Senior symphony: SCHS senior releases song dedicated to “Class of ’24”

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – The quick click of drumsticks leads to a warm bubbly riff as Leah Slaughter breaks into a musical celebration on her new single, “Class of ’24,” which commemorates the journey the Shelby County High School student and her classmates are set to embark on this coming May.

In addition to her activities as a senior at SCHS, Slaughter is a singer-songwriter who records and performs music. After releasing her fifth and latest single, “Class of ’24” on Feb. 17, Slaughter shared what it was like to pull off such a significant and personal release.

“It feels awesome,” she said. “We all came together and made something happen and the message of the song is very special to me because it is not just a sad song about graduating or a sappy song that’s just sweet, it has weight to it.”

Slaughter wrote her first song at age seven and started performing at age 11 or 12 singing at recitals, restaurants and open mic nights.

“It just kind of escalated from there, I just never stopped doing it,” Slaughter said.

At each venue, Slaughter performs a variety of original tracks and covers with a focus on genres such as country, pop, rock and alternative. Until 2023, Slaughter performed live but had never gone through a proper studio recording session.

“They had mentioned it but I was like, ‘No, I’m just comfortable doing my gigs and not worrying about recording music,'” Slaughter said. “That seemed far away like an out-of-reach thing.”

After years of performances and growth as an artist, Slaughter’s parents gifted her with studio time for Christmas in 2022 and after receiving the gift, Slaughter’s hand was forced.

“It pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and go record music and I recorded my first round of singles at Josh Bright Productions,” Slaughter said.

After spending time in the recording booth, Slaughter released her very first single “Honeymoon Phase” to streaming services in October 2023 which was then followed by “Back to the Climb,” “Neverland” and “Lines we Crossed.”

Slaughter describes the writing process for music as something that “Just comes to me,” and that very process is what led to the eventually creation of her latest track, “Class of ’24.”

“I don’t really choose what I write about, sometimes I just start writing and it unfolds into something,” she said. “I thought about it for a while before I even started writing and I (thought it) would be cool if I wrote a song for my class and then I came up with the first verse.”

However, Slaughter then put away the track and did not continue writing for a month until her mom encouraged her to go and finish it.

“I started working on it more and it turned into something that was a lot more serious and touching than it was when I started it,” Slaughter said.

At first, the song was set to be a comical track about growing up but it grew into something that was meant to be more personal for Slaughter and her friends after they graduate and move apart in life.

“I was thinking about how me and my friends are really close this year but we are all going to go our separate ways,” she said. “It turned into something that was more serious like a message for me and my friends to remember what it was like when we were all young and together.”

Despite having an idea for what she wanted the track to be, time become of the essence for Slaughter as she needed to record and complete the track in the studio in a prompt manner before her friends and herself graduate in May.

“I just got the ball rolling and started getting it done and working on it, practicing it on the guitar,” she said. “I got my guitar teacher, William Yarbrough, who works at the arts council, I got him to help me with the music—I already had the basic music down but he added some stuff that made it better.”

Then, once Slaughter was in the music studio and ready to make her dream happen, she was struck with a fitting idea that made the track even more personal and relevant—why not add her friends on the track to serve as a backing group vocal.

“I wasn’t planning on having my friends sing on it until I was in there and we were working on it,” Slaughter said. “It was super fun and I didn’t see the big picture of how it was going to be until it was done. I wasn’t sure if we’re going to use the group vocals, if they were going to sound good or not, but it ended up pulling the whole thing together.”

Now, with the track complete and out to the public, the song stands as a lyrical and sonic testament to the talents of students at Shelby County High School—signifying what Slaughter and her friends have to give to the world as they reach that next important step in their lives.

“This song is very special because it is me and my friends’ hope that we can be different and we can be our own unique selves in this world and we don’t have to all be straight-laced and perfect like everyone wants us to be,” Slaughter said. “The song (says) we have something to give to the world and I like that that’s the message.”

With “Class of ’24,” Slaughter continues to work on music and currently recording her first EP which will be announced in the future. Once Slaughter and the rest Shelby County High School class of 2024 graduate, she plans to attend Southern Union State Community College.

“Class of ‘24” can be found on Apple Music and Spotify and more information on Slaughter’s performances can be found at