Originally a classically trained cellist, Austin Hartley-Leonard began as a solo singer/songwriter in Austin, TX after attending the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. His first demo earned him an invitation to the SXSW Music Festival. Soon after, he started looking for other musicians to round out the band, and the group St. James Inc was born. The band went on to see success in the Austin music scene and was invited to perform at the Austin City Limits Festival. After releasing the "8 Hours" EP in 2006, St. James Inc performed at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago and then relocated to Los Angeles, where they continued to see great success.
After meeting producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, Tim Myers, AM) in Los Angeles, the two began work on Austin’s debut solo record “Franklin Ave” in December 2007. Following the release of the album in 2008, Austin played 5 shows at SXSW 2009 including a slot on The Hotel Cafe Showcase night.
Austin’s songs have aired on such hit shows as "Chuck", "The Ghost Whisperer", "Men In Trees", "Friday Night Lights" and "The Real World". In addition, Austin has been commissioned to write a number of commercial television spots, the most recent of which being the theme for a nationally aired campaign for "Troybilt Inc.".
Over the last year, Austin Hartley-Leonard has become one of the most popular Los Angeles based independent artists, headlining his own shows at top venues at home and around Southern California, as well as playing cello with such artists as Greg Laswell, Cary Brothers, and Laura Jansen. Austin’s long-awaited EP "Everywhere I’ve Never Been" was recently released in November, 2010 and debuted at #4 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. Produced by Bill Lefler (Cary Brothers, Dashboard Confessional, Gym Class Heroes) and supported by artists Matthew Ramsey (vocals, banjo, guitar), and Brother Sal (piano). As Austin moves forward into 2011 he’s looking forward to releasing his new record’s first video for his dark cover of the late 90’s hit "Flagpole Sitta" starring Rachael Leigh Cook, as well as continuing to tour around Southern California.