December 13, 2018  

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USM Alumna Takes Flute to New Heights with Debut Album

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USM alumna Christopher Leigh's new album "Infrared" features songs combining classical flute with a pop/rock flare.

University of Southern Mississippi alumna Christopher Leigh hopes to change people’s perceptions and impressions of the flute with her debut album “Infrared.”

The self-published album, released last month, features songs combining classical flute with a pop/rock flare. Leigh, who earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from USM in 2012, notes that the album also includes “big” songs that sound as though they burst from a movie soundtrack.

“I think one of my main goals with the project was basically to just let people know I’m here and that I’m trying to do something that I think is a little different and, hopefully, interesting,” said Leigh, who recorded the album at Infrared Studio Productions in Little Rock, Ark. “I also wanted to turn people on to music they might not normally listen to and change their perceptions about what the flute can do and be and sound like.”

For example: “I don’t think people expect to hear distortion or overdrive on a flute,” she noted.

Leigh, 33, credits professors at USM for advancing her drive to infuse the flute’s classical stylings with a harder rock edge.

“Although I was a classically trained musician, I always had aspirations of doing something a little bit different,” said Leigh. “I love classical music and I love rock n’ roll, and I had been wanting for years to combine the two genres. My teachers at USM were in full support of the idea and really encouraged me to pursue it.”

A Jackson, Miss., native, Leigh spent her formative years in Little Rock, where she currently resides. She obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas.

Leigh is not currently signed to a record label – a fact that does not discourage or hinder her dreams. She points out that the avenues for self-promotion and distribution are much more prevalent today for artists, thanks to social media.

“This was very much a DIY project, which I think a lot of musicians are doing these days,” she said. “It’s not difficult to put yourself and your work out there for the rest of the world to see and experience as I think it used to be. With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, you can potentially have eyes on you from around the world in just minutes.”

Leigh’s musical influences cover a vast spectrum – from classical artists such as Bond and Vanessa Mae, to vintage rock acts like The Beatles, David Bowie, Allman Brothers, Golden Earring and Bad Company.

Leigh’s immediate desire and ultimate goal with her debut album is to reach as many people as possible, particularly those unfamiliar with professional flutists. She also hopes to travel and perform – either in a group dynamic or solo.

“I want to try to engage more people with what I do and hopefully they will become interested in listening to my brand of music,” she said. “It’s a difficult sort of trial and error process at times, but it’s fun, too.”

To learn more about Christopher Leigh’s music, visit: https://www.christopherleighmusic.com/home-1