The Libby Raper Elevate Award in Music Production 2022: Interview with Elysha Clay

By Alice Bhowmick & Ali Pritchard


Each year, a panel from Leeds Conservatoire awards The Libby Raper Elevate Award in Music Production. This award seeks to promote and celebrate the achievements of women (including trans women) and non-binary individuals. Those awarded are positive role models who inspire, support and empower their peers to succeed. We spoke to this year's winner, BA (Hons) Music (Production) graduate, Elysha Clay (Leasha C) about her achievements, her time at Leeds Conservatoire and the importance of supporting all women and non-binary individuals in the industry.

From organising show cases to representing the student body in interview panels, it’s lovely that you’ve been so involved with Leeds Conservatoire. Is there anything in particular that stands out the most? 

There have been so many experiences that I have been fortunate to participate in. I’d say that interviewing Andrew Scheps, and the F-List panel were two immense moments that spring to mind. Conversing with such humble professionals, offering gems of reflection, experiences and advice was profoundly insightful. Stage Managing the 2022 Production Showcase was similarly great fun; I was very lucky that the Music Production cohort are so fabulous. In July, I was also blessed with the opportunity to represent the University at the Gus Dudgeon Foundation x James 2022 Summer School with Ken Scott, which was the perfect end to an unforgettable 3 years on the Music Production Undergraduate degree.

You’ve recently released your first EP, well done! Can you tell us a bit about it and your influences? 

Absolutely! My debut, self-produced EP titled ‘Kill To Be Kind’ was released over a month ago now under my artist name Leasha C, and it’s doing really well! I am still stunned by the overwhelming support and positive reaction to my music; the thoughtful words and my audience’s visceral responses are things I’ll cherish when remembering my first ever professional release.

I am inspired by the greats and contemporary artists alike; Bowie, Eva Cassidy, Nightwish, Fleetwood Mac, Jacob Collier, Low Roar, Queens of the Stone Age, Kate Bush, Björk, Bon Iver, Amy Winehouse, Adele, etc. Often, this smorgasbord of creative influences isn’t overtly evident in my music, but I always find the links in my mind.

On a local scale, I am constantly inspired by those around me; my friends, classmates; and those who teach me; my lecturers and course leaders, who kept me grounded, motivated and curious throughout my Undergrad and now into my Postgrad, with their generous guidance. 

My parents, siblings and partner are my biggest influences, and I couldn’t have completed this degree, let alone this release, without them. I’m unbelievably blessed to have such fabulous people in my life supporting and encouraging me onwards.

So, whilst I’d change things here and there, I know this EP release reflects a significant moment in my life, and I’m content, in the knowledge that my artistry and production style is ever evolving.

What was it that inspired you to start a career as a producer? 

Despite having experienced, composed, performed, and recorded music from a young age, the decision to study a creative subject at university was one I made late in the UCAS application process. However, when I attended an open day at Leeds College of Music (as it was known at the time), no word of a lie, I instantly felt a connection to the place and applied that evening, with BA (Hons) Music Production as my first choice. The course talk had tapped into some things I hadn’t previously considered; firstly, that music production was an option available to me; as a composer, songwriter, and woman; and secondly, that in following my true passion, I had the potential to be financially stable, professionally fulfilled and personally successful.

This was the first huge step in beginning my career as a producer, a step that I’m grateful I had the opportunity to pursue in such a welcoming environment.

Listen to Leasha C's EP here.

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Music (Production) degree. 

By Alice Bhowmick & Ali Pritchard

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