In 2020, Allison Leah’s “We Can Still Sing” made a splash. She wrote the song in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on everyday unifying emotions that keep someone going through such times of adversity. Since then, the singer-songwriter has packed her bags and moved from New York to Nashville.
With this change in geography, Leah is also changing her sound. Setting the dial from “folk” to “folk-pop”, the artist introduces a swirling, melodious wall of pop sound to her usual inspiriting lyricism and lilting vocal performance on “what i’m missing”. It never overwhelms, instead keen to offer brand new layers of enlivening production to proceedings, making for an exciting new step for Leah. The song recalls 1989-era Taylor Swift with its percussive, sprightly synth and blankets of cascading vocal sections. Leah’s voice rings as sweetly kinetic, navigating a catchy chorus and varying melodies with a confident warmth.
Hear this song on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.
Walk us through the development of “what i’m missing”. When did you first hatch the idea for the song?
“I can’t sit still, and I don’t let go.” This opening lyric of “what I’m missing” talks about how we often forget to be present because we’re already searching for the next thing.
“what i’m missing” started as a conversation with my co-writer, Alex Bonyata. We were chatting about how I find it hard to live in the moment, especially because, as an artist, I’m expected to be three steps ahead. But this is a common theme among people – we look forward to the weekend or our next vacation. And so this song was born.
What was it like to develop, and record?
“what i’m missing” was so much fun to record. We wrote this song into a computer, meaning we created the track first and built it as we went along. With every other song I’ve released until this point, I’ve written it on a piano or guitar. By writing it this way, I was able to think of new melodic ideas and pushed myself creatively into a world I’ve never explored before.
What makes it the perfect track to debut your new EP?
This is the perfect song to introduce my new EP because, sonically, it is an introduction to the musical soundscape we’ll be living in. And lyrically, it is a reflection of the past year as we depart from it.
It combines the lessons that I’ve learned about myself over the past year with the hope of the person I want to become. I hope “what i’m missing” makes you feel nostalgic yet hopeful and leaves you wanting more.
Tell us about the full EP. How do you feel you’ve transformed as an artist and person?
I am so excited about this EP. I wrote this album from 2020 through early 2021, a time of major personal growth, and the music has grown as well. Lyrically, the subject matter has matured, and it’s my first time releasing pop music! I am in love with the soundscape of this record.
My debut EP, Fly Home (2018) discussed themes of coming-of-age: first heartbreak, first time moving away, first love, and this is a natural step past that. Now the stakes are higher: climactic moments are bigger and the quiet moments are quieter.
These songs feel like an extension of myself. There are moments of folk, there are moments of pop, they are intimate, they are quirky, and they are true and autobiographical. Each one has its own personality and musical palate. I hope this EP helps you get to know me better, and in the best case, I hope it helps you get to know yourself better too.