When contacted by the Times & Transcript last week to discuss her show this Saturday at The Cocoa Room in Riverview, Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Meaghan Blanchard had her finger on the button.
The button in question? Blanchard was getting ready to finally release her latest single, “Crash,” onto YouTube. She wasn’t having misgivings about releasing the track per se, but due to the personal nature of the song, there is a certain vulnerability that can stem from casting yourself “out there.”
“This song is geared more towards who I was five years ago,” she says. “I’m admittedly slightly terrified to release it but I am also confident that it will be a good thing as well.”
Stating that it took her the bulk of the last five years to find the optimal way to convey her emotions through words, Blanchard says the song is unquestionably one of the most personal that she has written in her career thus far.
“I think that because I tend to write happy, introspective songs, releasing a song about heartbreak like ‘Crash’ is quite different for me as an artist. But I know it is also something that so many people can probably identify with as well when you run into somebody that broke your heart.”
While the personal nature of the song along with the general feeling of sadness are rather obvious in hearing it, Blanchard says that the reaction that the song has garnered when playing it live has in fact been encouraging, indirectly helping reaffirm her decision to cast herself out there.
“Everybody seems to take a different meaning from the song, which I think is fantastic. I’ve heard from a lot of others who see their own heartbreak in the song but have also heard of lost friendships and stories of abuse as well. Having somebody come up and tell me that something I created has touched them in some personal way keeps me grounded in the best of ways.”
“Crash” is one of two singles that Blanchard will be commercially releasing in the near future. That song, along with the other track, “Haul The Heavy Load,” is due to be released via iTunes any day now.
This pair of tracks, recorded with producer John Keane (R.E.M.) in Georgia this past October, marks the first new music from Blanchard since her acclaimed 2013 album She’s Gonna Fly. Blanchard’s third full-length effort, the album would go on to win three Music Prince Edward Island Awards along with one East Coast Music Award.
As someone who has spent the bulk of her life in the realm of country music, Blanchard’s award wins are well-earned distinctions for the artist. Blanchard’s grandmother Glenda, a country music singer in her own right, served as a tremendous influence upon Meaghan.
As a child, Blanchard would sit side-stage to watch her grandmother perform while learning to appreciate the likes of musicians like Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
She would go on to record Changing Things, her debut record, at the age of 18. The album garnered Blanchard noteworthy success right across the country, winning four Music P.E.I. awards in the process.
Chasin’ Lonely Again, Blanchard’s sophomore record, was met with an equally rousing appreciation, winning Country Recording of the Year at that year’s East Coast Music Awards.
This past November, Blanchard made her U.K. debut, touring throughout England and Scotland with Dan Burke, with whom she had performed shows in Atlantic Canada in 2013. Blanchard says much like Burke found his time in Atlantic Canada interesting, she found there was much to take in during her first overseas tour.
“The people there were so incredibly lovely. Not to insinuate that Canadian audiences are inattentive in any way in the course of a show, I found that audiences in the United Kingdom paid especially close attention to the performance and were very interested to hear the stories behind the songs. And of course, I was besieged by people telling me about relatives of theirs that live in Vancouver,” she laughs. “It was a great experience. I am really looking forward to returning.”
It is Blanchard’s uncompromising vision and buoyant personality that has no doubt played a part and will continue to factor into her winning fans the world over. If you’re tired of pop stars that seem to believe the world owes them something, you are bound to find something refreshing about Blanchard’s attitude.
“It seems there are so many artists out there who feel they have to be something they are not. It is the nature of the music business. At the end of the day, if you’re not being creatively true to yourself, it won’t take long before you realize that any gratification you might have received will be fleeting,” Blanchard says.
“You have to be constantly be pushing yourself otherwise that kid that is making music in their basement is going to leave you in the dust.”
What: Meaghan Blanchard
When: Saturday Mar. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Cocoa Room, 391 Coverdale Rd., Riverview
Tickets are $20 (plus service charges). Advance tickets are available at Jean Coutu (438 Coverdale Rd., Riverview), Frank’s Music (245 Carson Dr., Moncton) and Sobeys (1160 Findlay Blvd., Riverview). Tickets are also available online at www.riverviewartscentre.ca.