Building off the success of last fall’s Galaxie Rising Star win, Moncton musician Shaun LeBlanc is getting ready to launch his debut record, Kaleidoscope. LeBlanc and his band will celebrate the release of the pop album with a free show at Moncton’s Empress Theatre next Thursday evening.
With Royal Conservatory of Music training in piano in his back pocket, it should come of little surprise that LeBlanc would be destined for bigger and better things, with or without having won the influential Galaxie Rising Star Prize last fall.
“I started showing interest in music around the time I was four years old,” he says. “My parents had bought me a toy keyboard and even though I was too young to start lessons at the time, I became adamant about taking lessons.”
While the piano might have been his first calling, LeBlanc also delved into jazz while in high school, learning how to play the trumpet.
“My musical training is in classical piano. I was never a big fan of the lessons; they were just a part of what I did. Ironically, when I stopped taking lessons when I was in high school, I fell in love with music all over again. I began writing songs while I was still in high school.”
While Kaleidoscope might be considered LeBlanc’s “official” debut effort, it was actually preceded by a self-released EP in 2011. That collection of songs arose from LeBlanc simply wanting to have something that people could take home with them at the end of the night. It also afforded the musician the opportunity to begin networking with his peers, including producer Robin Anne Ettles, who would play a big role in helping bring Kaleidoscope to life.
“Over the last year, Robin and I have been working together on the record. It took a while as I work full-time plus she works full-time so we had to chip away at it bit by bit. In general, I can be pretty hard on myself when it comes to songwriting. Having Robin’s input on these specific songs was the first time that I had brought in someone to pick the songs apart and really up their overall value. It was definitely a blessing as she wasn’t shy to let me know what she thought,” LeBlanc laughs. “To have that input was invaluable though.”
LeBlanc and Ettles settled on recording Kaleidoscope in a number of different locations. Shaun says that one of the highlights of the recording process was having the opportunity to record his piano tracks in the wonderful acoustic ambience of the Capitol Theatre in Moncton.
“The Capitol is one of the best-sounding rooms in the city,” LeBlanc says. “We had the whole room to ourselves and ended up cutting my tracks mostly in one take. We ended up using the baby grand piano they have which made a huge difference in the way the piano on the record sounds as well. We did some scratch tracks with a regular piano and the difference between that and what we got on tape with the baby grand piano was like night and day.”
Article published in the May 3, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript