With his remarkable debut artist album, Damien Leith has achieved a long time dream. Here, in his own words he describes the journey to "Where We Land".
Music and I didn't see eye to eye at first - despite coming from a very musical family. It wasn't until I was 16 that my opinion changed entirely and once I finally let music into my life there was no turning back. At first I tried to find my style and spent a number of years playing in various bands from heavy metal to Indie and then in a family band LEAF, consisting of my two brothers and my sister.
I first started writing songs with LEAF for my sister Aine, who was the lead singer at the time. Most of my early songs were designed to suit her voice and style. We recorded three demos, gigged like crazy and pestered A&R reps all around the world. Success came in different sizes and after a stint with an American label turned sour, we all decided to call it a day and concentrate on our studies.
Over the three years that followed I played all over Ireland as a solo artist while also playing in a re-formed band, RE-LEAF consisting of my sister, brother and two other musicians. Things changed for me over the course of these years. I started to experiment with my own voice and developed my songwriting. I also started playing other instruments - bass, guitar and piano.
In 2000, the biggest influence on my music came in the form of my beautiful Australian wife Eileen. Inspiring me beyond belief and encouraging me to stick with it, Eileen kicked my music into a whole new gear. My solo two-track demo gained considerable interest from record companies in Ireland and the UK and a number of showcases followed. I wrote one of my favorite songs "Come To Me" three weeks before Eileen and I left Ireland in 2003 for Australia. Little did I know then that just over three years later that same song would be the B-Side of my first commercial single "Night Of My Life".
It was mid 2006 when my musical career took a huge turn. While spending the afternoon with two close friends, they convinced me to audition for Australian Idol and much to my own surprise; I was voted the winner. Within hours of the grand final, my debut single was released and I was officially signed to Sony BMG.
The blur of the months that followed, saw both my single, 'Night Of My Life' and album 'The Winners Journey' reach the number one spot and the album go four times platinum. More incredibly, 'Night Of My Life' was also embraced in Ireland making the top 10 on release.
Having recorded demos and rough albums over the years since I started in music, approaching my first commercial album was at times daunting and I have to say there was certainly a learning curve to overcome. Throughout the process working with Bryon Jones, James Roche & Ross Fraser I was inspired to write at a whole new level and I am now even more in touch with what style of music really represents me.
The process of recording the album 'Where We Land' involved going through my original material and identifying songs that were ready and those that needed some extra work. About twenty songs were singled out at first including; 'Song For Jarvis', 'Blew It All Away', 'Alone', 'Beautiful' and 'I Still Miss Us'.
While all of this was going on we also began co-writing and reviewing material from outside writers. Many songs were received but only one really grabbed my attention - it was '22 Steps'. I loved it from the moment I heard it and it seemed the obvious choice as my first single. From the co-writing side, I was privileged to work with some excellent writers such as Alex Lloyd, Paul Gray and Bryon Jones.
I was so happy to have quality time to work on this album as it gave me the opportunity to write several new songs. These included 'Shines like the Sun', 'The Long Way Back', 'All I Want is You' and in the final hour, 'Not Just for the Weekend'. I also recorded 'Songbird' by Fleetwood Mac. I knew if there was going to be any covers on the album they'd have to be songs that I felt very strongly about and since I'd got married to this song, it was ideal.
The title of the album, "Where We Land" sums up everything for me in the past year both personally and professionally. It also represents in many ways my journey to Australia and how certain things happen for a reason.
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