Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Leighton’s first introduction to music and the bass was his middle school orchestra class. He began playing jazz at 16 and at 17 he was selected to be a member of the prestigious Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. With this band, he attended the renowned Essentially Ellington competition in New York with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The band’s Rhythm section earned an honorable mention.
At 20, Leighton is currently a student in the jazz program at the University of Toronto, where he has studied privately with Dave Young, Andrew Downing and Geoff Young. Other Teachers and mentors of his include Marlene Rosenberg, Michael Dease, Rodney Whitaker and Steve Haines.