Leaha pursuing musical dreams despite challenges
It was not until 2019 that up-and-coming singer Leaha, whose given name is Kerry-Ann Salmon, decided it was time to put herself out there as a recording artiste.
The 23-year-old, who also doubles as a licensed beauty therapist, told STAR on the Rise that although she knows she is a talented artiste, there are far more hurdles that women must jump over to make it to the big leagues.
Leaha, in a track titled Industry which was released last year, discussed the areas in which the music business has failed women who have ambitions of rising to stardom. She said she has experienced her fair share of challenges in a little more than four years in the dancehall space.
"Being approached by a producer, the ultimatum of sexual payment for music, people not taking you seriously, the culture of the music being shifted, the expectations, I have experienced it all first-hand and that is why I was able to describe it accurately in the song," she explained.
While she opined that there is no industry that exists without similar challenges, she admitted that these occurrences make it harder, especially for women.
"It has always been more difficult for women to get a big break on the music scene, now it is even harder because of what society is focused on. It is not about the talent, the love or passion for it. It's all about gimmicks and views and it is a popularity contest. If you are not the baddest Instagram baddie, then what are you talking about? It is extremely hard if you want to put out good music without selling yourself as a sex icon," she reasoned.
She further said that the competition that exists among women in the space further exacerbates the already arduous situation. Still, with hopes of eventually using her music to inspire millions, she presses on with an understanding that she will not compromise who she is to fit in.
"You just have to keep your head on your body and know what you want and your goals and morals and what your standards are," Leaha said.
The Knox College alumna has been making headway due what she describes as 'being abrasive' and letting her talent speak for her. Her covers of popular reggae, dancehall, pop and R&B tunes are known to trend on social media, and in 2021, she was featured on the acoustic remix of Roll Deep by 10tik.
According to the Miss My Ex singer, it is her destiny to be involved in music.
"I love music ... I knew I had to do something with music and use my voice to inspire people," she said.
Though the business has taught her many lessons so far, she continues to pursue what she describes as her first love.
"The journey is very enlightening. You are figuring stuff out but on it [the journey] seems pretty easy. It has been challenging but still very motivating," she said.