I have a good friend, Mike Farley (of Michael J. Media) who knows my musical tastes and has a wide ranging roster of artists in all genres. In fact he’s been instrumental in helping me with columns during this pandemic. His latest client is a young girl from Atlanta, Georgia, that he thought I should hear. He supplied a copy of her debut album “Crossing Hermi’s Bridge,” which was released on Oct. 16 of this year. After listening to the seven songs, all solo-penned, by the way, I knew that there was definitely a story there, so he set up an interview with singer-songwriter, Leah Belle Faser.

Q: When Mike turned me on to you with a copy of your album, I went to YouTube to catch some of your videos. I’d like to start with a question no one should ask of a young lady — how old are you?
Faser: (Laughter) I’m 16.

Q: Oh, Lord! It’s very humbling when someone your age can impress me with their talent.
Faser: (Laughter) Oh, thank you!

Q: Well, you are the third or fourth artist that Mike represents to appear in my column since this pandemic started, so I’ll ask you the same question I’ve asked all my interviewees since mid-March. How has COVID-19 affected you and your music?
Faser: For me, early when things started to shut down in March, I was really finishing up the songs for the album and getting them ready to go into the studio, doing rewrites, trying to perfect them as much as possible. Then, after some COVID delays, I was able to get into the studio in May up in Nashville at the Insanery with Casey Wood to record the album. We did it under a lot of lock-down conditions so everybody stayed in their own corners and everybody wore masks. There wasn’t a lot of socializing as there normally would be, but it was a great week. I’m so happy with the way that it turned out.

Q: Was anything else impacted?
Faser: I had a lot of gigs lined up for the spring and summer, but they were all kind of scratched because of COVID, of course … But during that time period I really used it for enhancing my writing skills and working on the guitar as much as possible, so when the gigs would get back up and I’d start booking things again it can just be better than it was before. I’m always trying to improve.

Q: A good work ethic, for sure.
Faser: I know COVID has been absolutely horrible for so many people and so many families, but for me I had a lot of time to work on my skills and really try to get better as an artist and as a whole. Also during the spring and summer, I really got to try to cultivate my social media and cultivate my audience on social media. That’s a whole other hurdle, you put out the music but then there’s also now this social media side in finding your audience. So I was really trying to do that as well during quarantine, trying to do livestreams and pick up my instrument and post and put content out there for people to watch and listen to. So, I’ve definitely stayed busy.

Q: It sure sounds like it, I would say. Now as far as your album goes, I would guess that pop/country would be your genre?
Faser: Yes.

Q: Well, it was refreshing to learn that you wrote all seven tracks, and I must admit to being very impressed by the lyrical and melodic quality present there. To hear you say that you’re still working on improving and honing your craft, that’s refreshing and commendable, as well.
Faser: I’m in favor of the idea that you can never reach your full potential, you’re always working toward something else, there’s always going to be something bigger and better … you can always get better. Which is cool that you can do that, to switch genres and going in a different lane and try new things all while really honing your craft.

Q: Well, while watching YouTube I discovered that your brother has a set of pipes on him, too! I mean, the harmonies that you two put out are spot-on, and I love sibling harmonies. There’s something magical about that harmonizing.
Faser: Well, thank you, I think so, too. Hoke, my brother, and I have been singing together ever since we were little. I love singing with him and performing with him, and even though our paths diverge because he went into the musical theater lane and I went into the commercial music lane. We still love working together to this day. We post duets on YouTube with each other. He’s starting to write music, as well, so it’s always been super fun working with him musically.

Q: A lot of the artists that I’ve been interviewing have told me how much they miss live interaction with an audience and find livestreaming acceptable, but kind of a poor substitute.
Faser: Well, that’s true. It’s definitely a different experience singing to a phone instead of people, but I think it’s cool because even in such a strange time outlets like that give you the ability to spread your music to the world. It’s super cool, because you get this whole new audience during the livestreams and the social media that you might not have had before.

Q: And if things don’t get back to normal anytime soon, at least you have an outlet for some sharing of your music.
Faser: Yes, right. There’s hope in everything. I think, though, that everyone is going, “Oh, what is going to happen?” They’re wondering, but I think we all have to keep a positive attitude in order to get through something like this, to stick together and work together.

Q: Right you are, for sure. Is there anything, Leah, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Faser: Well, I just released a holiday song yesterday (11/16) and it’s called “I Wonder What You Got For Me.” It was not written by me, but I’m trying to bring a little holiday joy this season. And to those readers I would say, “You can follow me on any of my social medias and my album — “Crossing Hermi’s Bridge” — is out on all platforms, as well.” www.leahbellefaser.com

Lucky Clark has spent over 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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