ARTIST NAME: Leah Michelle Hamilton
SONG TITLE: “Wandering Stranger”
ALBUM TITLE: “MIRACLE”
RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2018
GENRE: Contemporary pop, spiritual, world music
Leah Michelle Hamilton
Tell us your real names, country of birth, and childhood experience.
I am Leah Michelle Hamilton and was born and always lived in California in the United States. I grew up in a pastor’s family and have always loved to be around all kinds of people, and loved to play music, and play sports. I saw my parents always helping and encouraging people, and grew to see God work miracles in people’s lives. My parents gave me accordion lessons and I quickly learned. My instructor was trying to persuade my parents to buy a higher quality accordion, and since we lived modestly, and we already had a piano in the house, we decided to change to the piano. It was a toss-up whether to pursue sports and track further or music; as I had made it to the Junior Olympics thus far. Music won out, and the rest is history!
Tell us your academic qualification.
I graduated from Biola University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in music. Then I got an M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling from their Institute of Marriage and Family Counseling, at Biola as well.
Elaborate on your music career, band name, experience, and skills.
I have played piano and been classically trained from 8 years old on through College. I began playing for churches, school choirs, and recitals. I released my first CD, “Complements” in 2007. It contains my piano playing on many wonderful classical pieces, and my first original song, “Better Because of You.” Many other talented musicians played instrumental parts as well on it. In 2010 I released my Christmas CD, “Unexpected Light.” I played piano, and wrote 2 new original songs for it! It was co-produced with Stan Breckenridge, Jazz musician. In 2014, I wrote music and lyrics, played piano, and sang on my album, “Undivided Heart.” In my new album, “Miracle” which begins with the track, “Wandering Stranger” I wrote the music and lyrics with Mike Garson playing piano, and many wonderful singers included.
I love the songwriting aspect and continue to write, play piano at events, and continue as a therapist in private practice.
Tell us your genre and idea behind the song.
Part of the challenge of this CD, “MIRACLE” was what genre to place it in. Its style varies from pop, world, contemporary piano, and alternative. “Wandering Stranger” has a large beautiful sound that I wanted to portray the vastness that loneliness can feel, and the equally beautiful feelings of finding companionship, family, and love. This is a song that could be used greatly in a movie depicting this. Mike Garson, David Bowie’s piano man, co-produced this with me and helped built the piano stylings that he played.
Tell us how to run a record label based on your experience as an artist.
It really takes many people, with varied skills, not being defensive, but willing to try and create something new and beautiful. I think it needs to be focused more on the music and the story/experiences it is relating to, and less about trying to make music styles such a rigid box to try to stuff music in. I do see more openness for all musicians and genres to work together more lately, and I love it.
Tell us how you are promoting your music.
I have been working with CD Baby to distribute and sell my music worldwide online, and with a variety of additional strategies, with one of these being the Indie Bible for musicians. I have contacted and sent my music to radio stations, and music reviewers. I often share my music with charities, churches, and organizations as well. What I have enjoyed doing the most is carrying several of my latest CDs with me and give them to the various people I meet along the way. My husband and I recently traveled to France, Switzerland, and Italy. Along the way, I met hoteliers, nuns, housekeepers, and business people from all over the world who were excited to have a chance to listen and enjoy my music.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
It has recently been approved to be on different radio stations and blogs and is currently in process. Some of these include BBS Radio, Gospel Clipboard, Artist First World Radio Network, Christian Beats, and Renegade Radio. And of course, “Broadpals Music.”
Explain the story behind the song.
My daughter served in the Philippines for over a year with an organization that was dedicated to stopping child sex trafficking and slavery. She was there during the 7.2 earthquake and Hyan, the most powerful typhoon ever recorded. She often described feeling alone in a strange country, not understanding the language, and dealing with some of the darkest sides of humanity and disasters. It is when we have lost the “home” of familiarity, safety, and hope that we find our forever “home” is with God and in relationships and family where we love and are loved.
During, and after a visit to the Philippines, where I also experienced many of the above emotions, I began writing this song. I grew to love the people and culture as my daughter did as well.
List the radio stations, television stations, and blogs that have aired or featured your new song.
BBS Radio, Gospel Clipboard, Artist First World Radio Network, Christian Beats, and Renegade Radio.
State the names of other members of your band, music producer, crew.
Produced by Leah Michelle Hamilton. Co-producer/piano Mike Garson. Music and lyrics by Leah Michelle Hamilton. Music programming, Recording, and Mixing, Austin Creek. Vocals by Grant and Victoria Hansen, Joss Cobb, and Marianne Haaland. Mastered by Ron Boustead at Resolution Mastering. CD Design and consulting by Stacey Stanley, Torie Hamilton, and Soren Iverson.
Elaborate on the song.
As a pastor’s daughter and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I understand what the darkness of depression, tragedy, lost relationships, and isolation is like. I wanted this song to show that love and family can be found in different ways than may be expected, and that hope can come in the midst of these difficult times. I want to help others take note of how God works, in large and small ways, even when it is so very difficult, waiting on God to show us a way out, or just “leaning into” Him and others in the meantime.
Tell us how long you have been in the music business, your experience, and your future goal.
Officially began to create CDs and music in 2007 with my first CD, “Complements.” It has been an adventure, with a huge learning curve, and growing along the way. I hope to continue writing music and lyrics as a composer, producer, and continue piano playing for events.
Tell us what makes you unique from others.
My genuine love for all people and God. My passion for music, life, work, and fun. It is easier to let someone else say what they think of me. So here are quotes from my 3 daughters in a book of pictures and sayings they wrote for me recently on Mother’s Day about things I’ve taught them. “The beauty of warmly welcoming and connecting with any person who enters the room, no matter their presentation or reputation.” “To use my words to uplift and encourage those around me, and never to tear down.” “How to be inclusive and welcoming to all people. This means showing love towards the most and least of these.” “How to give glory to God in all that I do, especially in the expression of my gifts and creativity.” “That as an adult, you can still dress stylishly, be silly, have fun, and joke with those around you. Your age only sets rules for you if you let it. Just be yourself!”
This song “Wandering Stranger” and CD, “Miracle” does not sound like a single style or most contemporary Christian music. Some songs have the sound of an expansive movie soundtrack, another Russian folk song sound, others are worship songs, and another old wonderful hymn with a fun jazz bent. This music has a great deal of variety of style and heart.
Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining to music.
My strength is I am a great sight-reader of music, can make up piano songs and play for hours, and I stick to complete projects. I also love any new musician ideas and things that are “out of the box” or norm.
Initially, my weakness was playing by ear and transposing to different keys. I have worked on that and being able to more quickly play a song I am hearing, and also keep up the beats.
List your five favorite songs including the artists.
“Skyfall” by Adele;
“Un-break My Heart” by Toni Braxton;
“Paper Roses” by Marie Osmond;
“Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John;
“Crying” by Roy Orbison (Duet with k.d. lang).
Tell us your position on “Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label.
I think there are pros and cons to both. So consider whatever is in front of you at the time.
Tell us other activities you are pursuing apart from music.
I love trying/eating new cooking recipes; walking; playing tennis; helping friends and others as a therapist; reading through the Bible in a year; new adventures exploring areas with my family and friends here and in other countries.
List your various works.
“Unexpected Light” CD
“Undivided Heart” CD
“Undivided Heart” Music Book for Piano, Vocal, Guitar
“Miracle” Music Book for Piano, Vocal, Guitar with scores for these 8 songs, plus my first 3 original songs and an orchestral score included.
State the official date of release.
“Miracle” was released 4-1-18.
“Miracle” songbook will be released on 6-21-18. Can pre-order now.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Leah Michelle Hamilton is my full married name. My dad said “Leah” was in the bloodline of Christ, and so that was why my first name was chosen. I liked the name, but in college, a professor went on about how “Leah” in the Bible was the “ugly” one. Actually, it only says she had “weak eyes.” Probably she needed glasses. And yes, she wasn’t always loved the most, but God loved her and used her for a purpose, just like she was.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Wandering Stranger” shows how anyone can feel like a stranger in a foreign country when language, smells, food, jokes, etc. are all new or not understood easily. When you find love in God, family, and friends, then that is truly “home.”
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
“Miracle” was chosen as the title for these 8 original songs because each song shows some type of “miracle.” MIRACLES come in both small and large packages. The “miracle” of being in a foreign country and finding family in another person. The “miracles” God reveals to comfort in times of fear. The “miracle” of walking alongside a friend or stranger when they need support or encouragement. The “greatest miracle” of forgiveness offered by the Prince of Peace who offered the ultimate price of peace. The “future miracle” of hope for a “Heavenly Country” where there will be no more tears or sorrows. “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 C. Austin Miles in 1912 penned it this way so beautifully, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”