At just 26 years of age, Rogersville native Lisa LeBlanc is taking the Canadian music business by storm.
In the four and a half years since she introduced herself to the world with her platinum-selling Francophone debut, she has amassed fans in all corners of Canada who have been drawn to her self-described “folk trash” sound.
At the end of last month, LeBlanc released her second full-length record, Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen? Written in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown, listeners are given a first-hand glimpse at a no-holds barred approach to casting off the shackles of failed romance and moving forward with confidence.
Boasting ominous song titles including “Dump The Guy ASAP” and “I Love You, I Don’t Love You, I Don’t Know,” LeBlanc’s decision to air some potentially dirty laundry seems to have paid off handsomely. Her newest record debuted on the Billboard Canadian Album Charts in the No. 8 position, just behind Ariana Grande and Celine Dion.
Speaking from Toronto late week, LeBlanc seems humbled and somewhat amazed by her album’s chart position.
“It feels like a kind of validation as to how hard I’ve been working since even before my first record was released in 2012,” she begins. “I’m very passionate about what I do. I tend to be big headed and have strong opinions about my music and where I want to. I just happen to be lucky enough to have surrounded myself with the right people that have helped me arrive at this specific juncture, from the guys in my band through to my management team and record label.”
With a combined 140,000 units sold of her Francophone debut and English-based follow-up EP (2014’s Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted), LeBlanc finds herself in the somewhat enviable position of being able to curate an appreciative, bilingual audience.
While she has seen success from notably bilingual centres such as New Brunswick and Quebec, she says there is a significant Francophone population that can be found in virtually all corners of the country.
“Overall, the reception to my music has been great no matter where we go. Ironically, having released my English-language EP in 2014 brought me closer to Francophones in Western Canada when I toured there. What I found most remarkable about the situation is how the Francophone community, in cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton where it is the obvious minority, instantly feels like home for everyone there. I’ve met all kinds of New Brunswick ex-pats who are now living elsewhere, but love getting that bilingual taste of home.”
Interestingly, LeBlanc’s latest Canadian success story was birthed in an American roadtrip of epic proportions. Her journey kicked off in Nashville, followed by stops in Lafayette, New Orleans, Austin, Asheville and New York.
Along the way, she had the opportunity to participate in a music-based camp in Eunice, Louisiana, while also refining her guitar and banjo technique through intensive one-on-one coaching sessions.
“Essentially, I took two months and just travelled all throughout the southern U.S., finding inspiration at almost every stop along the way. Generally speaking, I find travel to be incredibly inspirational just because it forces you to put yourself in situations you wouldn’t normally be. Through forced interactions with people that you most likely never have anything in common with, you’re given the chance to meet all kinds of interesting characters and folks along the way that you never would have encountered sitting at home. There is a lot of great conversations to be found; I like the aspects of humanity you discover in those chats.”
What: Lisa LeBlanc
When: Tuesday Oct. 18, 8 p.m.
Where: Centre Culturel Aberdeen, 140 Botsford St., Moncton
Tickets are $15. Advance tickets are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com