Release Date: September 29th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Crazy Beautiful You
- Fragile Heart
You know how it is when one of your favourite artists recommends another artist, and then you check them out on the basis of the word of the artist you’ve listened to for ages, only to find that this new artist is equally as talented as the artist you’ve been listening to for ages? Head hurt yet? Let me put it this way. When I was scrolling through Matthew West’s facebook feed not too long ago, I came across a post where he was advocating the music of newcomer Leanna Crawford. And I was like, ‘let’s just check it out, it can’t be that bad if Matthew West is endorsing it, right’ What I heard completely surprised me in a good way, in a very good way. Currently on the All In Tour with Matthew West and Jordan Feliz (of ‘The River’ fame), I have virtually know understanding of Leanna aside from these three songs I’ve heard from her debut EP. Yes, no information on the internet about her story until now, how she got into music, her testimony, nothing…aside from these 3 songs, all of which I know are co-written with Matthew West and herself. Which makes this ‘review’ of sorts a little difficult. Usually for any new artist, I write a little bit about their background and litter it with quotes directly from them if I don’t really have much to say…because who doesn’t love to read quotes from the actual artists about how they came to Christ? But not anyone. No hiding behind quotes or hiding behind just re-gurgitation of information if I have no clue about what I’m doing…well aside from taking about these three songs that is.
Because I hardly know Leanna if at all, I can only go by what I know. No. 1- her 3 songs off her new EP were all written with Matthew West. Yes, Matthew West. The same Matthew who wrote ‘The Motions’, ‘Save a Place For Me’, ‘More’, ‘My Own Little World’, ‘Do Something’, ‘Hello My Name Is’, ‘Grace Wins’, ‘Mended’ and more recently ‘Broken Things’? Yes, that Matthew West. So…I guess that’s saying something about her music, right? For Leanna to have all of her music co-written with a CCM legend, and to have her (on selected dates) for the All In Tour is a feat in and of itself. And so when I heard these three songs in ‘Crazy Beautiful You’, ‘Stars’ and ‘Fragile Heart’, all of which are different sonically and musically, we have a glimpse into this new artist that we know nothing about…and that is ok. ‘Crazy Beautiful You’ is a pop radio friendly track a la Britt Nicole, that speaks about how wonderful, marvellous and beautiful we are as humans created by the King, sort of like another ‘More Beautiful You’-type anthem of sorts, while the other two are much more reflective and subdued.
‘Stars’ a moment of realisation that the stars at night are shining and reflecting the glory of God, while ‘Fragile Heart’ is full of keyboard as Leanna invites us all to realise that there are moments of life where our heart is fragile, and that during the healing process, we ought not to scoot over the painful truth that often our hearts need to become fragile in order for us to rely solely on Christ to fix what is inherently wrong with us! All these three songs have a trademark Matthew West spark all over them, and all of which could’ve been covered by him and placed on his new album All In and it still would’ve fit! Congrats to Leanna on these 3 songs, and while they aren’t the most ‘polished’ or ‘refined’, they do bring to the table heart and poignancy, as this new artist that everyone should listen to, regardless of whether we know their background or not, is arguably one of my favourite’s I’ve heard since I AM THEY, Lauren Daigle, Dan Bremnes and Stars Go Dim a few years ago!
‘…writing songs at a very young age, the 1995 born singer has penned nearly forty songs, one landing her the Praise 106.5 Music Search 2013 winner, with her song, “Moment by Moment” produced by Dove Award winning producer, Ed Cash. Since then, Leanna has opened for Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline, sang the National Anthem for a sold out crowd at a Pentatonix concert, sang on National TV, and won the Christian Music Summit Vocal Artistry Award put on by Tim Carson of Vocal Artistry… Currently, she attends Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, majoring in Music Business and Vocal Performance. Her passion is to live out what she believes God has called her to do; singing, performing and writing songs to bring glory to Him…’ Aside from this aforementioned information I found on her facebook bio page, there’s virtually no other information on Leanna and her music…that is till now of course. I reckon this new EP from Leanna will be sure to catch on to whomever hears it, listeners and critics alike. Leanna is very enthusiastic and passionate, heartfelt and emotive, and dare I say, maybe even a little ‘mainstream’ in her approach to these songs…and that’s ok. Hearing her and her music, I am reminded of various ‘mainstream’ contemporaries, like Tori Kelly and Rachel Platten, even her song ‘Fragile Heart’ has some Norah Jones vibes to it. So I guess maybe, just maybe, this new EP will cross the sacred-secular divide and bridge the gap a little? Maybe. Nevertheless, I’m sure it was (and is!) a huge honour for Leanna to co-write with Matthew. These songs are a result. Congrats to Leanna on a set of songs that’s sure to be on my repeat iTunes playlist for months to come! Can’t wait to hearing more music in the upcoming months and years ahead!
3 songs to listen to: all of them, and then all of them again!
RIYL: Rachel Platten, 1GN, Moriah Peters, JJ Heller, Amanda Cook, Lauren Daigle, Dara Maclean