Alumni Catch Up; Nathan Leigh - Nexus ICA

You were a student at Nexus in 2008-2010.  What have you been up since leaving Nexus?

After leaving Nexus I chose to stay in Coventry to continue growing in the church family I was part of. City Church Coventry was a huge part of my growth during my time at Nexus and I still have an amazing family community there that I can still draw upon and be encouraged by, even though I am across the other side of the world. During that year I started teaching piano to support myself as I saved up for my move to Los Angeles.
I started studying at the Musicians Institute in LA in Sept 2012 to further my musical education and to move into a location where I felt I could actively make an impact in the music industry.

Tell us about your band We are Twin – how did you get involved with these guys?

I heard about We Are Twin during my study at the Musicians Institute. I went through a lengthy audition process which looked at my ability as a musician as well as my style and image. The band is being managed by Randy Jackson (American Idol) and we have been showcasing for various record labels with offers being made by various record labels such as BMG, Interscope and RCA.

What has it been like being in the position you’re in, in a band with label interest, with top music industry input and guidance?

It’s been incredibly exciting to meet people who have made such a huge impact into culture and seeing them get excited about the music we play. In a sense, I think musicians can have a bigger impact into peoples’ lives then a lot of politicians. Take Michael Jackson for example; there were always people in tears when he was on stage. That’s crazy! But it shows the impact music can have. My thought from this is simple; What if instead of their affection pointing toward a man who was essentially flawed; what if it was pointed towards God? What if there was a band whose purpose was actively loving those around them instead of being insular and unreachable? My hope is that Twin is that band.

One of the main factors in the music industry is image. You’re expected to conform to a perception of image which is parallel to the music you play. For example, dressing completely in black with various tattoos and body piercings doesn’t necessarily look good if you’re playing upbeat pop. I changed my image to really be a marketable product. My identity isn’t in the shoes on my feet or the shirt that I wear. God’s call is to be in the world and not of the world and if I have to wear skinny jeans to affect change in the industry I will.

How did Nexus prepare you for what you’re doing now?

Musically – Under the tuition of Matt Cossey my musicality exploded! I was an average musician when I entered Nexus; but through hard work and his tuition my love and passion and technical proficiency in all styles of playing really took off. I wouldn’t be in this place if I didn’t have him as a tutor.

Spiritually – My love of the word of God was ignited through Nexus. I came into an understanding of the potency of God’s word; allowing my thoughts and ideas to be conformed to it and not using the word to justify myself and my actions. The fruit of this is being able to speak the truth of God into the world and dispel the lies that the enemy tells.

Holistically – Understanding of God’s plan. Looking back on my life, each move I made led to this point; Nexus, City Church Coventry, Piano Tuition, Los Angeles and now We Are Twin. It’s all been leading to this moment and the importance of each step can’t be overstated. David didn’t become a leader overnight but his servant attitude was sculpted in the small things which led to him being a great ruler of a kingdom.

How do you keep your faith sharp being involved in an industry that is generally anything-goes?

Church. Church, church and more church.  The community of God’s people sharpening each other and reflecting the glory of God to the world is paramount to my journey as a disciple of God. I’ve had the blessing of living, studying and working under some great theological, musical and spiritual mentors and I am so grateful to them for their work and input into my life.  Surrounding yourself with this type of excellence inspires, empowers, produces endurance, encourages, strengthens, makes you more willing to love, and open your heart to the purpose of God. It also allows you to do be a servant to those around you.

Through this process my Church in LA (Vintage Church) has offered me an internship to oversee and facilitate the worship community. It’s such a blessing that the leadership has seen great things in me and are willing to support this dream.

Did I mention Church?

How do you see your role as a representative of God in what you’re doing?

You can’t drag people into the Kingdom of God, you can barely drag people to Church. The Holy Spirit has the job of changing the heart of the unbeliever into that of a disciple.

So as a musician, I’ve considered what the appropriate way to show off God to the world is:
Firstly, I try not to judge. Judgement is not mine to give but God’s alone. I have no idea where the person is coming from and the burdens he/she carries.
Secondly, I model grace. All have fallen short of the glory of God and no one deserves to be called an adopted son of God. I don’t reject people or walk away because of their conduct but model the grace which has been so beautifully given to me.
Lastly, love. I try to love God with all my heart and love my neighbor. I aim to see people how God sees them.

What are your hopes for your future?

My hope for the future of the band is that We Are Twin becomes a recognized and established name in the industry. We dream big: top 10 song, world tours, etc.

Personally, my hope is to take each day as it comes and love God and love my neighbor. It’s the long road of constantly allowing God to make me more like Christ.

Music has always been a passion and I’m so grateful that God has been supporting and blessing my journey throughout my time at Nexus and in Los Angeles. He makes a way through impossible obstacles that I can’t seem to overcome. And yet through (and with) Him I have overcome.