George Leach is a blues musician from Sta’atl’imx Nation (Lillooet) who spoke to Hazelton secondary students about his journey before beginning his latest solo tour in Hazelton.
Leach began his musical life during high school, when he found he had too much physical activity.
He wanted balance.
“It was a very practical time management decision,” Leach said, laughing.
“I dropped a physical education class and picked up a music class.
“My dad had a guitar he bought for my brothers and I and it was just laying around, so I thought I’d give it a try.”
Leach began writing immediately and hasn’t let up since.
One reason he credits for his success, which he shared with students at Hazelton secondary the day of his performance, was simply being himself.
“I don’t really listen to music too often,” Leach admitted.
“I am such a sponge for everything around me that I feel it would change my style.
“From the very beginning I promised myself I would always be myself no matter what.”
Leach noticed other musicians would mimic Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn, which is impressive, but was not as important as finding a sound all his own.
Leach now shares his message willingly, where he used to be reluctant.
“I was aware of my own path and how I did most of my stuff on my own,” he said.
“I didn’t ever want to say the wrong thing and derail somebody.
“Now, after speaking a few times I’ve found that I have a lot to share.”
Leach isn’t the type of musician to rush a song and he compares his songs to growing a garden.
“I can’t really scream at my songs to get them to grow,” he explained.
“Everyday I get up and nurture my work along without forcing it.”
Strip away the things you say and you’re left with what you do, is the core of Leach’s song Carry Me, which took more than five years to see the light of day.
His new album, Surrender, is an evolution of sorts.
“As a writer this album represents a twelve year transformation,” Leach said.