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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New York City

Luann de Lesseps Responds to Leah McSweeney's Legal Questions About Her Song

The RHONY singer's new Christmas track did not get the most festive reception in Season 13.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Leah McSweeney’s Legal Questions About Luann de Lesseps’ Song

Luann de Lesseps is known for being the chanteuse of The Real Housewives of New York City. However, her music caused a stir like never before in the July 27 episode of RHONY.

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Luann revealed that her next project would be an original Christmas song and accompanying music video featuring none other than her fellow New York Housewives: Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, Leah McSweeney, and Eboni K. Williams. Proceeds from the song would benefit The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization that offers support to those who were formerly incarcerated.

The ladies were set to come over to Luann's apartment to record their line for the song. But before that, Leah joined Luann in touring the space where the Countess would also be throwing a joint birthday party for Ramona and Sonja later that week. "So for the song, do we have to, like, sign anything or is there anything that we need to, like, a contract or agreement giving approval to use our voices or anything like this?" Leah asked Luann, who replied, "I literally just laid down the tracks so that you girls can come in and sing. And so, I haven't even thought about that part yet. But I will."

Luann also noted how she has had Housewives involved in her music in the past, such as Lisa Rinna and Jill Zarin, both of whom previously appeared in her music videos. "I'm really happy to donate my time and my voice to benefit Fortune Society; I just want to make sure all my bases are covered legally," Leah said in an interview during the episode. "Am I protected, are we protected, is she protected? Like, I don't know."

Heading into the recording the track, Leah said that she was "happy to do the song," but she was "also feeling ambivalent because I want the contract." She then followed up with Luann after speaking to her lawyer about the matter. 

However, Luann was not pleased with Leah doing so in front of her musical director and the co-writer of the song, Billy Stritch. "Talk about timing. Leah and I talked about this briefly, and now is definitely not the time to talk about it with my producer who's standing right here," Luann said in an interview in the episode. "It's embarrassing."

Luann assured Leah that all of her profits from the song would be going to The Fortune Society. When Leah asked for more details, she wanted to know why Luann was "getting so defensive." "Because you're getting defensive," Luann said in response.

Luann told Leah that she didn't need to record the song if she wasn't comfortable doing so. But Leah said that she "just wanted to ask questions." "I love Luann. I love Christmas songs, even though I'm converting. But this is not a personal thing," Leah added in an interview during the episode. "Just wondering what this arrangement looks like."

Luann ultimately told Leah that she wanted her "to be happy to do it." The two hugged, and Luann said that she had Leah's back. Leah then laid down her vocals for the song.

Just when these two appeared to be cool, Leah brought up her questions about the song again to Ramona at her and Sonja's birthday party later in the episode, which Luann overheard and came over to join the conversation. "Our voices are gonna be used. Like, do we have to sign a release, and what does the release look like?" Leah told Luann. "I think we should have gotten it before we recorded it all."

Luann told Leah that she should have brought all of this up to her before she came over to her apartment to record. "It was like, bah humbug. We're recording a Christmas song to give to women from Fortune Society," Luann said. "Basically, you said to me 'I don't trust you.' I was really disappointed by your reaction."

Leah then mentioned Luann's drama last season of RHONY over compensating Sonja for her appearances in her cabaret show. Luann told Leah to not "overstep your boundaries," to which she replied that she was just following her lawyer's advice. "This is very simple. I really want to know how the money is gonna be donated to the charity and for how long, and that's really what I give a s--t about," Leah said in an interview in the episode.

Luann and Leah decided to move on from their disagreement at the party. However, Luann still didn't seem to have the best feelings about it during an interview in the episode. "It upsets me that Leah doesn't get it," she shared. "Now you're talking about me behind my back with my girlfriends at that party that I'm throwing for Ramona and Sonja about legal issues that don't exist yet. No." 

During her appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on July 27 (clip above), Luann reflected on her conflict with Leah, explaining that they were still "in the creative process" with the song at the time. So when it came to any sort of paperwork, Luann said that she "just hadn't gotten to that part yet." 

"So I understand that, and seeing it, I don't think I stated it clearly enough to her," Luann continued. "And it's true that she might have been nervous about it, but, listen, it's for charity, it's for a great cause, and, of course, I'm so happy the girls are all a part of it, which is amazing."

Luann had another major update to share about her music career during the WWHL After Show. She confirmed that she will be back onstage performing her cabaret show for eight dates at New York City's Feinstein's/54 Below starting November 30. "I'm super excited," Luann said in the below clip. "And I've got like 16 shows on my calendar. It's awesome."

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