LEAH KATE DISCUSSES CYBER BULLYING IN NEW VIDEO ‘GIRL ON GIRL’

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You never know what someone’s going through. Always be kind and treat someone like you would want to be treated, because you never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors.” – Leah Kate

Leah Kate has been singing her entire life. She fell in love with music at five years old, frequenting recitals and writing in the studio by the ripe age of eight. Now, as an adult, the LA native has secured her vision as an NYC based performer and recording artist. Her streams total over three million, she’s racked up several fashion-week concerts, and her latest release, ‘Girl On Girl’ landed on multiple New Music Friday’s.

The song arose as a result of cyber bullying: an atrocious attempt at hurting another through the use of disparaging words or actions on the internet. Bullying, whether in the virtual realm or not, is surfacing as one of the most harmful acts on another’s mental state. The consequences can be critical, revealing just how imperative it is that we respect one another with light and acceptance.

Leah responded to the attacks by channeling it into a song, taking back her power and autonomy as a woman. She partnered with jewelry brand Darvol by Daria Volkova for the video, a well known gem hunter who gathers inspiration from women in the arts.

I spoke with Leah Kate about the implications of her video and what it all means to her. Read below.

As a seasoned performer, tell us about your childhood. Were you always musical? Have you had any training?

I started singing at a really young age, probably around four or five. I was really influenced by Christina Aguilera; I loved her. I visited my aunt in Nashville and there was this karaoke booth in the mall where you could cut your own record. And I just remember loving recording. I’d go back and visit her every year … and by eight, my brother and I started working together. He’d produce and I’d sing, and my dad built us an in-home studio and we started writing and making songs by the age of ten. I always wanted to be a singer.

Tell us about your shows. What are your best and worst ones yet? 

My worst one … probably my first show ever. Haha. I didn’t invite anyone, thank god! I was just so awkward … I didn’t really know how to interact with the crowd yet. Now, I’ll walk on stage with the music already playing; I have my live set down. But … I had just done my first EP and I was like, I need to have a practice round before I really do this thing. 

My best performance was probably at SoHo house in New York. We reached capacity! It was so loud I couldn’t even hear myself. So many fans from Spotify and stuff had just gotten word of it and knew all the lyrics; it was really wild. So there’s definitely a lot of progress that’s been made in the last year haha.

Wow, I love that growth! You said you didn’t invite anyone to the first show, sounds like you really took the time to be ready for this before you kinda launched it?

Yeah for sure. I worked with a stage presence coach that was just life changing. Things as subtle and little as where to put your eyes when you’re performing is just huge. I didn’t know where to look at first and that would throw me off, so I definitely put a lot of work into it.

What is your vision for yourself as an artist? What are you hoping people take away, what are you trying to accomplish?

I feel like my lyrics are very empowering. I want people to go after what they want and to not be afraid of getting after it because I was always super careful and it held me back for so many years. I feel like my lyrics are super inspiring; that’s definitely something I want to have come across. 

Amazing! Let’s talk about ‘Girl On Girl.’ This song is from the perspective of being shamed by other women, is that correct?

Yes. It was inspired by an experience I had getting cyber bullied by these other girls … posting things about me and basically just trying to start a war on the internet.

This girl just decided to hate me one day and make my life miserable. I tried to go to a bar, she tried to get me kicked out – for no reason. I’m always one to admit if I’ve done something wrong, I’m not ashamed of what I do, but nothing had happened. It was just out of the blue. She started this cyber war, posting my songs [over videos of] them throwing up … crazy mean stuff. That’s what inspired the song. 

Oh my god…I’m sorry.

It’s ok. It was honestly funny to me, I was like “I’m gonna write a song about this,” and they all know it’s about them. When the song came out it was my first New Music Friday on Spotify – which was amazing, haha. 

Ha, yes! There’s a lot of judgement in society based on concepts that we’ve internalized and behaviors that we think are okay. That judgement is everywhere and the internet is a huge platform for that. How do you think that we can lift each other up instead of bringing each other down?

A good question. I think people need to be more aware of these things happening. We need to figure out ways to bring each other up instead of bullying the shit out of each other. Talking about it, releasing songs about it; just being more aware of what’s going down and how it’s really bad. Bullying, the cyber stuff, it can really affect peoples’ mental state. I’ve been strong about a lot of the treatment I’ve had from these people, but there needs to be more of a way to lift each other up.

I completely agree. I do want to ask you because this video is titled ‘Girl On Girl,’ it is going to reach the queer community whether that was intended or not. It’s not uncommon for love between women to be taken lightly – as not real or serious – because “girl on girl” has been fetishized. Sexuality is entirely fluid whether or not someone is queer, but that perspective is a problem. Going back to you message, how are you turning something that’s been fetishized into an empowering thing?

Maybe starting a dialogue about it. Not being afraid to bring awareness to it. I think it ties in with the concept of being supportive and lifting people up regardless of who they are and who they want to be. Even though I’m not queer myself, having it be a theme in my own music that other people can resonate with and hopefully gain awareness from.

Would you consider yourself to be a feminist at all?

Yeah I would consider myself to be a feminist.

What does that mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve never been the type to talk negatively about other females. I’m always trying to lift girls up and bring people closer and treat people with respect.

Right on. I think a lot of the female issues we have now in adulthood can start in childhood. Culture asks women to play a certain role, whether it’s for men or just in society – what is one way that you think we can raise girls differently or empower women as a whole? What is something that you might say to a young girl still trying to figure out what it means to be a woman?

You never know what someone’s going through. Always be kind and treat someone like you would want to be treated because you never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors.

 

CONNECT WITH LEAH KATE:

INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // SPOTIFY

photos / Jared Thomas Kocka

story / Ariana Tibi

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