Heather Leigh

Heather Leigh (born 1976) is a West Virginian, Texas raised composer and singer currently based in Glasgow. She is renowned for her spontaneous composition and for redefining the pedal steel guitar, taking the instrument beyond the bounds of the country and western genre. As a solo artist, she explores themes relating to the representation of women, sexuality and vulnerability.

Leigh’s 2015 album I Abused Animal (Ideologic Organ/Editions Mego) received wide international acclaim, showcasing her talent as a composer, songwriter and vocalist, as well as her pedal steel guitar innovations. This album built upon previous successful releases including Nightingale (Golden Lab Records) and Devil if You Can Hear Me (Not Not Fun).

She has an extensive catalogue of collaborative work, which in recent years has focused on her duo with German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. She has toured widely in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Heather Leigh | I am greatly honoured and humbled to receive the generous Paul Hamlyn Award. Since the release of my solo LP, ‘I Abused Animal’ and my duo LP with Peter Brötzmann, ‘Ears Are Filled With Wonder’, I’ve had the opportunity to play venues and festivals I’ve never played before alongside gracious widespread critical acclaim for my approach to composition and improvisation. The award will allow me the freedom to focus solely on developing and furthering my work with pedal steel guitar and voice as a solo artist, in duo with Peter Brötzmann and in collaboration with other musicians both live and in the studio.