When eighth grader Leila Lowry was tasked with creating a middle school capstone project for the City of Lakes Waldorf School, she didn’t think small. The resulting project turned into an EP’s worth of tracks; a collaboration between IPR’s Audio Production Department; and the genesis of a career.
Leila has taken voice lessons for the last two years and has discovered a love for jazz. She put together some jazz arrangements of current pop songs by performers like Sia Furler and Iggy Azalea and decided it was time to get into a recording studio.
Leila and her parents, Shannon and Marcus Lowry contacted her uncle, local musician Quillan Roe (Roe Family Singers), who tapped bassist John Munson (New Standards, Semisonic, Trip Shakespeare), which eventually led to local audio producer/IPR instructor Kevin Bowe and his AP292 Production Capstone class.
Kevin’s class took Leila’s capstone project on as their own project and spent two days recording, mixing, and mastering the five jazz tracks with Leila on vocals, and John Munson on bass and Travis Faust on drums.
“The students and I had a great time working with Leila,” Kevin remarked, “it’s always an especially good feeling when you know that besides recording cool music, you are part of such a huge day in a young artist’s life, the first day they get to do something huge like that. I think it was as inspiring for us as it was for her.”
“Oh my gosh, it was awesome,” gushed the young singer, at a loss for words after spending the day behind a microphone.
Leila comes from a family of musicians. Her mother and father both play guitar. Shannon plays classical while Marcus is more of a campfire guy. Leila is a fiddle player and of course, Uncle Quillan sings and plays guitar and banjo.
Prior to performing in the studio, Leila has had only one public performance. She sang during the Waldorf School Circus. She had certainly never been in a recording studio. “I’m not used to hearing my voice recorded, so it was different… but everyone here is so nice,” says Leila.
Leila’s parents were vocal about the experience of working with IPR students. “To say that Marcus and I were impressed with the IPR process is a gross understatement,” commented Shannon Lowry. “We adored how skillfully Kevin, and (his) students made Leila feel at home, treated her respectfully, and empowered her as a musician. We were over the moon witnessing her flourish in this environment, which for a 14 year-old would not have been possible without this amazing group.”
Leila plans to continue her education at St. Paul Central High School and she will continue to pursue singing and performance. When asked if a recording career is in her future, she responded with a humble, “I’m not sure.”