Our November Featured Artist is Ashley LeBlanc, an 18-year-old singer, songwriter and performing artist from Brantford. LeBlanc says she has been singing since she could talk and grew up listening to her Dad’s jukebox, discovering her love of music while singing along to hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
LeBlanc has been playing guitar for the last ten years, and for the last four years she has been performing locally and throughout Ontario at festivals, restaurants, local fairs and charity events. In 2017, she released her first EP entitled “Better With Me,” and in 2019 she released her first full album called “The Luckiest Girl in the World.” This album won International Gold Album of the Year and her music video for the song “Rain” from this album won International Bronze Music Video of the Year at the International Singer/Songwriter Awards. Her album has since been played all over the world on many indie radio stations and charted in the United Kingdom.
Drawing inspiration from Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift, LeBlanc was passionate about learning how to play the guitar and sing like these powerful young women. Once she learned how to play the guitar, she started to write her own music and found the experience of writing down her feelings very therapeutic and helped her to process her own challenges. After many family trips to Nashville, LeBlanc was drawn to country music and says she has learned a lot from listening to the styles of Patsy Cline, The Chicks, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Taylor Swift.
LeBlanc credits a lot of local musicians and teachers for her growth in the industry. Growing up in Brantford, LeBlanc shares, “I love that the musicians in the city are very supportive of one another. Brantford has a very diverse musical community and I am lucky to be a part of it. I have always felt very supported in my hometown and I appreciate the big support from this small town community.” When she was just 8 years old, she met Alisha Eich who was her first guitar and vocal teacher. LeBlanc says, “Alisha was very encouraging. She is a very talented singer/songwriter who I continue to be inspired by.” LeBlanc also began taking music lessons at an early age with Avalon Music Academy of Brantford, who she says helped her find her love of music. Once she started performing locally, she continued her lessons with Joan Minnery, who helped her improve her performance skills, and her guitar teacher, Shaun Mulrain. LeBlanc adds, “without the assistance and encouragement of these individuals, I would not be where I am today with my music.”
In 2018, LeBlanc purchased a Taylor Guitar Model 414ce LTD and it has really helped her to develop her sound and style. She has a music room right in her home, which contains all of her instruments, a sound system and “more vinyl LPs than anyone could ever ask for.” This is the room where she does a lot of her songwriting, learning and live online music events. Without many opportunities for performance in 2020, LeBlanc spent the majority of the summer writing songs for a new album and shortly thereafter switched her focus to getting into the studio to record the album. She also started University in the fall, with a focus on music studies and will continue to improve her music skills throughout her program.
When asked what she enjoys most about her creative projects, LeBlanc said she enjoys being able to use songwriting to express her feelings and get her through any difficult situation she faces. “It is very fascinating to me that people can connect to my songs and are able to relate to them in their own lives. I love how much music brings people together.”
With so many role models in her own life, LeBlanc knows how impactful it is to have a network of support in the industry. In asking her what tips she has for developing artists, LeBlanc advises individuals to find what inspires them most about music and continue to practice and work towards improvement in that area. “I know it sounds cliché, but practice is very important.” She shares that, during her musical journey, there were multiple times she wanted to stop because playing guitar was too hard or her fingers hurt, but she kept pushing herself to practice and she wouldn’t be where she is today if she hadn’t learned perseverance. She adds, “as my skills improved, practice became much more enjoyable because I was able to learn the music that mattered most to me – like every Taylor Swift song in existence.”
You can keep up-to-date with Ashley LeBlanc on her website at www.ashleyleblancmusic.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.