Many people around McComb are familiar with Lee Anna Woodcock, who sang at all sorts of local events since childhood.
Now Lee Anna, 30, is a songwriter and singer in Los Angeles who, to her surprise, won a singing contest hosted by Ryan Seacrest of iHeartRadio — and on very short notice.
Another local singer, Brandon Andrews, alerted her to the contest at the last minute after hearing about it on Sirius XM radio.
“There were two hours left in the competition and I just entered it, not thinking anything of it,” Lee Anna said.
She submitted a performance of “Not Your Baby,” which she had cowritten with Sergio Galindo, aka “Practical People.” To her surprise, she was a finalist.
“I didn’t understand what was happening,” Lee Anna said. “They apparently had a panel of judges that picked finalists and put it up to fan votes.”
Some of the other finalists had tens of thousands of followers, so she didn’t figure she had much of a chance. But her parents, Vince and Angie Woodcock of McComb, and others posted the contest on social media and “a lot of hometown people supported it,” Lee Anna said.
Last Friday she got a call that she had won. Her performance was the opening act of the iHeartRadio music festival, opening for such stars as Alicia Keys.
This was Lee Anna’s first time to have a song played on the radio — much less one of Los Angeles’ biggest stations.
“It was a really fast situation,” she said.
She credits her success to support from her Mississippi fans and friends.
“Everyone loves music here. People support artists,” she said.
Ryan Seacrest — who hosted “American Idol” and “American Top 40 — leads “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” on iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM morning radio show.
“To be honest, I was happy. I would be happy with any sort of radio,” Lee Anna said.
The winning song has a simple message.
“Not everyone goes into a bar to be aggressively hit on. Sometimes you just want to go and hang out with friends and not have someone invade your space,” Lee Anna said. “It’s hardly ever the people you want to talk to, and they want to take up all your time and energy.”
However, she clarified, “It’s in a playful way. It’s not a hate-on-anybody kind of way. It’s a turn-on-sweetness and charm.”
Lee Anna said she has been singing “basically all my life.”
She got serious about it at age 11 and performed in show choirs and all sorts of local venues.
After a stint studying political science in college, she worked in New York as an intern for MTV, then in marketing for Simon & Schuster publishing company.
She got into consulting, which led to a concert project in L.A. She loved the music scene there and wound up moving.
“I love writing for other people, but I have been working on my own for a year,” she said. “I have my own sound. I want my music to reach as many people as possible.
“It’s important for me, especially right now, that everyone feel understood and accepted and unified. Music is completely universal. My goal is to reach as many people as possible to go as far as I possibly can.”
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For more information, visit her website. leeanna-music.com.