Meet our latest digital cover star, the mind behind viral sensation ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ as she reinvents ‘00s nostalgia with infectious confidence.
Just like everyone right now, we are obsessed with Y2K, so it’s about time to bring what we love most about the era: a true pop star. Someone who’s our long-distance bestie, a dancefloor partner, a metaphorical shoulder to cry on and an ultimate slay. Someone with a god-like quality of being imperfectly perfect. Relatable. “Since I was three years old, I was like, ‘I want to be a pop star’,” says Leah Kate, the viral sensation behind TikTok hit ‘10 Things I Hate About You’, “Before I even knew I could write a song that’s what I wanted to do”. Today, millions of fans online turn to Leah for post-breakup anthems and self-confidence boosters. All served in a form of pop-rock bangers.
“That’s all I want to do is empower people and make my listeners feel something and help. I’m so forever grateful that people listen. It means the world to me,” the singer reveals, still shocked seeing her shows selling out at the speed of light and the messages of love pouring out of her DMs. Leah’s career turned upside down. “It’s just made me work harder, and definitely put more pressure but I’m the same Leah,” the artist admits. In the thick of the creative craziness, it’s only about to get wilder as Leah’s just debuted her most daring record yet, Alive and Unwell.
“Life isn’t perfect. You can be living your wildest dreams, but also, be low at the same time,” the singer talks about the ups and downs of last year. Drove to the wall, Leah decided that it was about time to get rid of bullies, gaslighting exes, and her self-saboteur. She locked them up in a series of exhilarating songs. “If someone hurts me, I’m excited because I’m gonna get a good song out of it. My best songs come from the most real, truest experiences,” she smiles, “The best revenge is when they know it’s about them”.
Growing up on the music of nineties and noughties rulebreakers Leah Kate has the rock ‘n’ roll confidence in her blood. Thanks to everyone’s favourite troublemakers like No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, OutKast and Avril Lavigne, she learnt to believe in the power of modern nostalgia. “The pop music that came out of that time was just so good”. Alive and Unwell takes the bad-ass attitude of the era and amplifies it x100 to express the emotional intensity of living in the here and now.
In ‘Monster’, Leah takes the tile of a psycho bitch and nightmare freak back, subverting her way to success. “My whole life has been me trying to prove myself or take my power back between friends screwing me over or internet going against me and trolling me online or an ex being like ‘You’re so crazy.’ Watch me be crazy. Or someone being like ‘don’t pursue music’. It makes what to do music more,” she shares.
In case of emergencies and if the last source of positive energy runs out, Leah Kate has a secret weapon, ‘Life Sux’, a hedonistic, middle-fingerish, ode to the self. “Even if things are really hitting the fan and aren’t going well, laugh at it. Have fun trying to make the best out of it,” she reminds us, “There are days that I feel insecure, I’ve been dumped or whatever. I feel like I hate everything. Sometimes you just have to remember, it’s gonna be okay. […] Drink up. Get wasted. Got one life, who cares? It’s like my motto. Sometimes you have to talk yourself down and be like, ‘it’s gonna be fine’. Whatever. Calm down”. Leah Kate believes in total empowerment: no matter what share of injustices the everyday deals you, she’s gonna work it in her favour.
Though Leah’s been a burning sensation for a while now, it was a struggle to break out from the often-cold-hearted LA. “I felt like I was stuck in high school forever. I had to leave and move to New York. It was great growing up in LA. I loved it, but there’s also a lot I hated about it. I just felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted. I felt very judged, and everyone knew me as a certain person,” she says. Leah’s road to redemption led her through the hells of New York. “I became such a degenerate and literally had the worst friends, dated the worst guys, was so drunk all the time, was just such a mess,” Leah’s refreshingly honest. She’s got no regrets for the past. It granted her career: “If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have these stories of this part of me because I’ve calmed down a lot in recent times”.
Talking to us from her hotel room, Leah emanates a peaceful determination. Leaving fake friends behind and prioritising what she loves, music and the close ones, she exists in a happy equilibrium. “I hang out with my mom and my aunt and my dog. I keep my really close people close,” Leah admits. As a songwriter who has to be a content creator, TikToker and a whole rounded creative, balance is key. “I wear a bazillion hats constantly but it’s okay. It keeps it fun and exciting. And, you know, why not?” Leah laughs.
As she’s about to embark on the EU tour, Leah can’t wait to translate online to face-to-face connections with fans and show off her newest fashion gems. “I love picking together crazy outfits and putting them together. They reflect my energy, my songs and my stories. It’s very weird. People love to make jokes about what I wear,” she says and, not bothered, adds, “I love to break the rules. That’s my favourite thing to do”.
Listening to Alive and Unwell on repeat, we suddenly feel less and less triggered by the nasty noise of the outside, inspired to build healthy borders and start to appreciate the small stunning things in our lives. We feel proud. Leah Kate brings back the ‘00s sentiment dressed in 2022 confidence and a tonne of talent. “Who cares if something doesn’t work? Who cares what anyone thinks? If people like you, hate you, whatever. Go for it. Do what you love. You only live once so who cares?” Leah advises. Like a true pop star would.