Dariann Leigh is a Nashville recording artist from Karlstad, Minnesota, population 760. After working with Purple Cow Records, an independent record label from Nashville with ties to the Midwest, she has become a 19-year old country pop artist. For the past two years, her life has been unlike most teenagers.
Leigh has spent multiple weeks in Nashville recording new music for her first EP, partaking in day-long photoshoots, branding efforts and promotional work, and above all, singing her style of country-esque music on stages of all sizes. Ask any regional music industry aficionado and they’ll tell you, like they told us, that she is about to break out onto the national music scene.
Her day-to-day life is now devoted to interviews, performances and social media updates. Her songs are played in daily music challenges against the biggest acts alive. Nearly every streaming service has her music. She travels a lot, going across the Midwest, and more and more, past the states that are familiar to her. Her first music video for her new song, “Give Me A Minute,” was shot near her home. She wore a Thief River Falls Norskies hockey jersey for part of the video, riding a snowmobile and playing hockey in other segments. There is no doubt she has the appeal and aura of a small town artist capable of singing the lights out on any sized stage.
If you haven’t heard her yet, you will soon. And if you have heard, or seen Leigh in person or on the radio, you know why we’re profiling this small town girl with the memorable voice and big dreams.
How did you get into music?
DL Music has always been a big part of my life. I sang all the time; at church, in school, fishing with my family. You name a place, I sang there. When I was 14, I decided to really try and see what I could do. I entered a couple competitions to dip my feet in the water a bit. That all led to getting bookings at events.
How would you describe your style of singing?
DL My style is country/pop; but more country than pop.
What are some of the more memorable places you’ve performed at?
DL One of the more memorable places I’ve sung at would be at a winery in Las Vegas. I’ve also sang at a Ronald McDonald bike fundraiser and the Mall of America. Honestly though, every place I’ve sang at has a place in my heart.
Why did you go to Nashville? And, what did you learn about yourself after coming back?
DL I went to Nashville to record my first big project. I released my debut single to Music Row Radio, as well as streaming platforms this year, and its been a huge learning process. Being in Nashville made me want to work harder for my dreams. It made me dream bigger. It made me excited to move there sometime in the near(ish) future. I also learned I am blessed to come from the town I do, and to have the support that I have.
What were the challenges you overcame to get to where you are now?
DL I have had to overcome the negative mindset that everyone can have from time to time, and really set myself into a positive atmosphere to be able to genuinely push myself to be the best person I can.
Doing music, sometimes you have to miss out on family events or other events to go put on a show. Missing that stuff can be disappointing sometimes, but I have really supportive family and friends that understand why I have to miss things. Seeing the audience at my shows, and being able to get up on stage and do what I love makes up for everything and then some.
What is a typical day like when you are in Nashville recording?
DL Wake up, eat a good breakfast, maybe go do something around town. Then I would head into the studio warmed up and ready to go. I would be in the studio anywhere from 12 pm to 9 pm. It all varies a bit, but that was the more typical time slot. It’s a lot of fun, and building these songs I have coming out soon, is one of my favorite things I have been able to do in my career.
What is your favorite lyric or line from one of your songs?
DL I have so many, so it’s hard to choose! But one of my favorite lines from my debut single, “Give Me A Minute,” is “let me be your lighthouse in the storm.” I love that lyric because of the stories of female lighthouse keepers. The story that stuck with me when I was a little girl, was a wife whose husband was a sailor. Whenever he was away, and he saw the lighthouse, he would think of her. In the darkest storms, he could find his way home because he knew the keeper of the lighthouse was his love guiding him home.
What are you currently focused on with your career?
DL I am currently focusing on these next four songs that I will be releasing, writing for my next single, as well as jamming out at all of my shows this summer.
What do you think is important about your own story?
DL Life is short, chase your dreams! Go after what you’ve always dreamed of. I know it sounds cliché, but you really don’t ever know until you try. G
// To view the full story, check out the digital issue here
PHOTOS BY: MANSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY
From Issue 4, 2019