Odie Leigh would never have called herself a musician before the depths of the 2020 pandemic when her rapper roomies made a bet: Whoever records a song that goes viral first, wins. Slightly ticked off that they hadn’t included her in the wager, she decided to hit them with her best shot, and Leigh was crowned the victor when a track she wrote blew up on TikTok. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna show y’all. I’m gonna win.’” Four years after posting what she calls “that silly joke song” on TikTok, Leigh has continued to transform and evolve as an artist — from what she calls “acoustic, ethereal folk sad girl music” to a harder-edge tunes that flirt with early Aughts pop-punktivism.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she sang in the church choir, sure — her grandfather built the building, after all, and her family attended three times per week. But after moving to New Orleans to study English, she fully intended on making her bones in the film industry. That 2020 wager changed things, though, when she realized that she could win hearts in addition to bets. Her first real single, “Ronnie’s Song,” followed in 2021, a sweetly silly track she wrote to cheer up a friend. Coming from the film world, she found songwriting freeing, unbound from the rigidity of screenplay and discovered that simplicity can be a strength.
She released her first EP, How Did It Seem to You?, in 2022, about a situationship gone wrong. Recorded everywhere from Louisiana to Miami, “That first EP was born out of desperation to feel heard and be connected,” she says. “Releasing that EP is probably like one of the scariest things I’ve ever done because it was just so real and embarrassing. All of my music is stuff I would never say out loud.” In 2023, Leigh dropped her second, EP, The Only Thing Worse Than a Woman Who Lies Is a Girl Who’ll Tell Truths, which was recorded in the woods of Tennessee. “That second project was definitely like the edgier, angrier step up from: I’m a girl that makes folk music,” she says.
After those releases began gaining steam on social media, Leigh started hitting stages hard. She toured Europe, North America, and played Newport Folk in 2023; she also has festival gigs like Shaky Knees and Kilby Block Party, among others, later this year. Her newest release, “No Doubt,” is out now.