Music & Cures: After cancer diagnosis, Erica Leigh’s comeback is a story of survival



Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.

In 2012, on the same day as her album release, Boston singer-songwriter Erica Leigh was forced to make more than one big announcement. Earlier that day, she was officially diagnosed with thyroid cancer, souring the thrill of releasing a record, to say the least, and threatening her signing voice and entire career.


Six years later, she’s not only recovered, but she’s reinvented her songwriting perspective, and to tell the world, she’s sharing her newest tracks at an underground song release with Ella McDonald.

At her show this Saturday (January 27) at The Burren in Somerville, Leigh will unveil two previously unheard tunes with the guests at the gig and their email inboxes — and that’s it. Both tracks are her first releases since her diagnosis in 2012, and since the release of her debut album Puzzle Heart.

“After multiple surgeries, radiation, and time to heal body, mind and spirit, I am now a year cancer-free and finally back to music,” Leigh says. “I have written several songs about my experience that relate to a wider audience than my previous songs, because they don’t just talk about personal struggles but the universal struggle we all face… no one has to go through it alone — whatever ‘it’ might be. This show is going to feature several of these songs — the unexpected thing about the music is that its mostly uplifting and hopeful.”


Anyone who attends Leigh’s show on Saturday can participate in the giveaway by dropping their name and email at this merch table to get one song sent to them, while folks who agree to sign up for Leigh’s mailing list will receive both song downloads. Leigh’s Burren gig presents the only chance for fans to get access to the songs, as they won’t be uploaded or released elsewhere.

“Sharing these two exclusive, unreleased tracks with my mailing list and my live audiences is my way of saying thank you for their support, through thick and through thin,” she adds. “These fans have stuck by me during a difficult time, taking a health hiatus from recording music, and I want them to know I’m back, and I’m grateful they are here! Not to mention, my fans have been following along with my progress building a vocal booth from the ground up on Instagram and Facebook for much of the past year… now that I’ve crossed that finish line (with all fingers and toes intact) I’m psyched to finally share the first recordings!”

Leigh explained how far her songwriting and perspective have come as a result of her experiences from the past six years.

“Nearly losing my voice really gave my life and career some perspective, and thus helped me find my voice as a writer,” she explains. “In writing about my experiences and performing this music for cancer patients, caregivers, and live audiences who sang along so wholeheartedly, I realized how powerful music really is. I’ve learned to carefully consider the messages I choose to send with my voice. I’ve really found a sense of purpose and direction in what I do.”


ERICA LEIGH + ELLA MCDONALD :: Saturday, January 27 at The Burren, 247 Elm St. in Somerville, MA :: 6 p.m., 21-plus, $15 in advance, $19 at the door :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page :: Featured image via the artist