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featured on NPR, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Paste, AOL Spinner

 

“Firehorse radiates all manner of heat and fire in its resonant, slow-burning sound.”

 

The myriad of influences that Firehorse draws from should come as no surprise, given Leah Siegel’s background. A classical violinist from ages six to twelve, Siegel taught herself to play guitar and sing, resulting in her first songs at fifteen. During her teenage years, she became enamored with musical legends like Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, the Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin and both Tim and Jeff Buckley. Her love for many genres of music continues today. When she’s not with Firehorse, Siegel fronts the vintage soul/R&B outfit Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout and sings in the Citizens Band (a ragtag cabaret collective that features musicians from the group Beirut).

The name Firehorse carries quite a large amount of significance to Leah Siegel. As she puts it, “When the Chinese zodiac was still determining personalities…, women born under the sign of the Firehorse were an abomination. A female Firehorse embodies all the abhorrent qualities {according to the culture}: independence, assertiveness and a free-spirit.” These qualities are evident in not only Siegel herself but the group’s music. Siegel commented, “As I wrote and so they ran faster…, I challenged myself not to be afraid of my desires, all my desires, and each one seemed potentially in conflict with the next. Firehorse reminds me to be exactly who I am, even if it means I’ll end up destitute and alone.” The writing for the album allowed Siegel to find the courage to write her true feelings and deepest fears, such as experiencing joy after a moment of total surrender (“Our Hearts”) and the illusion of childhood innocence (“Young”).

Even with several side projects (and her own clothing line in the works), Leah Siegel remains deeply committed to Firehorse. As she says, “I spent six years in the trenches barely breathing and built a career entirely on my own. No agent, no manager – just based on the strength of my voice as a singer and a writer. I’m a work horse. I want to work, and I want to work hard. Horses, you know, they run until they kill themselves. That’s how I am.” There’s no doubt, based up on the strength of and so they ran faster…, Firehorse will be running for quite awhile.

In addition to Firehorse, Siegel is in high demand with a long line of star-studded projects and is a darling of the underground Brooklyn scene. In addition to working with Fugee legend John Forte, producer Seven Aurelias of P.Diddy’s crew, Ja Rule, Sean Lennon, Grammy winners Josh Ralf and Lady Rizo, she also fronts The Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout and sings and dances in The Citizens Band along with Sarah Sophie Flicker, Karen Elson, Nina Perrson, Rain Phoenix, Zoe Kravitz, Angela McKluskey and Julia Stiles.

Siegel has also begun another project with Dave Hodge (Broken Social Scene, Bran Van 3000, Basement Jaxx) called Leisure Cruise. The debut album features guests from Metric, Blondie, Stars, Broken Social Scene, Dirty Vegas and more and is scheduled to release later in 2013.

Leah continues her dedication to human rights, performing at the 2012 Oslo Freedom Forum for Ai Wei Wei, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Manal Al-Shariff, the recipients of the Vaclav Havel prize for Creative Dissent. To give back to the artist community, Leah volunteers at Art Start’s One Mic Collective, an alternative sentencing program for at risk youth, and acts as a mentor for their Emerging Artist-in-Residence program, for artists ages 17-20 that have exhibited exceptional artistic talent but lack the resources and support.