This week’s Women in Entertainment spotlight is dedicated to a young woman whose experience level is light years beyond her years. Despite her youth, Hope Leigh is not only a singer/songwriter currently based in Los Angeles, California, she is also a dynamic humanitarian who founded the Dance Free Movement, an anti-bullying campaign launched in support of Sean O’Brien, aka the Dancing Man.
After growing up in rural North Carolina, Leigh attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music from American University in Washington D.C. where she became an ambassador and weekly resident performer at the non-profits arts center Bloombars. In addition, she became a music ambassador for the Humanitarian non-profit Samaritan’s Feet and traveled on multiple mission trips including ones to Malawi and South Africa to provide children with shoes.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles in 2010, Hope created the indie-folk duo Me & Mr. Cassidy (MAMC), along with fellow musician Scott Cassidy. MAMC went on to win the Sony Records Talent Search in Novemebr 2013, after releasing their debut album, Me and Mr. Cassidy Volume I, in 2010. They have also released an EP in 2013, I Would Love You So, as well as two singles, “Wherever You Go” in 2013 and “Save for Now” in 2015. Their EP went on to win the coveted 2013 LA Music Awards Pop Album of The Year.
MAMC set out on a tour of the United States in the summer of 2013, with various appearances and airplay on NPR, College Radio, and SiriusXM. Their music video for “Save For Now” starred model/actor Michael Turchin and Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Tatyana Ali.
In 2012, Hope became the Music Curator/Director of Tuesdays at 9 LA, a weekly writer’s series created in 1995 in New York by the Naked Angeles Theatre Company. She also held a weekly residency at Sage Bistro in Culver City from September 2013 to March 2015. Leigh also gave a TEDx talk and performance on folk music in 2014.
Leigh became a member of the women’s charity “I Am That Girl” in 2013, empowering women and girls worldwide, and performed at their first ever retreat in the fall of 2014. She also performed “What a Wonderful World” at the wedding of pop star Lance Bass in December 2014 and was featured in the E! special “Lance Loves Michael.” She followed that up in February 2015 by appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live as a band member for British pop sensation Charli XCX. She completed her first solo European tour In March 2015, with performances in Holland and Germany as part of the Uterecht LRC concert series.
Upon her return, Leigh released her first solo single since 2009, “Home To Me,” with a star studded music video featuring Lance Bass, Tatyana Ali, Sadie Robertson, Andrew WK, Damienne Merlina, Jumoke Hill, Alex Preston, Insider, Soul Pancake, Andrew Carpenter, Matt Diaz and over 250 global submissions, garnering support from dozens of national news outlets.
“Home To Me” was released in conjunction with the creation of Hope’s passion project, the Dance Free Movement. Along with a group of women in Los Angeles, Leigh created the mega viral #FINDDANCINGMAN while spearheading and planning the #IAMDANCINGMAN party with appearances from Monica Lewinsky, a presentation from Pharrell Williams and a DJ performance from Moby. This resulted in appearances on national and international TV (Good Morning America, The Today Show, Good Morning Britain), as well as on local CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC affiliates in Los Angeles, as well as write ups from Time Magazine, MTV, Billboard, Entertainment Tonight, BBC, People and more. The story spread worldwide and created a massive campaign for bullying prevention and body positivity, resulting in fundraising of more than $70,000 for various non-profits around the world.
Leigh is planning to release her first solo EP in the summer of 2015, with production by Will Noon and Nathan Harold of Fun. and appearances from Mike Garzon (Hello Goodbye), Emily Moore (Fun.), Justin Klunk (Ariana Grande), Luisa Lee (Michael Buble’), Ryan Amador and more with accompanying music videos for each track.
You can keep up with this remarkable artist through her Facebook pages (solo, MAMC, DanceFree) or by following her on Twitter (solo, MAMC, DanceFree) or Instagram.