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Leslie Dowdall's solo career began in earnest with the release of her first album in 1997, the artfully entitled 'No Guilt, No Guile'. The album won high praise for the creativity, vision and the soulful vocals for so long hidden beneath the music of the past. As a result, Leslie won the 1997 'Best Solo Female' artist at the Heineken/Hot Press Music Awards. Also being nominated in the similar category at the IRMA Music Awards.The album release was followed by a Irish tour in April 1997 playing to full houses across the country from Dublin to Cork, Galway to Wexford. The rest of the year was a schedule of touring, recording, and guest appearances on TV and Radio.
Under her own record label, LD Records, her second album, "Out There", was released in 1998. This new album was a continuation of the passage taken with "No Guilt, No Guile", a continued interest in gentler, more reflective, vocally driven songs. 'Out There' not only confirmed Leslie's ability as one of Irelands best female singers but also confirmed her talent as a songwriter.
Since the release and subsequent promotion of 'Out There', Leslie had taken a break from writing to become involved in other projects of interest to her. In 1999 Leslie featured in a series of Beatles Celebration Concerts at the National Concert Hall. The concerts were conducted by the Beatle's producer Sir George Martin. In October 2001 Leslie was involved in Paul Brady's epic 23 date gigs in Vicar Street, with other guests such as Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor and many more.