LeahBeth Evans is a 23-year-old singer and songwriter from Peckville. She leads an acoustic and piano-based duo called the Frost with her partner, Christian Gratz. She is a graduate of Valley View High School and Marywood University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She founded and owns Elphie Productions, a party character business. Evans fell in love with singing after performing a solo in an elementary school play dressed as a letter of the alphabet. She has released a set of her own solo singles and is working on recording singles as the Frost under Tom Ferranti at After Image Studios. She was recently nominated for a Josie Music Award and a Steamtown Music Award.
Meet LeahBeth Evans…
What is your music background?
As I was growing up, I practiced with karaoke tracks not realizing how much that can mold your voice and style. Once I got to high school, I joined a small jazz band. We didn’t even have a name. I went out to see a lot of jazz bands. My parents would take me, because I was very young. I used to watch Marko Marcinko and his brother, Pat Marcinko. I eventually started taking voice lessons from Erin, Marko’s wife. Sometimes they were nice enough to invite me to Bazil, which used to be a restaurant in Clarks Summit. They’d have me come sing with them. When I was around 17, I joined a band called Cold Steel Rail. That really changed things for me. I still love jazz and think it’s one of my strong points, but then I started getting into rock and pop.
What is the Frost and the background on its formation?
I met Christian, who is my partner, online through a mutual friend from Cold Steel Rail. I knew he was a great musician, and I heard a lot of great things about him. We randomly met at Starbucks, and we went on a date. We didn’t really talk after that. This is really weird, but we saw each other at a stoplight, and I thought he looked really familiar. I started waving out the window thinking he doesn’t remember me. We went to Starbucks and started talking again. A while later, he invited me to one of his solo gigs. He told me to sing two or three songs with him. I did, and people continued to want the both of us. I ended up playing until the end of the night with him. The owner asked us to come back every Wednesday and Friday. I thought we should keep it going.
What type of music does the duo do?
We started with yacht rock, which is a mix of soft rock and a beachy sound. After a little while of doing jazz and soft rock, we wanted to expand. A lot of people around here like heavy rock and country. We started learning some country, classic rock, R&B; we still do jazz, and we take requests.
What is the songwriting process like for you, and what inspires your lyrics?
A lot of the songs I write are unfortunately very heart-wrenching. I hit a lot of rough points when it came to other people. Lyrics-wise, a lot of the songs come from past experiences. Certain songs I write come from other peoples’ standpoints. There are some songs I’ve written about friends, family (and) experiences I’ve seen that they’ve had. I feel sad songs really relate to people. My most recent release is called “Not Your Time.” It’s about suicide and depression awareness. I was inspired to write that because in my last semester at school, I was learning that 3,000 to 4,000 people commit suicide each day. In the song, I kind of created this character that many people with depression can relate to and many people who have had to endure the aftermath of suicide can relate to. Sometimes you hear songs that maybe it isn’t a specific person, but overall it’s something people can relate to.
Do you have a particular favorite lyric or song you’ve written?
A song is “Be OK.” (Listen to “Be OK” here) It’s an R&B tune. That one really speaks to me. It’s actually about someone who left unexpectedly, and it leaves you questioning and wanting to feel OK with yourself and the overall situation.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I’ll start off jazz-wise. Ella Fitzgerald, obviously. She’s the biggest influence. This may come as a surprise, but Lady Gaga. She’s a big influence because not only is she a big jazz singer, but she is so diverse. Songwriting-wise and vocal-wise, I like Stevie Nicks (both solo and with Fleetwood Mac) and Fleetwood Mac.
Tell me about your business, Elphie Productions.
Elphie Productions is a character party business. I partner with Lolipop Productions and Be Our Guest, which are both similar companies. I dress up for public events and kids’ parties and portray characters kids like. You really have to become the character. I was big into musical theater as a kid. I still am, and I love Broadway. I took a couple acting classes as a kid. At these parties, that’s who you are to the kids. You have to be everything that they’re expecting you to be. I do the makeup, wigs; I make sure I look exactly like the character, and I sing. They sing with me, and I think the most rewarding thing about it is when you open your mouth to sing these songs, they think it’s really (the princess). They’re amazed by it.
What made you want to start this business?
It was actually very accidental. My mother is an elementary school teacher. She runs an after-school program that has a summer program she is heavily involved with. The parents wanted a princess-themed camp, so she put one together. She said to me, “You have your old prom dress, right?” She told me she was going to get me a wig and she needed me to dress up. I’ll tie this to psychology. Up to about 5 years old, kids are very bad with facial recognition. If you can get a kid who’s older to let their imagination go free and they start to believe it’s the character, you’re doing the right thing. One of the parents took a photo the last day of the camp. It ended up going in the paper, and I started getting calls from there. I thought, “I can start doing this.”
What are your hobbies outside of music?
In my free time, other than listening to music and trying to learn and expand, I like to read about psychology. I was glad I chose that field. It’s helped make me well-rounded and learn more about people, which has helped my music. I love animals and my pets. I have a fish and a dog. Her name is Coco. She’s the absolute light of my life. She’s a Pomeranian and Havanese Yorkie mix. She’s wild and keeps me on my feet.
Photos by Emma Black