When Leigh Nash was 16, she found herself on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans performing a number one hit. That song, "Kiss Me", topped the charts internationally. Five albums over 14 years is impressive for any band, but for Leigh Nash and her time with Sixpence None The Richer, it was a difficult period filled with what she calls bad business decisions. The band broke up in February 2004.
Nash has now released her first solo album, "Blue On Blue", along with a holiday EP [extended play recording - usually 4-5 songs] called, "Wishing For This". Larry London welcomed Leigh Nash and her guitarist into VOA's studios to discuss the past and the future.
Sixpence None The Richer started in a small town in Texas as a Christian music band, earning numerous Dove Awards until ultimately ending up with one of 1999s most-recognized pop songs, "Kiss Me." The song was featured in the film, "She's All That" and on the U.S. television show, "Dawson's Creek", also earning a Grammy nomination. "Kiss Me" was even the wedding song for Prince Edward of Britain's Royal Family.
Sixpence None The Richer took "Kiss Me" to number one in 11 countries, including the U.S.
Leigh Nash told us, "I think we (Sixpence None The Richer) were in Italy, and we were already having a really good time. We were always very unassuming and just kind of going about our business with our heads down (laughs). Not that we were ashamed, just interested in each other and having a good time. Then we heard some great news like that and I guess we still reacted the same way, we were just shy about it."
A number one hit like "Kiss Me" is not necessarily complicated to write. This one was written in just 20 minutes by Nash's bandmate, Matt Slocum.
"We were both sitting in a motel in Holland, separate rooms. He called and said, 'I have this new song I just wrote. Come over here and learn it!' – which was generally the way he talked to me, barked orders (laughs). But I came over there and learned the song. We performed it at this festival in Holland called "Flavofest" that night, I think. They were the first people to ever hear it. There were kind of different lyrics because he ended up changing them a few years later. That song was written a few years before we actually recorded it and before it became such a big hit."
All good things come to an end, and in 2004, Sixpence None The Richer decided they had had enough.
"We were exhausted,” said Nash. “It had been 14 years. We kind of looked at each other, and [working] like this was going to end in one of our deaths. We needed to quit while we're kind of ahead, so we did. I was pregnant with my first child (Henry), and so I was about to enter this whole new chapter anyway. I felt pretty secure in the decision that this is what I needed to do because my life is going to be different now. I do feel more in control now, which is good when you have a kid."
Leigh Nash has a beautiful voice. She wrote or co-wrote all the songs for her debut solo CD, "Blue On Blue."
It wasn't always her plan to be a singer, however. "Well, I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force for a long time, but then I grew out of that and decided I love Patsy Cline, and I started to try to imitate her voice around my dad and his crazy friends. They thought it was really funny, and would have me do it in front of them just to entertain them, I guess. That's how I learned to have my own voice. So I started singing country music, and then met Matt Slocum in high school, my partner from Sixpence. The next thing you know, we had a record deal and it got crazy."
As one door closes, another opens. And so goes the musical journey of Leigh Nash. She has no idea where her new path will lead her.
"Mainly what I feel is really proud of the accomplishment of making my first record and being able to stand behind it, and to say that I think it’s wonderful and I'm really proud of it,” she says. “I don't really feel a lot of pressure because I feel like it will either happen or it won’t. I'm going to work as hard as I can and do as good a job as I can and if it doesn't work out -- too bad."