Leah Turner Reflects On Musical Past, Looks Ahead To Making Her Mark On Country Music

Written by Dacey Orr
Leah Turner Reflects On Musical Past, Looks Ahead To Making Her Mark On Country Music


Leah Turner

Leah Turner may have been raised on the rodeo circuit, but the California native almost had a musical career that was very different from the twang-studded sound she belts out on tour this summer with Brad Paisley. It wasn’t long ago that the singer-songwriter was living in Los Angeles and recording a distinctly different kind of music when she realized something had to change.

“I just wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” she tells CountryMusicIsLove. “You know, my roots are in country music. My daddy’s a cowboy. I was raised a cowgirl. I prayed about it, and I left everything behind in California. I mean everything. I packed up my truck and my bulldog, Diesel, and drove cross-country with my best friend, not knowing anybody in Nashville.”

It didn’t take long for Turner’s cross-country trek to prove itself as the right move: she got signed to a label within six months of moving to Music City, and the songwriting community has been extraordinarily welcoming.

“It really is a community of songwriters,” says Turner. “I feel they’re such the unsung heroes of the music industry. I just feel so awesome and blessed that they opened their arms to me and allowed me to sit in those rooms and write with them. Took me on, wrote with me for my record.”

But what may seem like a rapid rise to radio play and big-ticket tours was a move that was a lifetime in the making.

“There’s pictures of me playing the piano at three years old with little blonde curls,” laughs Turner. “Music has always been in my life, I’ve always gravitated to it. There’s never been a time when I haven’t been in a guitar lesson or a piano lesson or a singing lesson or a dance lesson. My parents really developed these gifts that they saw in me, to where I was prepared to be able to be where I am today. They always nourished the arts in me, me wanting to be a singer. They allowed me to explore it as much as I wanted to.”

And it wasn’t just music she explored during her childhood: Turner traveled the country with her father, a championship header in the rodeo, making role models of rodeo queens like Reba McEntire and coming to appreciate the traditions tied so closely to the sport. Maybe it’s this time out on the road that prepared Turner for the exhausting, around-the-clock hours of a touring performer.

“It’s a hard road out here,” she admits. “You have to be able to keep up. They really want to be able to see how tough we are: if we’re really going to be able to sustain being out here, or if it’s really just for some fame.”

Turner doesn’t take the notoriety her music has earned for her lightly: she notes that many of her fans are young women, and expresses hope that they come away from her music with a positive message.

“I do feel a sense of a responsibility to… to be something,” she says. “What I want for them to take away is to believe in yourself, know your self-worth, and it’s okay to speak your opinion if it’s wrapped in love.”

Check out Leah Turner on Brad Paisley’s Country Nation tour along with Randy Houser, Charlie Worsham and more.

Click HERE to purchase her debut EP, featuring her current single, “Pull Me Back.”