Yeah.. I always wanted to be a comedienne, but with Pluto in the12th and Saturn conjunct my ascendant what chance did I have? So I went for music - equally as terrifying, at least as creative, and probably generally more satisfying than comedy...
Anyway, I started studying music at 9 years of age - winning the under 17 years open section (vocal) of the City of Sydney Eisteddfod at the age of 13 and gaining entry to the Conservatorium of Music high school as a soprano.
Since then my vocal style has changed from classical to - modern.
I started out as a soloist singer/songwriter/guitarist at the Shack in Narrabeen, which was run by the wonderful and talented Greg Quill. He inspired me (in fact "demanded of" me) to write my own songs, and every week he encouraged me to get up on stage and perform the ones I'd written the week before. He was like that with everyone. Such an inspiration! I met and worked with some of our best Folk performers there, and I thank Greg from the bottom of my heart for having the foresight and courage to create a space for us to hone our musical craft. RIP lovely man.
The first band I was in, singing under the name of Leonie Prior, was Gus McNeil's: "White Wine". We released an album: "Overflow" in 1969.
I have been a member of many groups, trios and duos - country,rock, alternative, avant-guard, jazz, blues, and heavy metal, doing back-up harmony vocals and lead vocals, and had my own originals band: "Lee and the Strangers" with Bart Black on lead guitar.
I also formed a number of 'rotating' duos (for those gigs that requested something more than a solo show but less than a "whole band"): "Apollo", "Forbidden Fruit", and "Hotline" - each with different lead guitarists. That was fun!
However, the bulk of my live performance work was as a solo singer/guitarist. I did this for almost 40 years, mainly in the pubs, restaurants and clubs of Sydney.
For 5 of those years, I also worked as an "Exotic Dancer" at the Pink Panther, the Pink Pussycat, The World by Night, the Staccato Bar in Kings Cross, The Pink Parrot in the city, and The Barrel Theatre (something interesting to add to my musical inspirations), often grabbing cabs between shows (hoping to get back in time for my next appearance!), to rush to wine bars to sing in a 3 piece group doing Crosby, Stills, and Nash covers, with Morgan James (Jim) Davies, and Brian Saltmarsh, who I'd met a few months earlier when I was a 'regular' at the now infamous and iconic Ball Pants in King's Cross. What an amazing place that was! Another special venue responsible for the formation of bands and a huge number of talented Australian performers, singers, and songwriters - some of whom, I'm proud to say, are still friends today.
I usually made it back in time..
So far, so good.
Apart from a couple of happy years with the Cordon Blue Agency in Sydney, I did most of the booking, organizing, advertising, and setting up the sound for my shows. Not too hard when you're a soloist I suppose, but educational nonetheless.
While all that was going on, I was also a Student of the Occult, and in 1970 became a founding member of the Australian branch of The Great White Brotherhood of Light, where I had the challenging privilege of studying metaphysics and parapsychology with Druid Grand Master: Eddie Pielke. This means that for 22 years, after my gigs I went home to one of the few (at the time) working Covens in Australia. Naturally, I wrote a couple of occult songs based on my experiences there.
I have done voice/overs for commercial radio and television, and studied acting at the Ensemble Theatre with Hayes Gordon, and with Sandra Lee Patterson at "C" for Casting in Sydney.
More recently, after spending 6 years in sunny Brisbane, singing with Ella and the Ways, Playground, and the Mystic Blues Band, I moved to (cooler) Melbourne and formed Gypsy Rising - another originals group - with the wonderful Greg Hayward on percussion..
In 2009 I came back home to beautiful Sydney to reunite with old friends..
I am proud to have studied with the following singing teachers (in chronological order):
The Beautiful Miss Neta Maughan (also the best Piano teacher in the WORLD for those who paid attention) ,, (I might be biased) ,, (and I wish I'd paid attention)
Member of APRA
Inspired vocally and creatively by Joan Sutherland, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, Buffy St Marie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Yma Sumac, Patsy Kline, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nina Hagen, and Kate Bush..
Inspired musically by everything from classical through to folk music, show tunes, heavy metal, country, rock, jazz, and blues.
Leonora Jackson (SageyLee): Vox, guitar, songwriter, occasional clown...
And some AMAZINGLY talented musicians, too numerous to mention individually, but I thank you all so much for sharing time and music with me.
Home demo music fun