LA-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Leah Capelle has released her debut triptych LP – an impressive and poignant 12-track journey about the human heart and condition – today April 3, 2020 via Little Cabin Entertainment / The Orchard. Capelle is additionally slated as the opener for Colbie Caillet at UnCancelled Music Festival – a virtual benefit concert streaming via Stageit and curated by different venues, promoters, and brands including LA’s The Hotel Cafe, LA’s Spaceland Presents, NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, and more. Artists include Waxahatchee, JP Saxe, The Aces, Snail Mail, and more.
In honor of the album release, Leah Capelle shares a personal letter (aka triptych – the story) with American Songwriter and her fans below:
“I don’t remember exactly when it all started – probably months before I truly even realized – but in January of 2018, the pain started to rear its ugly head, to stretch and embed its tentacles into every aspect of my life, to become imminent. I was burnt out. I constantly occupied myself with work, with substances, with a wild social life, so as to never have to actually sit with myself. My partner at the time started coming home from work each night to find me with an empty wine bottle in my lap on the couch. Each weekend I would find some excuse to get fucked up, and then I would shudder and cry at the subtlest provocation. When my friends would ask me how I’d been, I would casually comment about how depressed I was, or how I was becoming an alcoholic – all with a crooked smile on my face, my bright green eyes faded, my freckled face pale.
But I was at the top of my class in school. I had a great, high-paying (but stressful) job that inspired me creatively. I was working on my third EP. I had just started coming out as bisexual with nothing but acceptance and support. I had a loving, long term, live-in partner, an amazing circle of friends, a tight-knit family, a beautiful and safe place to live. So the deeper down I fell, the harder I would try to convince myself that everything was fine, because everything should have been fine.
Ultimately, my depression-fueled, self-destructive behavior ended my relationship. The loss of my best friend, the person I thought would be my life-partner, knocked me back down harder than I had ever imagined. I spent a long time in complete denial about what had happened. Defensive and accusatory, I was completely unwilling to accept my share of the blame. I spun a victim’s tale of abandonment, perhaps to protect myself, perhaps to hurt myself even more… I’m still not sure. And in brief moments in which I was able to glimpse a more accurate depiction of the past, I spiraled back out of control. The people around me tried to console me at first, to guide me through my suffering – but the longer I mourned, the more inconsolable I became. The less they wanted to talk about it, the less I really listened.
I withdrew from everyone for about a year writing this record. The songs come from my depressive episodes, drug-induced evenings, broken-heart breakdowns, first dating experiences as an openly bisexual woman, and eventually, beautiful moments of acceptance and healing. ‘triptych,’ to me, is not just a breakup album. It’s the story of how I had to lose myself – to lose everything I held close – to find myself again. Talking about struggles with mental health and substance abuse amidst the context of a breakup is a delicate balance – and it remains difficult to determine if I was just heartbroken, or genuinely performing acts of escapism. But ultimately, I don’t think it really matters.
This is an album about life – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. I hope, in listening, it gives you even a fraction of the healing it has given me in creating it.”
Her latest single “i keep her” served as a personal coming out letter to herself and an ode to women exploring their sexuality.she laments “I keep her at a distance, I keep her as a dream… more than nothing, less than something… more, more, more…” over a hypnotic drum beat and what has become her signature alt-rock guitar sound. Capelle, who came out publicly as bisexual in 2019, found inspiration for “i keep her” in her own journey falling in love with a straight female friend. She questioned the fascination and if she wanted to be her or to be with her, eventually coming to terms with the fact that it was the latter. Elaborating on the track, she states “In truth, this song isn’t just for one person – it’s for all the women I’ve loved thus far and for the women still searching, wondering…” BlackBook says “…with the kind of visceral intensity of a Vanessa Carlton or Lykke Li, she conveys longing and vulnerability in equal measure over an opulent, haunting sweep of strings.”
At the top of 2020 the emerging artist released “on accident,” a violently honest song about mistakes and the inevitable aftermath. Balancing the line between alternative-pop and hard rock, Capelle wails over a massive punk-rock stack as she begs, “did I hurt you? You know I didn’t mean it… Did I hurt you on accident?” In their exclusive profile, American Songwriter calls the track “[a] vulnerable look at one’s self-awareness, accepting our faults, flaws, and other selfish behaviors.” Capelle also dropped by the Paste Magazine and iHeart/Z100 studios in NYC to give the world a sneak peak of “on accident” stripped down.
In 2019 Leah Capelle shared her heart-wrenching video for “know me better” following the exclusive premiere via PRIDE. They raved, “Grab a glass of wine, turn up the volume, and try to resist prancing around the room in your underwear.” A story of self-discovery, the cinematic visual is a colorful and alluring production of pain, loss, and healing. With vocals that wistfully dance from one guitar strand to the other, Capelle brings you into her dismal world.
NYLON dubbed the “know me better” single as “the perfect breakup song to dance-cry the pain away” but Capelle describes the single as much more once the layers are peeled back. At its core, the emotionally charged anthem is about coming to terms with the relationship you have with yourself and your identity then growing from it, though ultimately triggered by the loss of someone significant in your life. The song leaps into realms lost, found, broken, and mended as Capelle confronts her pain head-on. Piecing back the puzzles of heart and self, “know me better” is about knowing yourself again.
The young artist recently joined the Breedlove Guitars family, headlined the Emerging Artists Series at Summerfest, toured across the US and jumped on an opening slot for Knox Hamilton in her hometown of Chicago, all while clocking in endless hours at the studio and racking up over 100K followers across her social media independently. In addition, she’s landed coverage with ATWOOD, Buzzbands.la, Earmilk, GLAAD, Grimy Goods, Guitar Girl Magazine, Parade, PopDust, PopMatters, Spindle Magazine, and penned guest blogs for Betches and The Talkhouse.
One thing remains true as Leah Capelle continues to build her catalogue – “every songwriter is more than just a voice.” In her guest blog on The Talkhouse, the artist questions “What is our responsibility as artists? Is it to provide a much-needed break from the heaviness of the news? Is it to simply provide entertainment, to become one more distraction from the daily responsibilities of life? Is it to be the voice of our whole generation, or to be, just a voice for those who can’t put their feelings into words?”
Since her arrival in 2015, Capelle has proven that she’s got it all – a song for everyone and any human experience in all of its duality.