I have been calling myself an artist ever since I began to write and produce my own music at 14. I learned how to play the piano, viola, and cello at a very young age, I picked up how to play a drum set in high school, sang in various choirs, danced, performed in musicals and theatre productions, and even taught myself how to play guitar. Despite having a widespread love for music, I have always thought of myself as a singer before everything else.
On my 14th birthday, my parents bought me a Mac laptop and a 49-key MIDI keyboard to start recording and producing my own music. I loved the feeling I got from transforming a song I heard in my head into a tangible work of art that I could easily share with anyone. I was so excited about my newfound passion that I decided it was time to graduate on to live performing. I started by calling up a trusty guitarist friend to play jazz and contemporary music with. We rehearsed weekly until I began booking our own shows around the Chicago-land area. One gig led to another until we had multiple shows a week! I knew for certain that performing and recording was something I wanted to make a career out of.
At 18, I moved to New York to study Recorded Music at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and have since gotten a full band together to perform with: Katlyn Swanson & The Return. We play at venues like The Bitter End, The Delancey Bar, The National Underground, Ella Lounge, The Iridium Jazz Club, Slane Public House, Bowery Poetry Club, The Living Room, The Hit Factory, and Rockwood Music Hall. Upon graduating, I plan to stay in New York City to focus on promoting myself as a recording artist in addition to working as a booking agent for TurnStyle Music Group. I’m now writing music for my up-coming EP, “Under Cover,” to be released in 2014.

Leila Hegazy

Twenty-two year old Leila Hegazy is an old soul. Inspired by female jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, and soulful singer-songwriters like Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, and Alicia Keys, her music aims to be timeless, like that of the artists she admires.

Leila was born in San Diego, California to an Italian mother and Egyptian father. Raised in Staten Island, New York, she discovered her passion for singing at an early age and became a frequent soloist in her school chorus. Motivated by a need for independence, Leila started taking piano lessons so that she could accompany herself while she sang. By the age of eleven, she had written her first song, and transitioned from a talented young vocalist to a self-contained artist, poignantly expressing her thoughts and emotions through music.

Armed with a powerful voice, killer piano chops, and a knack for writing soulful melodies, Leila braved the two-hour commute from Staten Island to Manhattan to attend the world-renowned La Guardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts, also known to many as “The Fame School”. In addition to her training in classical voice, it was there that she studied songwriting under the guidance of Juilliard-trained pianist and composer, Robert Apostle, who was instrumental in her decision to become a professional singer-songwriter. While actively gigging in NYC with her band, Leila earned her B.M at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College. She recorded her debut EP (The Black and White EP) with Grammy-nominated producer and chair of Studio Production, Dr. Joseph Ferry. Her first full-length album ‘Looking Glass’ (recorded by producer/guitarist Dan Berry) was funded by online fans and enthusiasts she collected from her live shows, and was released independently on September 28, 2012.

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Katlyn Swanson with Leila Hegazy, Charley Paige

Friday, November 15 · 8:00 PM at Ella Lounge