GL: Let’s get right into it. How long have you been singing for? Give me some background
Simcha Leiner: I started singing at the age of 11 and started training to become a Chazzan from ages 11-13. I was the youngest graduate of Yeshiva University’s bell school of music – that is how I got stared.
GL: At what age did you realize this was more than a hobby?
Simcha Leiner: I looked at it as a hobby for many many years. It was until a year before I got married that I began to tale it seriously to the point of a ‘real job’.
GL: Did your parents do anything to develop your talents?
Simcha Leiner: It was my parents that brought me to Yeshiva University twice a week to study. Without them, I would have not have had any background at all. Throughout the years, they are definitely ‘shepping nachas from the sidelines’ and are always very supportive.
GL: Who’s your inspiration
Simcha Leiner: I would say no one did it like Avraham Fried. He shows that you can be a mensch and be around a very long time. He is a role model the way he sings and presents himself.
GL: What’s your favorite genre of music
Simcha Leiner: The best thing about Jewish music is you don’t have to commit to a genre. About once a year I get into Chazzanus – Max once a year. It really varies all the time.
GL: Do you have stage freight?
Simcha Leiner: Luckily I do not suffer from stage freight. The reason probably is, the first time I davened for the Amud was at my Bar Mitzvah which had about 1,000 people. So the first time I sang live was in front of a large number of people.
GL: Wow! Why in the world were there 1,000 people at your Bar Mitzvah?
Simcha Leiner:When people in the neighborhood found out I would be davening for the amud, all the shuls shut down and combined into one big shul.
GL: Amazing. If you had an extra hour what would you use it for?
Simcha Leiner: Definitely to spend more time with the kids.