Leah Marlene is a kind of American Idol contestants we’re going to recollect for years to come back. Her effervescent character and beautiful vocals made followers excited to look at her each single week to see what she would carry out. Now that the present is over, the second runner-up is able to hit the bottom working on the subject of her music.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Leah about her plans post-Idol, together with new music and transferring out of Illinois. For all of the Group Inexperienced followers on the market, Leah careworn that there’s plenty of “Leah and Fritz [Hager] content material” on the way in which, so buckle up. Learn our full Q&A beneath:
The Idol finale was Sunday and that was such a whirlwind. How are you feeling in regards to the outcomes and simply this complete journey of the present?
Leah Marlene: Oh my god. Effectively, this present has been the best possible, most stunning expertise of my total life. Going into the finale on Sunday, I used to be simply stepping into to rejoice. I feel me, Hunter[Girl], and Noah [Thompson] all form of had that mindset at that time. The numbers didn’t matter in any respect. It was similar to, let’s simply get pleasure from each final second of this as a result of it’s about to be over. We had been working so arduous the 2 weeks earlier than so it was arduous to even course of any of it. After all, for me, all of it freaking hit me actually the minute earlier than the present began. Once I walked on stage, I used to be simply an emotional mess for the primary hour and a half of the present as a result of this has been our lives for thus lengthy. It’s been so, so wonderful so it was simply actually arduous as a result of it was the final present. I’m simply so pleased with myself and so pleased with Noah and Hunter and everyone else. It was simply so many feelings going into it. However so far as outcomes go, at this level, it’s not in regards to the numbers. Every part is such a celebration, and I couldn’t be extra grateful for the way issues ended up. I’m simply shocked that I even made it so far as I did. I’ve no regrets. Every part simply unfolded precisely the way it’s meant to, and it’s simply been essentially the most stunning journey.
Not going to lie, if you carried out “Flowers” and began crying on the finish, I used to be tearing up, too.
Leah Marlene: I’m not a crier, however through the previous two weeks of the present I used to be simply crying daily as a result of there was simply a lot. But it surely’s wonderful as a result of crying is basically wholesome for you. There’s rather a lot that you must course of, in order that launch was actually nice. I’m form of actually glad that I used to be actually emotional on that as a result of that tune comes from a really weak place in my coronary heart. It’s my life, and I feel the truth that I used to be in a position to truly get deeply in contact with the center of the tune when enjoying it on nationwide tv for thus many individuals, I’m actually actually glad that that occurred. That was a very particular, stunning second. I feel lots of people had been in a position to deeply join with me being actually uncooked and weak in that second.
I really feel like this complete journey has been a double win for you in getting your voice on the market but additionally getting these lifelong friendships. Does it really feel that strategy to you?
Leah Marlene: There’s not one factor about this journey that hasn’t been the most effective factor ever. The man contestants are all my finest pals for all times, and we’re going to be making music collectively for the remainder of our lives and supporting one another and throwing one another alternatives and enjoying exhibits. We’re going to be finest pals endlessly as a result of we went by means of a really intense expertise, and there’s nothing that may change that bond. After which, in fact, getting your music on the market, getting your voice, getting your identify out that’s so necessary on this business. Simply by means of the expertise, I’ve grown in each single approach as a human being and as a musician, simply in my data of various facets of the business. Actuality TV is an entire totally different world. I really feel like popping out of this I can tackle the world. American Idol is just about the height of all of the scary issues that you possibly can be afraid to do within the business, like enjoying for thousands and thousands of individuals on nationwide tv, the short turnaround, and simply doing so many issues. It’s rather a lot and terrifying to truly give it some thought on paper. I simply really feel like I’ve completed these issues. I’m so pleased with myself and really feel like I can do something.
Your type evolution on Idol was wonderful. You’ve impressed me with the pantsuits. How did that come about?
Leah Marlene: This was a grand previous time. It was positively a collaborative effort. Once I first got here into the present, I hadn’t actually been out in public for 2 years as a result of it was COVID, and I used to be going by means of psychological well being stuff. I dropped out of school, and I used to be dwelling at dwelling. I didn’t have a whole lot of garments. I actually wore the identical factor daily, so it was significantly such an evolution from if you first noticed my audition that occurred in November. As soon as we bought to the studio and we had been doing the present with a wardrobe division, that’s when issues began to actually change as a result of issues needed to be formal. My type, regardless that I used to be coming into my very own type, simply within the day-to-day much more, it didn’t translate very nicely to the American Idol stage as a result of it needed to be a lot dressier than I used to be used to. It was such a workforce effort for the wardrobe workforce to determine easy methods to take what my type was and make it formal. We positively got here into it collectively. After a couple of exhibits, we had been rolling. I completely adore the wardrobe workforce. They’re a few of my favourite those that I bought to satisfy. They listened to my imaginative and prescient, and so they introduced their very own imaginative and prescient into it. I liked it.
You additionally carried out “Firework” with Katy Perry through the finale. You two created some stunning music. What was that like for you?
Leah Marlene: It was actually freaking superior. I had simply flown again from my hometown go to, after which we got here to the studio straight from the airport. That’s once I bought to rehearse with Katy. It was simply so particular. After we first ran the tune, we had been simply rotated trying on the display screen, which had my video that began the tune off on Sunday once I was like 9 years previous singing the tune in my native expertise present. Now I’m right here on the American Idol stage, actually the largest expertise present of all time, standing subsequent to Katy Perry. It was so particular I really feel for each of us as a result of she knew how full circle the second that was for me. I’m simply standing subsequent to her watching this video, after which 30 seconds later I’m gazing her within the eyes singing with the voice of my childhood. It was the good and my dad was enjoying guitar on the aspect. “Firework” was one of many first songs I ever performed dwell, and it was simply all the pieces full circle directly. It was certainly one of my favourite experiences of the entire Idol expertise.
Katy is quintessentially Katy. I really feel the identical approach about you each time I hear you sing. I do know it’s you. What’s the most effective recommendation Katy gave you all through this journey?
Leah Marlene: I’ve been requested what’s the most effective recommendation I’ve gotten from the judges, and it’s arduous as a result of nothing particular involves thoughts. I really feel like the most effective recommendation and encouragement I bought from them was simply from the get-go they didn’t attempt to change a single factor about me. They embraced the fullness and uniqueness of who I used to be from the very begin and pushed me to dig into that. I really feel like that’s essentially the most priceless factor that I might have gotten from these legends which are cheering me on for precisely who I’m. I’ll endlessly take that with me sooner or later, that encouragement and validation from those that simply have completed all of it in their very own respective careers. Katy was an enormous position mannequin for that. If you speak to her, she’s humorous and bizarre. It’s simply so cool to have that position mannequin in entrance of me. I by no means was planning on altering who I used to be, but it surely’s cool to know that that’s a path that’s already been arrange.
Are you engaged on new music? Have you ever written some new songs? What are your subsequent steps with music?
Leah Marlene: That’s an excellent query. So it’s actually attention-grabbing being on the present as a result of in regards to the final 8 months of my life that’s all you consider. You possibly can’t plan your life past it since you don’t know when it’s going to finish and what’s going to come back out of it. After which contractually, when you get to a sure level, you actually simply can’t plan rather a lot. I don’t have an elaborate plan set in stone, however I’ve been beginning to choose up the items the previous few days. What I’m doing this week is simply actually planning out the subsequent steps. I’m already writing. I’m simply able to work my booty off. I’m simply able to work freaking arduous. I feel some folks popping out of this expertise simply want a break as a result of it’s rather a lot, and I’m so stunned by how rejuvenated I really feel. I really feel like so prepared to simply exit and do all of the issues and chase this down in the actual world. Extra particularly to reply the query although, the subsequent issues for me are actually simply going to be assembling a workforce round me that may assist me take it to the subsequent degree, after which hopefully I’ll positively be releasing new music as quickly as I probably can. I’m already writing and going to be writing a whole lot of songs.
You reside in a small city in Illinois. Are you enthusiastic about transferring? Is that one thing that you’d think about down the street?
Leah Marlene: Oh yeah, I’m positively transferring as quickly as I get the prospect to. I did spend a couple of years in Nashville once I went to high school there, and I’m truthfully at a crossroads. I’m unsure if I’m going to maneuver out to LA or Nashville. I feel proper now, as quickly as I get again dwelling, I’ve bought to settle issues slightly bit. However I’m most likely going to spend a while with pals in Nashville for a couple of weeks, so I can simply be doing issues whereas the mud settles. I don’t need to sit round at dwelling and simply anticipate issues to come back to me. I’m able to go do the work. I feel I’m going to go to Nashville for a bit till I work out the place I’m truly going to signal a lease and what’s going to take advantage of sense for me in the long run so far as location. However I’ll positively be splitting my time fairly equally between the 2 cities, no matter the place I find yourself.
I’m a giant fan of duets on the present. I’ve listened to your “Locked Out Of Heaven” duet with Fritz extra occasions than I care to confess. We have now to get a duet going right here.
Leah Marlene: Oh my god, that can come. So we truly tried to launch the complete model of that duet proper after the episode aired, however then the authorized workforce shot it down. We had it able to go and no matter, however we’ve got so many concepts for stuff to do collectively. Ideally, we actually need to put a tour along with us too and that’ll be rather more songs written on the street and stuff. You’ll positively be listening to from the duo of Leah and Fritz. There’s tons extra sooner or later to come back. We’re each simply attempting to determine the subsequent steps for us retrospectively proper now, however there will probably be Leah and Fritz content material. A lot of it.
I feel with American Idol followers have seen Gabby [Barrett] and Cade [Foehner], in addition to Maddie [Poppe] and Caleb [Hutchinson], and need to see a romance occur. How did you react if you noticed the courting rumors about you and Fritz?
Leah Marlene: Effectively, we knew that was coming once we movie Hollywood Week. Already the producers had been placing us collectively for all of the interviews. As quickly as we turned duet companions, they noticed the chemistry. I feel it’s nice. I imply, he’s like a brother to me. We very a lot know the place we stand with one another, and that’s not something that’s ever going to occur between us. However the extra individuals are speaking about us, I’ll take it. It’s humorous as a result of folks have caught on much more to the truth that we’re simply finest pals and like siblings. Within the feedback, half the individuals are like “you guys ought to date,” after which different individuals are like “no, they’re simply finest pals.” Individuals at the moment are standing up for our friendship, and it’s so humorous.
You had so many wonderful performances on Idol that diverse by way of type. Would you set your self in a selected style in any respect along with your music, or would you need to dabble in all the pieces?
Leah Marlene: That is form of the journey that I’m on proper now. I’ve all the time liked to do all the pieces. On this business, to a sure extent, you’ve gotten put your self in a distinct segment. I’ll by no means enable myself to be boxed into something, however I do assume the subsequent report that I make goes to have a selected sound to it, and it’s not going to be each sound below the planet. I feel that’s form of my objective within the subsequent month or two of writing, to actually slender into what I need the sound of this subsequent report cycle to be. I’ll all the time make music. That’s all the pieces to me. I simply love writing no matter my coronary heart feels prefer it wants to put in writing. No matter sound that be is superior. It’s going to be a journey to determine precisely what my subsequent report goes to sound like, however it’s going to all sound like me on the finish of the day.