Laura Leighe

Written by Meg McElhaney in the July 2013 Issue

Oklahoma’s music scene, while flourishing, isn’t known for pop music. But the two members of Laura Leighe are using that to their benefit by creating a sound as unique as their home state.

Laura Gosset and Zack Dumbleton are working together as the band Laura Leighe to make an impact in Oklahoma. The simple piano-and-drums sound isn’t an easy sell according to Zack, the drummer for the duo. It’s also a bit of a novelty—a pop act from Oklahoma. Trent Stockton, Laura’s husband, manager, co-producer and native Oklahoman, says it’s even become a point of interest for when they perform for out-of-town crowds. “It’s usually Laura Leighe, from Oklahoma, when they’re getting introduced,” said Trent.

Laura Leighe and Zack DumbletonLaura, born and raised in Duncan, Oklahoma, has been working on her career professionally since the release of her self-titled debut EP in 2009. Upon graduating from the University of Oklahoma and after teaching piano lessons in Norman for a while, she moved to Los Angeles to meet with producers and work on her music. “I was working to get more radio-friendly by trying out the girl-with-a-piano sound and my producers told me that there was only one slot for that on the radio,” said Laura.

All of this changed when Bruno Mars hit the radio in Los Angeles featuring a sound that was different enough from both rap and singer-songwriter to flirt with both. When Laura heard the combination of the intricate melody of a singer-songwriter mashed up with the beats from rap music, she knew she could do it, too.

Fast-forward a few years…Laura and her husband returned to their home state of Oklahoma. After she came back, she was introduced to the drummer who would become the other half of Laura Leighe. “I met Zack through some other musicians at LifeChurch where I sing,” Laura said. “He and my husband were pretty good friends and I had always wanted to play with a band—a girl and a piano limits where you can play.”

Zack, also a native Oklahoman, has enjoyed his own success before teaming up with Laura. As a former drummer for Theater Breaks Loose, he has opened for acts like 3OH!3 and Mayday Parade.

Laura Leighe EP

Although Laura wanted to play in a band with Zack, it was originally Zack’s idea that they didn’t need anyone else—they would perform as a duo using his drumming prowess and her vocal and piano talent. They’ve been performing less than a year and have already begun to define a sound of their own. The best part? They’re doing all of this in Oklahoma.

Zack and Trent work together on the rhythms and drum beats and Laura writes the lyrics and melodies. The band admits their current production process is haphazard. They record out of Laura and Trent’s in-home studio and send the files to their producers in L.A. The producers then send back different beats, samples and ideas. Through it all, the band is still a work in process. “We’ve only been at this for around a year,” Zack said. “We’re still trying to figure out the best way to write songs.”

Laura and Zack have a hard time choosing which of their songs are their favorites. It’s apparent that both genuinely love the music they create. Zack’s current favorite is “Heaven,” from their self-titled EP, and Laura admitted it had a special meaning to her. “I heard the “Heaven” track and then the next day Trent and I went to lunch and he began talking about shopping for a ring,” Laura said. “We had dated for four years and hadn’t talked about marriage yet, so that’s what inspired that song.”

Although they’re still working on finetuning their sound—right now it’s all pop with retro touches—they’re still very connected to the community. Both Laura and Zack perform at different churches around the metro.

Laura and ZackFor Laura Leighe, everything is new and exciting. Though they’re getting into more venues around Oklahoma City, they’re also looking to start expanding their audience to other states. Their next EP is also in their thoughts, along with a possible tour. Although starting out in a state that isn’t known for producing pop artists, Laura best explains their success in a nutshell: “You bloom where you’re planted.”

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