by Kimberly Shires
Among the newest groups to hit the DC music scene is wild whispers, but these talented artists are not amateurs. The duo was formed in 2019 by singer-songwriter Eli Lev, who has been taking the folk/Americana genre by storm over the last few years, and Megan Leigh, whose dynamic vocals light up any stage she’s on. wild whispers’ debut release is a live performance video of their first single, “Icarus Rising.” Click https://youtu.be/ifdUv7wNxB8 to be the first to watch!
Megan and Eli have been performing and recording together for two years now. Megan has recorded vocal harmonization and percussion on several of Eli’s tracks and has joined him on his 2019 Way Out Midwest tour and Anywhere We Can Go cross country tour. She will also be joining him on the second leg of his European tour. Megan says, “We have become familiar with one another’s strengths and are able to leverage that to bring together the best of each of our musical abilities.” She continues, “We have been very fortunate to find one another as musical collaborators”.
wild whispers is billed as genre defying. Eli describes the duo’s sound as “a bit cinematic (with) a playful and human quality.” He continues, “There is also a broad appeal that you could call pop.” Megan jumps in, “The process of finding our sound is something that Eli and I both agreed should happen naturally, without too much thought and more by feeling our way to a new sound that we can both understand and sink our teeth into. It’s cool to have Eli as a partner because we both love experimenting.”
Eli reflects, “The most important thing to me, though, is that it’s got heart, so I can sing from my innermost being every line – and what’s wild is that we’ve really accomplished all those things on just these first few songs.” For Megan, their songs “feel like freedom and exploration – outwardly of the world and inwardly of the self.”
wild whispers took shape organically. Eli says, “We were doing a short duo run of Tennessee shows opening for American Idol winner Lee DeWyze – and it was Megan who was scouted during our Nashville show. We were invited to tour a studio there called Majestic Ape and met our producer/musical magician Ben Reno. We hit it off really well and scheduled a two-week recording session with him for a few months later.” Eli continues, “We had no songs written or a band concept, but we just trusted the process – I’m certainly glad we did!”
Both Megan and Eli have found that wild whispers fill a niche for them. Eli tells us, “I never really knew how much I enjoyed singing harmonies until I started singing with Megan. She has accompanied me on a couple of my tours as backup and percussion, and we kept getting amazing responses so it felt right for us to try and write together in an equal partnership and create new songs where we could really explore our creative sides. t’s led to new types of sounds and arrangements and is really exciting to watch develop.”
Megan adds with excitement, “I’m getting a percussion upgrade… I get to wail away on drums! This is totally new for me and something I never thought I’d be doing. It’s a big challenge – I find it pretty difficult to play and sing at the same time – but it’s exhilarating, and I know I will love bringing it to the stage.”
While music comes easily to these two, Eli jokes that it wasn’t always the case. Eli says, “I got a C- in Music Theory my freshman year of college, and I think my professor was being nice with that grade.” Being a full-time musician was not always the plan for Eli, who had a whole previous life as an English teacher.
Megan explains, “I never wanted to make music into a job. I was afraid of burnout and of losing my passion for the craft, but now it feels like the right thing for me to be doing.” Megan actually planned to pursue a career in counseling and even completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She believes that music is therapy, so it’s not too far off from the original plan.
For wild whispers, it is not all music, all the time. They recently set aside ten days to embark on a silent Vipassana meditation retreat. This has been a long-time practice for Eli; however, it was a brand-new experience for Megan. She recalls, “It was an intense and fulfilling experience and has led me to be more reflective and grateful for my existence. Learning about meditation – what it is, what it means, why we do it – and practicing together has opened up a new connection for us as songwriting partners, leading us to new and different places that we may not have reached on our own.”
We look forward to seeing what else is up the sleeve of the emerging duo. Eli says, “Singing, creating, and performing as wild whispers has been truly inspiring, and we’re only just getting started! This year we’ll be sharing our songs with a select audience and really honing our sound.”
The duo plans to release three singles this year to complete their first trilogy. Check out this link to stay up to date with wild whispers https://youtu.be/ifdUv7wNxB8.
Kimberly Shires is a producer and owner of Hear Me Roar Studio. She is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who is passionate about empowering women to express themselves through music. Outside of music she enjoys hiking, biking and snuggling with her dog. Kimberly has called the DMV home her whole life.
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