Leah Shoshanah is a multi-faceted singer, songwriter & guitarist whose soulful, original music deftly navigates the jazz, rock and folk genres. A dynamic performer, her songs poke fun at everyday struggles yet also fearlessly explore issues like womanhood, survival and healing. A concert with Leah is a journey through stories and songs that turn any venue into a living room and any audience into an instant family. Leah's music has been featured on WFMT's "The Midnight Special" and on stages at PianoForte Chicago, The Green Mill, The Old Town School of Folk Music, Martyrs and Uncommon Ground. Leah and her music have toured both coasts and garnered fans with every visit.
The daughter of a cellist and painter, Leah was fostered into the artistic world from birth. Yet, she consistently rejected a traditional musical path in favor of self-study, intuition and (what seems like) circuitous wandering. From age 5, Leah started to play and quit every instrument on the planet (mostly violin, piano, saxophone, cello). She spent her formative years exploring and performing poetry, choral music and musical theater. In 2005, she began a dual degree in Vocal Performance and Acting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in 2009, left with a degree in Journalism. Later, she went on to specialize in comedic improv theater, puppetry and Shakespeare.
A series of unfortunate injuries during a trip in Africa led Leah into Opera Africa, South Africa’s foremost opera company, where she won an audition to sing in Carmen at the National Theatre. Carmen marked the beginning of Leah’s professional music path. Upon return to the US in 2011, Leah was rejected for several operatic roles in Chicago (due to her lack of university certification in music) and she subsequently decided to begin writing her own music and to teach herself to play guitar. For Leah, songwriting has been a hook into musical learning, a way of integrating musical concepts beyond “theory”, and a vehicle to utilize her degree in Journalism. Her main musical training comes from the rich musical heritage of Chicago— jamming with musicians, absorbing a range of cultural music and spending time at the Old Town School of Folk Music, where Leah teaches in the Guitar Core program and studies/has studied Jazz and Brazilian guitar.
Leah’s career is unique in her tenacity to persist. She produced her debut album, “A Child Like This” (2017), with borrowed equipment— dragging microphones and audio interfaces across the city to record an ensemble of nine different musicians. She has recorded and edited her own music videos, designed all her album covers and curated dozens of shows at traditional and DIY venues around Chicago.
On February 20th, 2018, Leah released her second studio project, “Stillness” (EP), an intimate collection of solo voice-guitar songs featuring jazz and Brazilian guitar arrangements. She is currently refining her career, writing new songs and finding the right musical partners for her next release. When Leah isn’t working on her own music, she teaches for Ravinia’s Music Discovery program and for the Old Town School of Folk Music. She also sings and plays guitar as a Cantorial Soloist for the only non-Zionist Jewish community in the world, Tzedek Chicago. Lastly, she teaches several private students and plays most gigs that she is offered that lie within her moral compass.