Unsigned by American Idol, Leah Marlene Feels “Misunderstood”

(ABC/Eric McCandless) LEAH MARLENE

Since American Idol Season 20 ended in May, it has been full speed ahead for show alums. The American Idol label arm, 19Recordings has apparently signed winner, Noah Thompson, runner-up HunterGirl, Top 5 singer Fritz Hager and Top 11 finisher Allegra Miles.

However a big glaring omission from that list is 2nd runner-up, Leah Marlene. Why did 19 pass on signing this extremely talented singer songwriter? Only the people at the label can say. And today Leah is speaking out in frustration over being “misunderstood” in the industry. She doesn’t begrudge her friends’ success (this weekend, ten 19 Recordings artists will take part in a couple of label showcases) but currently, she feels like she’s going in “never ending circles.”

The singer posted her commentary alongside a song she just wrote for herself and others who might be “feeling lost/confused/frustrated/stuck in life,” she writes, “this one’s for you.”


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A post shared by Leah Marlene (@leahmarlenemusic)

“It’s really freaking hard…I feel very misunderstood by the industry”

“Hi. I could write a novel about my experience coming off of American Idol,” Leah writes in a lengthy Instagram caption. “Moral of the story is that it has been really freaking hard. I have been working my a** off nonstop to make something happen out of this and I feel like I’m going in never ending circles.”

She continues, “I feel very misunderstood by the industry and it has made me question everything about who I am and what I want. I love my friends so much and am so incredibly happy and proud to see them thriving post show, but in my own selfish little world the comparison game has made these few months that much harder.”

Leah realizes that there are folks in her corner. “I know I have countless people that are so proud of me and believe in me so deeply. And I know that we are all on our own journey and our own timeline. But somehow I just feel so deeply alone in this experience.”

“I can no longer pretend like it all doesn’t phase me.”

She feels exhausted, “I’m at the point of complete emotional exhaustion and I can no longer pretend like it all doesn’t phase me. I feel incredibly lost, confused, stuck, and beyond all things, frustrated. I do recognize that many things have changed in my life because of the show, but in almost every way I still have found myself back at square one.”

She continued her thoughts in comments when her message got too long for the caption. Leah has a lot to get off her chest.

“Anybody that knows me knows that I have been putting my EVERYTHING into pursuing this dream for well over 6 years now (+ the 7 years of performing and learning my craft even before that). I didn’t just come on this show with no experience and a naive little dream of pop stardom. I have been putting the work in for over half of my life time.

“I know my value and I know that I have something incredibly unique and important to contribute to music”

Leah feels so frustrated. “So it feels pretty sh**** to feel like I’m back at the start all over again after such a promising opportunity,” she says. “I know my value and I know that I have something incredibly unique and important to contribute to music and to this world. I just wish somebody that had any power could see it too. (and not be afraid of the work it takes to think outside of the box and take the road less traveled in an industry of quick money and apathy).”

But in the end, she’s keeping the faith, “Anyway. I know this season is paving the way for something so beautiful in the future and it’s all going to be alright. I just can’t not be transparent about this current season not being the dream come true that so many people that follow me here think it is. Thank you for your endless encouragement, love and support. Here’s to brighter days ahead!”

Leah signed a management deal and is currently touring

Besides continuing to write songs, Leah will be out on tour this summer. She just played a show in Ottawa, Canada over the weekend. From there, she’s playing shows in Evanston Illinois, a big hometown show in Normal, Illinois (Fritz Hager and season 16 winner Maddie Poppe will open), Los Angeles Denver and more.

She has a team. Madison House announced recently they are managing and booking her shows. It’s hard but someone close should remind her that Idol alums like Jax, Catie Turner and Lauren Spencer-Smith got major label deals without 19R signing them after the show. Chin up, girl.


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A post shared by Leah Marlene (@leahmarlenemusic)

About mj santilli 34995 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!