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October Rose, Shatterproof, and “A Different Kind of High"

Shannon is a passionate country fan who enjoys getting to know the artists and their music. She also loves spreading joy through interviews.

Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan of October Rose

Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan of October Rose

Country Rooted In Harmony

“It’s kind of like if Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood formed a duo or if Lady Antebellum met a rock band in the middle.”

That’s the self-described sound of Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan, relative newcomers to the country music scene. Although they each had separate singing careers prior to meeting one another, their chemistry was almost instantaneous. They quickly discovered that their voices blended well in a harmonious melody. That's the essence of October Rose.

Since the release of their debut single, “Heartbreak Song,” October Rose has continued to grow a large fan base. They have shared the stage as opening acts with the likes of Jake Owen, Russell Dickerson, and Jordan Davis.

New Single Addresses Stigma of Addiction

Now they have teamed with New York–based nonprofit organization Shatterproof to release their current single, “Different Kind of High.” The main objective of Shatterproof is to remove the stigma of addiction so that more resources can be made available to fight it and the song highlights the struggles those with addiction face.

Leanne and Derek were so kind to spend time chatting with me about October Rose and “Different Kind of High.” In one 45-minute chat, I was able to determine that they work well together and genuinely enjoy one another’s company. They also have a great sense of humor.

Lack of Females and Duos on Country Radio

When I asked them how they feel about the controversy in the country music industry over the lack of females on mainstream radio airplay, Leanne said that she has definitely noticed a disparity and Derek noted that there aren’t too many duos on the radio anymore either, especially male and female.

They joked that their most common question is whether or not they are dating since they are a duo, to which my response was a request for an answer as we laughed about people assuming they are a couple. It turns out that they are dating and that streaming numbers don’t lie. Female acts and duos, such as October Rose, are on a path paved for success. There’s no disparity between what country fans listen to.

Enjoy more of the question and answer session below. When you’re through, check out the October Rose links to read more from the interview, learn more about the duo, and find out how to get involved with Shatterproof.

"Don't cry, don't cry. Just fold your hands and look up to the sky. She's a different kind of high."

— October Rose, "Different Kind of High"

The Interview

Shannon Henry: Where are you based?

Derek Allan: We float back and forth between New Jersey and Nashville. Leanne is originally from New Jersey and I am from Pittsburgh.

SH: “Different Kind of High” is not what I expected it to be. It’s sad and heart-wrenching, yet also hopeful. Please tell the story behind “Different Kind of High.”

Leanne Weiss: We wrote the song about two years ago. We kind of had this haunting melody, but for some reason, the story in the song just came out. We were inspired by stories in the news and the opiate epidemic. We wrote it to bring awareness to the epidemic and we just happened to release it during this whole pandemic. So it’s interesting, but tens of thousands of people die from a drug overdose every year.

DA: I’m from Western Pennsylvania and there’s a big problem where I come from. We felt like it’s something a lot of people have been living with—losing friends and family to this kind of epidemic that’s happening. We wanted to address it because it didn’t feel like anyone else had been doing it, especially in country music. So it’s been in the works for about a year. We just happened to release it at a time when this other tragic thing is happening.

Teaming Up and Choosing a Name

SH: How did the two of you become a duo?

LW: Back in 2016, I was performing as a solo artist in the New York City and New Jersey area and I got a message on Facebook from this guy named Derek. He reached out and said he was new to the area and that he’d come check out one of my shows and that he was looking to make friends. He came to my show in New Jersey and wound up sitting next to my mom.

DA: Yeah, she talked her daughter up and I knew for sure I had to meet her.

LW: So I saw my mom talking to this guy and was like, “Oh, that’s the guy Derek that’s been messaging me.” So we intended to just write a song together since we both had solo careers at the time, but we realized we have chemistry singing together and went all-in with the duo. By October of 2016, we were October Rose country duo.

SH: How did you choose your name?

LW: It was tough to come up with a name. It took about a month. We played around with a lot of names that sounded like Little League baseball names.

DA: We decided to go with things that meant a lot to our families. My grandma’s first name is Rose and Leanne’s mother’s middle name is Rose . . . and it happened to be October. Leanne saw the calendar and suggested October Rose.

"We decided to go with things that meant a lot to our families. My grandma’s first name is Rose and Leanne’s mother’s middle name is Rose . . . and it happened to be October. Leanne saw the calendar and suggested October Rose."

— October Rose, on choosing a band name

"Shatterproof is a New York-based organization. We decided to partner with them. They’re not for profit and their objective is to bring a positive change by highlighting the opioid epidemic."

— October Rose, about partnering with Shatterproof

Partnership With Shatterproof

SH: Please share more about Shatterproof.

LW: Shatterproof is a New York-based organization. We decided to partner with them. They’re not for profit and their objective is to bring a positive change by highlighting the opioid epidemic.

DA: They are able to push for action at higher levels. They’ve been in the battle for a while and seem like they are in a better position to do things like lobby in Washington or recruit people to write to Congress. We figured we’d start locally and then see if we can build up National awareness.

"Everything happens in a cycle. We just happen to be on a downturn. It’s only a matter of time before things swing back up."

— October Rose, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic

Music as Therapy

SH: How are you able to use your music as a form of therapy for yourself and for others, especially now?

DA: Absolutely. We wrote “Different Kind of High” as a form of therapy. And people have told us about how they can relate to the song after losing someone close to them. The song really means a lot. I think that’s what music is there for—to say the words you can’t think of saying and to capture those emotions.

LW: There’s a song for every mood so right now, playing an uplifting song for people is an escape. To not think about all the sadness going on in the world.

SH: Do you have any message for the world right now as we wait for this COVID-19 nightmare to end?

LW: I would say just hang in there. This too shall pass. We’re all in some way or another affected by this. You’re not alone.

DA: Everything happens in a cycle. We just happen to be on a downturn. It’s only a matter of time before things swing back up.

Just for Fun

SH: Name one thing friends would consider to be “so you.” Individually and as a collective duo.

LW: Friendliness, kindness.

DA: I would say that Leann is a weather aficionado. Whenever there is a hurricane or tornado, she’s tracking it down to the T and does full reporting on it.

LW: Well, Derek is like a closet 80s hair metal music fan and he’s good at finance.

DA: I’m actually out of the closet on that one. (laughs)

LW: I would say as a duo, we’re known for our harmonies. There’s a lot of people that come up to us after performances and say things like, “ your harmonies are just so beautiful.” And we have a good chemistry together up on stage.

SH: What stereotype do you live up to?

LW: I think it goes back to harmony. We strive for perfect harmonies every time we sing. We try to live up to that fan hype and compliment.

DA: Yeah, we’re really hard on ourselves. It can be difficult at times to find the right keys and the right songs so that it does sound good and we are putting our best foot forward.

SH: What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

DA: Move to New Jersey.

LW: I left my full-time job to pursue music. I would say it turned out better than I expected.

To learn more about October Rose and Shatterproof follow the links below. If you would like to help raise awareness, you can donate to the cause.

© 2020 Shannon Henry


Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on June 07, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

Yes, they are an item. I did mention it somewhere, but that might be in the other part of the interview. Sometimes HP allows me to link the second half of these interviews and sometimes they remove the link. They did that in this case. I guess it depends on who is doing the editing.

I'm glad you enjoyed learning about them. Thanks for stopping by.

manatita44 from london on June 07, 2020:

Lovely couple! You didn't say that they are an item, I don't think, but they seem to have great chemistry together. They also seem to be telling us in that last video. Their causes are noble and I love their harmonies.

Funny him finding and sitting next to her mom at the show, eh?

The story of the name is cute and I like it.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 29, 2020:

You must've been reading my mind, Flourish! I was just posting this article on my music FB page. Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure to see you here. Maybe October Rose will make one of your playlists some day.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 29, 2020:

Great interview! I especially liked their song, "Heartbreak Song" and look forward to see where they head from here. The song about opioid addiction and death was very sad.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 22, 2020:

Thank you, Dora! I'm happy that you enjoyed the interview and their music.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 22, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your insights about this duo and their work. Your interview is interesting and informative, and a good promotion for their song.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 22, 2020:

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and their music, Chitrangada. Thank you for reading and listening.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 22, 2020:

Interesting article and I enjoyed reading it.

Liked the interview/ conversation, and the videos are wonderful.

Thanks for sharing this.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 21, 2020:

Thanks, Pamela! I appreciate your kind words.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 21, 2020:

I thougt the interview was excellent. I really love their music and it is great they are in a relationship. Great article, Shannon.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 21, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

I like 90s country best, probably because that was the decade of my teen years and the music I mostly listened to. But there are a lot of great artists today that aren't played on mainstream radio very often if at all.

I'm glad you like October Rose's new song.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 21, 2020:

Great interview. They are both new to me. I listened to their video and liked it. I am a country music junkie, but I must admit that I like the old country better than the new. I do like Keith Urban, but he ' ain't ' George Jones.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 21, 2020:

Of course you did, Bill. I'd expect nothing less from you. LOL. Thanks!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 21, 2020:

Of course I paid attention to the introduction, which I liked. Nice interview. You should be in Nashville...The Interviewer of the Stars!!!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 21, 2020:

Thank you, Paula. I figured you might know about Shatterproof since the organization is from your state.

As for the outfit, I am sure she will see your advice and opinion soon.

Suzie from Carson City on April 21, 2020:

Nice sound. Cute,talented duo.......Good songs. They should have no problem gaining mega-fans & becoming quite popular. (The gawdy floral shorts with attached full length skirt? Whoa! nasty outfit. She may want to toss that one!)

Successful interview......Keep doin what you're doin!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 20, 2020:

Thanks, Angie! I'm glad you like their music. Maybe you'll get a chance to see them in concert once we can all enjoy things like that again.

Angie B Williams from Central Florida, USA on April 20, 2020:

Another winner Shannon, thorough and informative, with a good mix of their music.

I like their sound, they definitely have chemistry.

Well done!