Leach Culver Press Photo black and white holding guitar behind head

Exploring Leah Culver’s Pioneering Career and Captivating Documentary

In the ever-evolving realm of electronic music, one name has been making waves and carving a distinct niche for herself: Leah Culver. The alternative-electronic producer sat down with MP3 MAG ahead of Imagine Music Festival to dive deep into her artistic journey, where we discuss her career, latest documentary project and all things Imagine Music Festival.

From the earliest days of her existence, music was flowing through Culver’s veins. Coming from an incredibly diverse musical family, it was something that had been ingrained in her brain from a very young age. Her mother was a master of both drums and the bagpipe, her oldest brother specialized in drums and the guitar, and her middle brother was a drum and bass DJ. At just five years old, Culver’s brother Jon placed her hands on the turntables and introduced her into the world of electronic music. Shortly after being immersed in it, she developed a deep love and appreciation for the genre. 

Culver’s DJ career began under the moniker MK Ultra, a name with quite an interesting backstory. Project MK Ultra was a highly confidential program conducted by the CIA in the United States during the Cold War Era. This project focused on various forms of mind control, psychological manipulation, and behavioral modification techniques for intelligence and military purposes. 

In the beginning, Culver believed that it made an interesting name for her dubstep project, but as time went on, she started experiencing strange encounters with people. She began getting approached at shows or had people commenting online stating that she was controlling their minds, or that she was part of a group that she had absolutely no association with. Shortly after, a very high-profile manager for a duo that she was working with offered to take her on as their client if she changed her name. With an irresistible offer like that, she knew it was the right thing to do. 

After working so hard and building a solid fanbase, the worry of a name change affecting that was always present. To combat it, Culver decided using her real name would be a safe option, since she had a large account that many people followed. Associating a musical project with your real name can bring challenges for some though. For Culver, she never let the reality of her real name being her artist name set in.

 “As I’m asking myself why I’ve kept it all so far away from me, I think it’s been to protect my true self and to never change who I am… If you’ve lost yourself you’ve lost everything.” 

With her new name and the same passion for her music, the Leah Culver project has blossomed into what it is today. 

As an artist that wears many hats, the production process tends to be a little bit different than the average producer. In many of her tracks, she takes on the role of producer, lyricist, and vocalist. Following her newest release, “Resuscitate” we dove deep and asked Culver how the production process of such a raw and emotional song differed from others. 

For someone who has been singing about real experiences in their life for so long, she has become desensitized to how vulnerable they might actually be. This track specifically deals with struggling mentally and was created to help people escape from their mind for a moment. Culver has managed to find the beauty in that ability to be so genuinely raw and detached from what may be seen as vulnerable to others, for the purpose of hopefully helping listeners through what they may be experiencing or how they internalize the song. 

Photo shot by DV PHOTO

Another notable track is her collaboration “Rise” with Excision and Jessica Audiffred. Both well-known artists reached out to Culver to bring her in on the track, and now it is one that she holds dear to her heart. “Rise” was dedicated to her late brother Jon, who introduced her to electronic music and was an extremely influential part of her life. She began working on this song and had gotten as far as finishing the melodies when her brother had passed away. With a deadline for this song, she let Excision and Jessica Audiffred know that there was no way she couldn’t belt about her brother in the ballad. Jon was a huge fan of Excision, so to get the opportunity to create a song with him about Jon meant the world to Culver. 

“I’m grateful he will live on in the music he truly inspired from the beginning. He was beautiful and always will be with us.”

READ: Excision Headlines NYE Festival at Tahoe’s Newest Music Venue

Culver has taken the ability to put her heart and soul into her music, which in turn has delivered her emotion and message to people all over the world. Both Culver and her good friend Ben Whisenhunt decided to team up and start a documentary titled, “Creating Light” with the idea that they would create a short film about Culver’s life. As they began to film, life consistently threw curve balls such as COVID and the passing of her brother Jon. What was supposed to be a short film, turned into a five-year documentary about her life after inspiration to tell her story. 

After filming concluded, the duo decided to pitch the documentary to major networks and with hard work and determination, the film was successfully picked up by Tubi and Amazon Prime Video. The documentary provides a unique opportunity for Culver to tell her story and spread an empowering message to viewers. 

“I hope that my story, with its ups and downs, wins and hardships, leaves people knowing that if someone else can do it and get through it, so can they. No matter what it is!”

If there is anyone that believes in Culver’s message and her talent it’s the Imagine Music Festival team. As an Atlanta-raised artist, she began going to Imagine Music Festival when it was still a small inner-city fest. Now, she has had the opportunity to play multiple times to showcase her talent to fans from all over. Culver has always made it a point to go above and beyond for the festival, so this year she has surprises in store for festival attendees. This year‘s set will consist of very special live guests and performances that fans have never seen before, with all new original released and unreleased music. 

“I’ll always be so grateful to my Iris family and Imagine Festival family! Huge shout out to Maddy and Glenn for believing in me from the beginning, and giving me a place to play my music, and shine as hard as I can. Can’t wait to see you there Imagine goers!”

Leah Culver’s story shines as a testament to her passion and creativity. From her musical heritage to her life’s hardships, her artistry has continued to transcend through it all. Make sure to catch Leah Culver at this 2024’s Imagine Music Festival on September 14-17. Tickets for GA, VIP, and PLATINUM tiers, as well as various camping options and add-ons, are available for purchase on the Imagine Music Festival website.



Ashley is a founding member of the MP3 MAG team, as well as a recent Florida State University graduate. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where she has been immersed into the electronic music community and discovered her passion for music journalism. Her favorite hobbies include going to concerts, music festivals and traveling.