By Waleed Rashidi
CITY OF ORIGIN:
Leandra Graves (2010).
Folk, bluegrass/string bands, Regina Spektor, worship music, Mumford and Sons, blues, musical theater, plus “humanity, my faith and struggles, moments, frustration.”
The Female Acoustic Showcase is now an annual musical institution in the Inland Empire. Though it may not have the history or popularity of monumentally larger yearly showcases like the Vans Warped Tour (which has been making stops in the region for well over a decade), it’s the consistency and persistency of assembling the FAS—directed by local singer-songwriter Crystal McKee—that makes it important and worth noticing, especially now that it’s in its fourth year.
Another worthy aspect is the showcase’s abundance of top-notch talent, many of whom hail from the IE. And this year’s iteration is no different, featuring wonderful well-known locals like Mobetta Loretta and Apryle Dalmacio, plus new delights including Chino-based singer/songwriter Leandra Graves.
Graves—whose engaging voice and fresh material can be heard on her website—began polishing her wares early, thanks to a musically supportive family and a vocal teacher she calls “amazing.”
“Well, the women in my family are all musically-inclined,” she says. “My mom gave me my first guitar when I was 11. I played and wrote all throughout high school, but I started getting serious about my music soon after I graduated. Since I can remember, I have always had a love for music and performing.”
Graves has performed at spots across Southern California, including the IE’s Coffee Depot, Flour Fusion and the Claremont Village. “I enjoy playing in the Inland Empire, there are so many great supportive venues in the area,” says Graves. “To be honest, I love playing all over.”
And that includes this Female Acoustic Showcase debut, which Graves says she’s very excited to be a part of. “I look forward to hearing and meeting all of the talented ladies,” she says. “I hope the experience will open doors to musical opportunities.”
Graves’ goals are to continue recording and writing new material, continue praying, and to play as many shows possible—including putting on and performing at the third annual Johnny Cash Tribute Show (at a venue in Riverside, she hopes).
Also, “I have yet to go touring, aside from the IE/OC/LA areas, but I am playing a music festival (XFest) this year up in Washington,” Graves says. “That should be fun.” (Waleed Rashidi)
Leandra Graves at the 4th annual Southern California Female Acoustic Showcase at the Shops at Dos Lagos, 2755 Lakeshore Dr., Corona, (951) 277-7601; www.facebook.com/socalfas. Sat, Aug. 13. 5PM. Free.