To assist music followers get to know the 10 Polaris Music Prize-nominated albums, CBC Music presents the Shortlist Shortcut sequence. Each week, we are going to ask a nominated artist for a really helpful observe off their shortlisted document. Maybe it is a tune that greatest represents the themes on the album, or perhaps it is crucial, tough or rewarding tune they wrote. The query was left to the artist to interpret, however the hope is that the chosen observe will give us a pathway into their work.
Within the fourth instalment of this sequence, we spoke with Acadian singer-songwriter Lisa LeBlanc, who has now been shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize twice.
Lisa LeBlanc on ‘Gossip’
When Lisa LeBlanc premiered her tune “Gossip” on common Quebec speak present Tout le monde en parle in March 2022, it was instantly a contender for song of the summer. Marrying disco with a James Brown beat and a killer bassline, “Gossip” revels in small-town life, with an entire lot of aptitude.
For LeBlanc, “Gossip” was additionally the primary tune she wrote that made her lastly see her now Polaris-shortlisted album, Chiac Disco.
“It is what represents the entire document as a result of it is so impressed by my hometown in New Brunswick, and it is so impressed by the chiac, which is our accent in Acadia in southern New Brunswick. So to me it is filled with pleasure and it talks in regards to the gossip from Tim’s in Rogersville. It provides you an thought of what the album goes to be about,” she finishes, laughing.
The concept for the tune got here to LeBlanc in the future whereas she was driving — an image of the Tim Hortons regulars in Rogersville, “people who find themselves extraordinarily, extraordinarily loyal to their hours,” particulars LeBlanc, and what ended up being the opening lyrics to the tune:
J’vais au Tim Horton pour savoir qu’est-ce qu’est la gossip
Un café double-double avec trois Timbits and gossip
Pas d’drive-thru, tu manquerais tout la gossip
J’veux savoir la gossip
The inspiration to attach chiac and disco partially got here to LeBlanc from childhood tales of her aunts and uncles, “going to dances within the ’70s like tremendous all decked-out with their tremendous disco garments with glitter and platform sneakers, however all entering into a pickup truck,” she says. It is how she completely sums up the entire album: “where glamour meets rurality.”
The epiphany to jot down “Gossip” got here at a fortuitous time, too, as LeBlanc had been in a writing hunch for years. Usually primarily based in Montreal, she and her companion and bassist, Benoit Morier, moved again to Moncton through the pandemic and located that that they had a whole lot of time on their arms. So that they began a brand new mission: a weekly bingo on Fb Reside referred to as Bingo avec Joanne.
“Basically Ben, my companion, was this beautiful girl referred to as Joanne, who’s a financial institution teller by day, fortune teller by night time, who reads the long run in toast. So yeah, that provides you an thought,” LeBlanc says, laughing. “And it form of took over our lives, and between bingo rounds we wanted music as a result of it was Fb Reside and so it wanted to be unique content material due to the copyright guidelines and every little thing. So I began writing bingo music with this alter ego referred to as Belinda, who’s a stunning, sassy waitress from the ’60s. And we have been simply writing a tune every week, however simply the very fact of being within the studio, having one thing to do, writing with one finger on a keyboard, , and a drum machine. And simply nonetheless being within the studio, studying quite a bit and simply being in that inventive area the place I used to be writing bingo songs.”
The stress was off, and it is precisely what LeBlanc wanted. At first, “Gossip” was written as a straight-up disco tune, however LeBlanc stored rearranging it whereas making the remainder of her document, by no means totally happy. That is when the funk got here in, and the brass. As soon as LeBlanc let free, all of it got here collectively.
“The factor with this album was — which was actually enjoyable, and with ‘Gossip’ — there have been a whole lot of issues that we have been like, ‘We should not be doing this, however let’s do it,’ ? Form of like, every little thing is feasible with this album. Let’s do all of the tacky stuff we are able to and let’s simply see what occurs. And so forth that tune, there is a fretless bass and it is form of dumb, actually. It is simply — there are chimes on that album. Yeah, it is quite a bit.”
However “quite a bit” is an outline for constraints and judgments LeBlanc had carried together with her since she began making music years in the past — and that she was able to let go of. Chiac Disco is the singer’s fifth album, and is vastly completely different from something she’s launched below her personal title.
“I hated keys, I hated every little thing, mainly,” LeBlanc admits. “I used to be simply actually single-minded in what I wished and what I did not like. I knew what I did not like. And so it is hilarious to be like, now we’ve fretless bass and chimes and horns and keyboards galore and strings and the entire issues. So it was actually a liberation of kinds as a result of it was similar to, the sky is the restrict. And a few issues that I did not like earlier than, effectively, could possibly be actually shocking and be like, ‘OK, effectively, this really works, that is enjoyable.'”
That Chiac Disco was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize was a shock to LeBlanc. Her first Polaris-shortlisted album, 2016’s Why You Wanna Go away, Runaway Queen?, was a critically acclaimed English folks document, and this latest launch captures an entire different aspect of the singer.
“This one to me is extremely particular as a result of it was made with a lot love and a lot creative freedom as a result of it was through the pandemic, and this album was such a lifesaver,” says LeBlanc. “It was one thing extremely constructive and creatively enjoyable…. And it was a danger, in a method. I did not actually see it as a danger, folks instructed me that later [laughs], that it was a danger to do this album. However I made it with none expectations. I did it actually from the underside of my coronary heart … plus it is chiac. So it is cool. It is from the place I am from.”