Let me preface this interview by saying that I am absolutely biased when it comes to Aleigha Durand. When our Director said he wanted Aleigha as our featured artist this year - I immediately agreed. I have had the pleasure of watching Aleigha grow into a beautiful and talented musician and leader. Above everything, Aleigha simply loves to sing. You can catch her singing her heart out this Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 4pm at Kuumunity’s 5th Annual Benefit Concert. Get your tickets now! In the meantime, check out my interview with Aleigha! This interview has been edited for clarity. - Zanya, Marketing Director
Zanya - Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview!
Aleigha - You’re welcome!
Zanya- This year at Kuumunity's 5th Annual Concert, you'll be our featured artist! Are you excited, nervous, or both?
Aleigha - Definitely both. I’ve never done anything like this before and I love singing, obviously. I’m just excited to share music that other people have written and to be in a space where people love music. I just want to make people happy!
Zanya - I know the Director, Sheldon Reid, really wanted to highlight your talent this year. As the youngest member of the choir, it must be an honor! How long have you been singing and how old are you now?
Aleigha - I have been singing since I can remember. I don’t even know when I started singing; probably around 3. My family is a very musical family so I grew up singing. And… I’m 17 right now.
Zanya - Who would you say has been your biggest fans?
Aleigha - Aww! Definitely my parents. My parents have always supported me and are constantly pushing me to do better. And there’s Sheldon. Definitely Sheldon. Sheldon has been…he’s always been there. Always helping me get better and he believes in me and wants me to be greater so, yeah, he’s definitely one of my biggest fans. And my brothers. Actually— a lot of my friends…just everybody! I don’t know…
Zanya - (jokingly) Oh, look at me, everybody loves me!
A- I mean, no no not like that! My supporters - like my friends, my close friends. I just have a lot of people that support me.
Zanya - Of course, We are all your fans! On a different note, what recent singing opportunities have you had?
A- I had an opportunity to sing with Angelique Kidjo**. Just meeting her and singing with her has been a blessing. She's a great performer and I’ve been lucky enough to be one of her back-up singers on multiple occasions. Probably the biggest venue with her was at Central Park in NYC. It was really cool. And also in Copley Square in Boston. And hopefully, fingers-crossed, I’ll get to sing with her at the end of this month at Jazz Fest in Newport.
Zanya- Awesome! Where else do you typically sing?
A - I sing at my church. A lot. I sing at a different church, Philly SDA and I also sing with the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College. I’ll sing wherever I can. If I get invited to sing I’ll go, I love singing.
Zanya - What’s your favorite singing memory?
Aleigha - Wow. Hmm…that’s interesting. My favorite singing memory…I would say, every time I sing with Angelique it’s a blessing and it’s a great memory. Aside from that, one of the memories I’m thinking of right now is my last concert with Kuumba. That was definitely- it was unexpected. Like, the concert itself was very emotional, because it was my last concert. From the songs that we sing to the feelings during the concert- it just all meant a lot to me.
Zanya - Last but not least, you've recently graduated from high school right?
Aleigha - Yes.
Zanya - Congratulations! What’s next for you?
Aleigha - Right now, I am on my way to Alabama. I’m going to Oakwood University.
Zanya - Do you know what you’re going for?
Aleigha - I do, but I don’t!
Zanya - Don’t worry- nobody does!
Aleigha - I’m leaning towards majoring in Biology and minoring in music. Maybe!
Zanya - Great! It’s been a pleasure, thanks for answering all my questions and I can’t wait to hear you blow us away on Sunday!
**Angelique is a Beninese-born American Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and activist.