After years of backing up other musicians including Moncton fiddler Dominique Dupuis and being a part of a handful of bands including Tracy Starr and An Acoustic Sin, Moncton musician Steve Leblanc is stepping into the spotlight with his debut solo record. Released this past August, not only is Leblanc’s album Mon Desir his solo debut, but it also breaks tradition with much (but admittedly not all) of his recorded history, being a Francophone record.
“Personally, the bulk of the projects I have done, music that I have made with An Acoustic Sin and Tracy Starr, have all been in the English language and usually based upon popular music,” Leblanc says. “I have always been involved with musicians from the Francophone music scene however Mon Desir is actually the first time that I have presented myself as an actual solo Francophone artist.”
Arguably one of the best-known musicians in the city, Leblanc is heralded for his musical versatility and musicianship. Asked why it has taken such a long time for a solo record to see the light of day, Leblanc says that it was his work with others that kept him busy. Not that he is arguing the fact by any stretch of the imagination.
“It’s true that Mon Desir is my first solo record and to a lot of people, it might seem like it was a long time coming but there has probably been 12 or more albums I have performed on over the last little while. Looking back to the 90s with An Acoustic Sin and then Tracy Starr and then I recorded two albums with Dominique Dupuis, one album with Fayo, one record with Roland Gauvin.
“In addition to playing on a whole bunch of records, I have also done a whole lot of touring. With Dominique specifically, I have probably been to Europe 25 times over the last decade,” he laughs. “I just haven’t been home to make this record.”
Sharing that he recorded an estimated 85 per cent of his new record at home, the process of making the record was a lesson in experimentation of sorts for Leblanc.
“This was the first time that I have released something that wasn’t recorded in a studio. I was a little apprehensive about it but the record ended up being exactly what I wanted it to be. It is a project that I am very proud of.”
And while Leblanc might have eventually gotten around to making a French language album between the other projects he seemingly always has on the go, he credits Dominique Dupuis for having helped accelerate coaxing the record out of him.
“Dominique really deserves credit for helping this record be realized because it was through all of the touring that I did with her throughout Europe that allowed me to be so immersed in the French culture. I ended up traveling with her so much that it helped build my confidence to sing in the French language. I realized one day there was no reason why I couldn’t make this record and I have no regrets about having gone the route that I did,” Leblanc says.
Article published in the November 23, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript