Local artist defies odds at every step on a rocking path

Rockin’ Mama (Courtesy of Cynthia Leimbach)

Stacey Angeloff

Mission Viejo is a quiet suburban town, yet it is home to a rare and vibrant song bird, Cynthia Leimbach. She is a student at Saddleback college, a loving mother, and a powerful force in the house music scene.

This mama rocks a vibrant mohawk, and is an emulation of kindness and positive energy with a big story and an even bigger heart.

With her alias of “Symphony,” she illuminates the stage with a giant smile that even the worst seats in the house can see.

“Music is life,” Leimbach said. “Why do you think it’s called a heart BEAT?”

The word artist should not be taken lightly with Leimbach. She is a singer, songwriter, author, dance performer, and all while being an A student. She is a national honor student, a double literary major and a nursing major, maintains a 3.85 GPA and aspires to transfer to University of California at Berkley or UCLA.

She has worked with world-renowned record labels, disc jockys and musicians, including Prince, DJ D.T. Donaldson, DJ Miguel Migs, Dufflebag and Gallery Records, Paramount Studios, and was even given permission by famous poet Maya Angelou to transform her poem “Phenomenal Woman” into a song.

The public can find some of her music available for purchase at Target stores. During her interview, she laughed and joked “I’m big, baby! You can find me at Target!”

Her newest album “Buried Treasure” will be released by Union Records on April 15. The EP is called “Seashells vol. 3″ and the EP “Always Myself vol. 4″ will be out in June.

She is recently performing experimental live house performances with DJ Rad Lion, the personal DJ of the designer Ed Hardy.

Leimbach was born in Inglewood, Calif., in 1970, but she didn’t stay there long. At age 17, she moved to Madrid, Spain, then she kept on going.

“I was pissed off, young and talented,” she said. “It’s a dangerous combination. But dang did I have fun!”

During the ‘90s she performed for an all-girl group managed by the artist Prince for Warner Brothers Studios in Los Angeles and worked for Rage Magazine in Paris in 1994.

Leimbach then continued her journey throughout the U.S. and worked for Ohm Records in San Francisco.

Cynthia seriously knows performing. From being a young American living and traveling through Europe, surviving from microphone to microphone in clubs, coffee shops, and even to the countries’ biggest discos, to heading punk bands named Kathleen against the Sex Biscuits and Legend 27, and battling musical group No Doubt in an all-out garage-band rage-off in Los Angeles. “We used to turn up our speakers all the way and try to out-sing Gwen Stefani in the next garage over.”

She has been a part of the group Vibe Zelect, with Cory Wells and John B. She has also performed at the world-famous Electric Daisy Carnival music festival, and danced in a modern-yoga dance piece in Saddleback’s WinterDance Concert in the fall 2011 semester, so she’s definitely been in the spotlight.

Not only have her words reached people through song, but she has also published four novels, including “And You’ll Never Be Anything Like Me,” and has written over 1,000 poems and songs. She has also had her work featured in Saddleback’s “The Wall”, a composition of the college’s finest authors’ poetry and essays, with her essay “Running on Empty.”

But the real story is the one that lies within her heart and her past. Cynthia is the ultimate survivor. She has lived through abuse, cancer and unbelievable hardships. Hers is the story of a phoenix rising trough the ashes. Just ask her, she’ll tell you, at least as much as you can stomach. She will share her stories of strength through ultimate suffering, and she will do it with love and hope.

Both Cynthia the woman, and Symphony the artist, expresses love through everything she does.

“I am a cynical optimist who chooses to see the best in everyone and everything,” Leimbach said. “I express my art to reach men and women who will benefit through my life experiences.”

Leimbach said she wants people to learn from her.

“I am a survivor, I’ve lived through hell,” she said. “I’ve felt the bottom and the blinding lights at the top, and if I can do anything, I want people to know that they are never truly alone.”

Leimbach is an artist in the purest form. Her beautiful songs, words, smiles and hope can be inspiration to us all.