Category Archives: SONGWRITING

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day


The Christmas edition of ‘Songs that Made Me Fall in Love with Music.’

I grew up in church and I still attend today. It’s a very special place to me, and when I think about ‘finding my voice’ in a historical sense – that is where I found it. The first songs I knew were hymns. So since it’s Christmas, I wanted to share one of my favorite carols we sang in church. I hope you enjoy.

Download & share the Christmas cheer. Please retweet, share it on Facebook, or burn the song to a CD and give it to someone who might like it. Merry Christmas!

Photo by Ian Dingle / Design by Alva Leigh

You can hear the first installment of “Songs that Made Me Fall in Love with Music” here.

ex-factor cover


I hope to share more versions of the songs that made me fall in love with music. To chart my musical history that led me to this point. It might get weird but whatever.

I was in 7th grade, a cheerleader in braces who worshipped her cool older brother. I had just lost my father. I loved pop music – I didn’t have anyone playing weathered vinyls of Joni (that came later); I listened to what was on the radio and I loved Lauryn Hill. She was more honest than Destiny’s Child (who I also loved, don’t get me wrong). She seemed true to herself and to her message, and that struck me. I remember buying the “Everything is Everything” single in 1999. It hung in one of those plastic CD sheets that you tacked on the wall, probably purchased from Spencer’s Gifts. On that single, there is a bonus track – a simple mix of “Ex-Factor.” It was one of the first songs that made me fall in love with music. Here is my version, my tribute to a pin in my musical map.

Please download & share.

Photo by Ian Dingle / Design by Alva Leigh


8 years ago, I stood wide-eyed in the Belmont cafeteria as I watched my hometown wash away. I was in the midst of establishing a new life while  losing all the props to my past one. It was strange and sad to feel so landlocked… unable to help and with so few people that shared my grief. So I cope how I cope. I wrote a song… I quilted together stories I’d heard with what I imagined it to be. When I wrote this song, I thought, I moved away and I can’t ever go back to the home I remember because it’s not there anymore. But a few weeks ago, I sang this in my mom’s living room for a group of close friends & family. It was an incredibly humbling experience to sing this song for the people who were really there, the people who rebuilt the hometown that I love with grit and humanity and fierce pride. Those people – and the incredible community on the MS Gulf Coast – make it home – and their sustaining spirit can never be washed away.

Video by Jeff Harrison

Listen to “Hurricane” on Spotify or purchase in my store

Built by 360 Zen

© 2014 Alva Leigh