Meet ‘American Idol’s Award Winning Songwriter Leah Marlene

Corey Cesare
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Leah Marlene American IdolABC/Eric McCandless

Leah Marlene was first introduced as the not-so-normal singer from Normal, Illinois. Since her unique introduction, she’s went on to soar through American Idol‘s season 20. Here’s everything you need to know about this 20 year old singer.


Since the moment Leah took the audition stage, it was obvious that she was a natural performer. Not only did she have a great voice, she wasn’t afraid to be herself. Fans found out during Leah’s audition that she is the daughter of Derry Grehan known for being part of the Canadian rock band, Honeymoon Suite. It’s evident that she gets her music abilities from her father. The singer shared that he taught her how to play guitar and piano, as well as how to write music.

Who Was Leah Marlene Before American Idol?

Before American Idol, Leah had been releasing music independently since 2014. Since the age of 10, this singer has been performing live around Illinois, Nashville, and Canada. While in high school, Leah travelled between Illinois and Nashville for songwriting, recording, and performing. After spending two years in the city for college, she returned to Illinois to pursue music full time. At this time she continued to perform locally, including at in-home concerts.

On March 3, Leah released her most recent album, Many Colors. This album has gone on to become her most listened to on Spotify. The first track on this album “Wisher to the Well” was featured in the American Idol competition twice. She raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter for the creation of this album. Ahead of this release, she had previously dropped another album, as well as several singles.


Before auditioning for American Idol, Leah was active on both TikTok and YouTube as a singer. Leah began uploading cover songs in 2011 with the song “Hip To My Heart” by The Band Perry. This singer still uploads cover videos to this day. Instead of always standing in front of a microphone singing, she implements fun editing format. Within her YouTube cover videos, the singer was seen playing multiple instruments as well as singing. Even in these short covers, her personality shined through the screen.

In 2021, Leah was selected as one of the five winners of the SOCAN Young Canadian Songwriters Awards. She won this honor for her song “Spacesuit” in which she wrote with a friend. This award was recgonized through the SOCAN foundation as well as SiriusXm Canada.

This singer continues to gain more traction throughout each week of the American Idol competition. Fans hope that her undeniable talent and large personality win the competition.


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