,” she said.
Now the proud mother of oodles of video soundtracks, she gets to watch her lyrics light up the lives of others as people frequently look her up after selecting her song and send her a copy of their video.
“Some of them are really touching,” she said. “To see their lives to the soundtrack of my song, I don’t know how to say it, it’s just awesome.”
So far, West has licensed Spring, True Intimacy, Caught in Your Web, Beautiful, Guardian Angel, Beyond Words, Orange Bliss, Simple Love and Anything for You.
Though she’s really a songwriter at heart, West still has a heavy performance schedule and can be found around town four times this month.
She plays at Duncan’s Bistro on Lawrence Avenue today (Friday, Aug. 12); in Kopje Park in Lake Country Saturday, Aug. 13; at the RCA from 5-7 p.m. for the Live After 5 Summer Concert Series on Thursday, Aug. 18; and at The Bike Shop on Ellis Street on Thursday, Aug. 25 from 7-9 p.m.
The Live After Five series is running all summer at the RCA with listings at www.rotarycentrefothearts.com