Jamie Leonhart: Use Your Illusion

If you’ve listened to any of my albums from the last fifteen or so years, chances are you’ve heard Jamie Leonhart.

Jamie makes rent as a background and session singer for acts like Steely Dan and St. Vincent, a vocal instructor, and a voiceover artist for brands like Neutrogena.

Her first album, The Truth About Suffering, earned local praise and the breakout sing-a-long hit, “Control Freak.”

In 2015, Jamie was commissioned by the world-famous Public Theater in New York City to create ESTUARY: an artist | mother story. Her one-woman musical narrative weaves together songs and stories that draw corollary between the mother/artist relationship and ebb and flow of an estuary – those delicately balanced transition zones between river and sea. It is a breathtaking, deeply moving piece.

And this week, Jamie’s releasing “The Illusion of Blue,” a collection of lush, beautifully-realized compositions that explore love, loss, commitment, and rebirth.

The Illusion of Blue came originally from a trip to Iceland,” she told me of her new album.

“The glacier had calved some icebergs and they were this extraordinarily bright, beautiful blue because of the way that the ice has been compacted over the centuries. The only thing that we see reflected back is the blue. That’s all we see, even though there’s so much more in there, you know?”

Despite being a very big deal, Jamie has always generously accepted my invitation to join me on-stage, or in the studio where we’ve recorded dozens of songs together, from “Blue Christmas,” to this 2020 cover of YAZ’s, “Only You.” Our version of “Killing The Blues” is, to be honest, pretty stunning.

My gratitude for Jamie extends well beyond the music, stage or studio. Because in all the moments before, after and in-between, Jamie has always been game to get into all the gray areas of life, love and art, self, spouse and family. 

She is, as you’ll hear in our conversation, a Fellow Traveler.

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