Cat LeBlanc interviewed By Shaylynn Hayes
As an Acadian myself, I’m curious since you’re a LeBlanc, are your ancestors Acadian?
I am Acadian on my father’s side. A LeBlanc family tragedy resulted in the language and heritage being lost to a large degree. My mother is Irish. She was born in Grand Falls and became a French teacher. She lives in Miramichi. I’m fascinated by my heritage on both sides.
How have the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada influenced your music?
My Atlantic music influences are varied: Roch Voisine, Édith Butler, Julie Doiron, Lisa Richard, Debbie Adshade, Jenn Grant, and Lennie Gallant mash-up with my more global music influences: Dan Hill, Jewel, Kate Bush, Enya, Julee Cruise, Joni Mitchell, Édith Piaf, The Weather Station, Billie Holiday, Sting and Björk.
Are there local artists that you’ve found inspiring?
There are so many talented music artists right in my city and in NB. I follow and listen to the following artists, and more! Colin Fowlie, Debbie Adshade, Cross Cut, Free to Grow (Jeff Patch), Jaclyn Reinhart, Kylie Fox, Apryll Aileen, Bleum, Troy McLaggan, Young Satan in Love, Honey Gut, Frantically Atlantic, Open Strum (Michel Goguen), Brent Mason, The Tortoise, The Hare & The Millionaire (Matt Carr), Ryan Hillier, Maria Bourgeois, Jessica Rhaye, Krista Shannon, Wangled Teb, Peter Hicks, Moon Joyce, Matt Comeau, and ZWERG.
Has it been challenging as an Atlantic-Canadian artist? Do you think it’s harder here than it is in say, Toronto or Boston?
It is super challenging to get your music and your brand out there, and get noticed. There are so many other music artists doing the same thing. If I hadn’t been discovered and supported by people who know more than me, I would not know how to go about it all. It can be very overwhelming. The advice my management has given me is to think globally. They want to put my music out into the world and diversify it through commercials, films, and artistic projects. I love that idea, but knowing nothing about it, I need their help and education. It’s the best of both worlds. I can be involved in my local music scene as I love my music community and have many friends I collaborate with while always keeping my eye on the broader Canadian and International music scene. I have been paired with international artists including Dan Hill who have mentored and helped me take my music to the next level. It’s been eye-opening and a great learning experience.
What inspired the songs on Blue to Blue?
My debut album Blue to Blue is born out of my fascination with the bloom of friendship, my belief that there is something out there beyond us in the stars, my need to understand how love can turn into hate, and my pain at how people are treated as they grow older. My song arrangements are sometimes stripped down to just one or two instruments to support my lyrics and vocals, but I also favour heavily saturated instrumentation in some of my pop songs that would translate well into film scores.
“River Winding Through Your Hands” gives me a definite folk-vibe—I would love the story about the inspiration behind this song. Honestly, I was in tears listening the first time and played two times in a row. Are you deeply spiritual yourself?
I am spiritual. I feel things very deeply, and I have a lot of empathy for people and their challenges. All my songs are deeply personal and reflect my hurts and joys and the hurts and joys of the people I love. Sometimes people tell me they find my songs mysterious, but that is not my intent when writing my songs. They flow out of me. River Winding Through Your Hands is about escaping darkness and bravely venturing into the world as a free soul after being a captive. It’s about being able to bend and flow into a new life and survive challenges and heartbreak. The song is very reflective of how I feel personally.
Having an album release in 2020 must-have its challenges—how have you adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I was happy with my Blue to Blue EP launch event in February of this year. Up until it started, I thought nobody would show up, and then in typical Fredericton fashion, everybody showed up at once at the last minute. It was a fantastic launch, and my mom and friends were there too, which made it perfect. My band, who are terrific, took my songs to a whole new level in our live performance.
My biggest disappointment has been canceling my music tour in Italy. I was scheduled to go on my first mini tour ever, and I was going to perform as a solo artist. All my venues were booked and waiting for me. Then, the pandemic struck.
During the pandemic, I’ve spent most of my time outside of my job, taking masterclasses with music artists, music managers, and music supervisors, working on my guitar, writing, learning more covers, and strengthening my guitar skills. I have also been practicing on my new electric guitar and recording.
What advice do you have for up and coming local artists?
I would pass on the same advice given to me: treasure your local music community and support it and its artists while making your way out there into the global music market. Diversify your music, take classes to learn more about the music business and all the different things you can do with your music. Do more than perform live and go on tour, think commercials, films, and more. Be an influencer, have an online presence, have a brand, and promote your brand.
Also, listen to different genres of music, think outside the box.
Is Fredericton a good city for a musician? Why or why not?
Fredericton is rich with music and music artists. It’s a very supportive community for music, much like all of New Brunswick. It would be nice to have more female journalists covering female music artists. It would be nice to have older musicians and music artists focused on more. Outside of that, I find the community very supportive and always willing to lend a hand to help each other.
Your voice is haunting, truly. Have you always known you were a singer?
No. I sang by myself in my room and didn’t want to do it beyond that. My mother encouraged me to do more with my music and had me performing at five years old. My early and later years were spent performing, and I didn’t always enjoy it, to be honest; it was stressful. I appreciate how supportive my mother was now that I am older as I enjoy singing now and feel that my years of singing with her support have developed my style and helped me hone my song writing.
Side of the Road music video for the song of the same name on Youtube. https://youtu.be/gmhvIgrJFik
Side of the Road music video on Facebook: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cat.leblanc.9/videos/10158197993995979/UzpfSTU0NzQzMDk3ODozMDYwNjExMjk0OTk0MTQ6MTA6MDoxNTgzMDQ5NTk5Oi0zMjcyOTg3MzU1NTk4MDQ0Nzk3/
Another World Album: https://open.spotify.com/album/6vVmhSf78RdxPWeKEsP1GJ?si=D2O1_5_dT7azGoeZQ3PgbA
Artist Website: https://www.catmaryleblanc.com
Facebook Artist Site: https://www.facebook.com/catmaryleblanc/
Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/cat.leblanc.9