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Leigh Nash ‘Get Happy’ on New EP, Re-records “Kiss Me,” and Readies a Sixpence None the Richer Reunion

March 15, 2020

The last scene in Judy hit close to home for Leigh Nash.

Drawn and defeated, Judy Garland’s breathtaking last performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” depicted by Renée Zellweger, was a poignant scene for the solo artist and Sixpence None the Richer singer.

“In that last scene, she’s singing, and she knows she’s fired, she knows she’s out, and she knows her goose is cooked,” says Nash. “She comes out, she takes over the stage when she’s kind of unwelcome, and the crowd sees all of it. It’s such a raw scene that was really inspiring but also hit on my own insecurities, like ’is that me? Is that going to be me?’ I don’t want that.”

It cut even deeper for Nash, who is still feeling traumatized by a performance in Austin in 2019. Playing a new venue to a room-full of friends, family, and other Texas fans, Nash says she didn’t have much to eat, drank two margaritas and just lost it on stage.

“I was in a car accident when I was young, and I would liken that experience to the trauma of the accident,” Nash tells American Songwriter. “It plagues me. I’ve been doing it for so long and never had anything like that happen. It’s on my mind more times than it should be, but I think there might be some healing in that experience if I just look at it the right way. I’m working through it.”

The aftermath of that performance, which left Nash crying for days, came rushing back when she saw Judy. “When I saw that movie, it double hit me like ‘okay, this can’t happen again. This is not who you are,’” she says. “I don’t have issues with alcohol, but I do have issues with not being wise about eating food and then having a few drinks and not thinking it’s a big deal. When I saw Judy, I thought she must have felt that way all the time.” 

Performing for nearly 30 years, the Texas native who resides in Nashville, burst on the scene during the early ’90s with Sixpence None the Richer, and says it’s hard not to see comparisons to Garland after being in the business for so long.

“I recorded ‘Get Happy’ in a little bit of an ironic way because she had so much struggle and it is such a cutthroat business that I, of course, want people to take it and feel inspired and happy by it,” says Nash. “But it also has a tinge of sadness to it, and I’m a sucker for a sad song.”

Being a believer, Nash says the words “get happy,” and that trauma was a sort of turning of the soil for her. “Just do this and get over it,” she says. “Get Happy. Get over the fact that it happened.”

Her atmospheric rendition of “Get Happy” has multi-angled inspiration for Nash. “I’m glad I did it,” she says. “It’s hard now to even listen to it, but not because I don’t think it’s beautiful, but because it’s tied to a lot of other emotions.”

Garland’s life percolates throughout Nash’s latest EP, her fifth solo release since debut 2006 Blue On Blue, but Get Happy also reflects her state of mind now. Nash is happy with her life, motherhood, and says she has fallen in love with writing again.

Get Happy also pays homage to Nash’s late father, who passed away 12 years ago, and is the basis of two tracks, including “Something Worth Leaving Behind,” which Nash started writing after she picked up his old guitar.