Racking up millions of views on TikTok by sitting in her car and giving in-depth context behind her songs, we see reflections of us within Nashville based singer-songwriter Savanna Leigh. As she sits in the comfort of her home instead of the driver’s seat of her car, we discussed what it’s like adjusting to change, future goals, and her new singles “unfamiliar” and “like i used to” which came out January 30th.
Savanna Leigh via Soundcloud
I know you wrote the track “unfamiliar” when you moved from Florida to Nashville. Do you still find yourself relating to the track the same way you did to when you first wrote it?
S: Yeah, I definitely do. The more time I spend in Nashville, the more I feel like I’m finding a community. The first couple of years I was here, I was doing the typical college situation. I was doing music and felt trapped in a bubble of just college kids that were doing music. I hadn’t really ventured out of that bubble and made friends outside of school. I was disconnected a bit from the Nashville music scene and I’m pretty sure that’s why I felt alone those first few years. I also didn’t have any friends doing music. I naturally gravitated toward people doing the opposite, which was really weird. I would say now I definitely have more of a community, but Florida is always going to feel more “home-like” to me just because my friends and family are there.
Are you still based in Nashville now? Do you see yourself ending up back in Florida later on in life?
S: I’m still based in Nashville. I’ve been off-college and off-campus for a while. I left my sophomore year to do music. I go to Florida a lot, mostly during the summers and holidays. I mean if I could live in Florida, I totally would. My dream scenario would be to have an apartment in Nashville and an apartment in Florida. I think I’ll always need to have a home in Nashville just because work, music and collaborators are all here.
Is there anything you do in particular to find the comfort of home within Nashville?
S: One of the things that I try to do a lot here is focus on spending time with people that I’m really close to. I’m kind of like an inner circle type person. I definitely network and have acquaintances, but I’m not one of those people who has a friend for different things. I have three people I do everything with. We go to see movies, go out for coffee, and shop – all that type of stuff. I’m very much a creature of comfort and doing those types of activities brings me that same “home” feeling.
I’ve gotten told a lot by artists that the process of writing songs is the same as writing in a personal diary. Listening to this track definitely feels like I’m reading your entries, and even though I’ve never moved out of my hometown, I’m able to resonate with the song in a different way. Do you have any tips for those who struggle with change?
S: I would say to think in a very present tense. It’s something I’m trying to consciously do because I’m a very futuristic singer. I feel like my mind is always living like it’s five years ahead. When you have change happening, the anxiety is around the unknowns of everything and around what’s going to come in the future. For me, trying to stay present in what I’m experiencing today and not thinking super far ahead has helped. It has grounded me in a way. Journaling about things you’re grateful for on a daily basis is really helpful too. It’s about finding things, like you mentioned earlier, that resemble home and safety. It’s about implementing those into your new environment.
Would you say “like i used to” is an ode to your past self?
S: I definitely think so. I mean, I have a pretty strong sense of self. I think I’ve always kind of felt like I have that. But, there is definitely a difference between being young and not being very self-aware. Not having a lot of experiences really shape who you are and how you show up in the world. When I was younger, I was a lot more energetic and impulsive. Overall, just more confident. I still have those qualities, but they’re somewhat, I guess you could say a little bit watered-down. Growing up, experiencing life and being someone who enjoys being self-aware, I like looking into things about myself. Whether it’s different attachment styles or personality types. Knowing that information is so helpful but can also kind of be like, “OH NO!” because you start overthinking everything. I think this was one of those songs about just missing being that person and knowing that you may not be able to be that intense, and I guess, naive again.
It’s like that Taylor Swift lyric. How can someone know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?
S: YES TOTALLY.
Looking back on those years, do you have moments you regret and wish you could take back or do you see every life pattern as life lessons?
S: I don’t think I have many regrets at all. At least, I try not to. I think there’s definitely a lesson in everything and I think for me, especially just as a human, I’m a very controlled person and that’s a good and bad thing. When I was younger, I didn’t do things I think you’re supposed to do in high school. I was very determined to do well on my sports teams and do well performing my choir songs. I never did anything crazy, because I didn’t want to regret it, and that was always in the back of my head. I lived a super calculated young life experience. But, I wish sometimes I was able to let loose a little bit in certain areas and maybe do something that wasn’t so structured in my head. I think I was always super focused on making sure I was doing things I was proud of and not doing things I wasn’t proud of. I definitely don’t really have any regrets, but I do wish that I maybe was a little bit more carefree.
Do you have any dream collaborations and artists you’re inspired by?
S: I definitely am very inspired by Gracie Abrams, Holly Humberstone, and Taylor Swift. Of course Taylor Swift. I grew up listening to her and I think storytelling and lyric wise, she is so inspirational to me and I don’t see it being replicated in the way that she’s done it. I have influences too from growing up in Florida. I love R&B like Daniel Caesar, Frank Ocean, and Russ. But I feel like right now, Gracie Abrams and Lennon Stella are my two biggest influences for sure.
To end off, do you have any big things coming up this year we should be on the lookout for?
S: All the music that we have coming, not just these two singles, but you know later in the year, is probably the most excited I’ve been to put out music the whole time I’ve been doing it. It’ll be my fourth EP, I think. As you go through the process of making music and learning more about yourself as a writer, you eventually kind of lock in on a sound or something that you feel like really does match what you are experiencing and feeling. This project feels like that.