One the the main goals of music is to connect; bringing listeners together by the themes and feelings injected into the lyrics and melodies, letting them know that someone else has been there too.
That feeling is exactly what Ashley LeBlanc is hoping to do with her sophomore release The Luckiest Girl in the World. The Ontario, Canada native weaves her way through the eight song album as she gave listeners a look into her life; the good, the bad and everywhere in between.
Read along as Ashley discusses her wide array of influences, overcoming shyness, many of the songs on The Luckiest Girl in the World, what she hopes listeners take away from the album and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Ashley LeBlanc: My musical influences are all over the map! Taylor Swift, The Dixie Chicks, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton introduced me to my love of country music. I love vintage music. I feel that it is very real. Back then, there was no auto-tune; artists had to have true talent. I love Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Frank Sinatra and John Denver. I could probably go on forever!
PC: You’ve shown an interest in music for almost as long as you could talk. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life?
AL: I have always been drawn to music and it has always been a part of my life. My Mom tells me that I used to sing Shania Twain and Martina McBride in the back seat of her car when I was just learning to talk. I have always felt that music is my passion. My parents have always surrounded me with music of all kinds growing up, so I do believe that could have had a profound impact on me. My Dad also has two jukeboxes full of older music that I have listened to my entire life.
PC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
AL: Growing up, I was always very inspired watching live performers and watching awards shows on television. At age 12, I decided to try to write a song of my own called “Stay Free.” At that time in my life, I was dealing with a difficult situation, and I found a way for myself to deal with it and process it in my own way. After writing a new song, I always feel that I should share it with others. My past experiences might be able to help them in some way. That’s why I do what I do. My goal is to make people happy. If I am able to help someone forget about the horrible day that they are having, then I feel that I am doing my job!
PC: Your bio says that you had to overcome shyness before being able to perform in front of a crowd. How were you able to combat your shyness and become comfortable performing for people?
AL: I was very shy growing up. I would not talk to anyone outside of my family unless I was forced to. I have always felt that the best way to get over a fear is to experience that fear over and over again. When I was in grade school, my parents would take me to this open mic night in Hamilton, Ontario called “The Staircase” every Wednesday night. I would be able to sing two songs and get used to performing in front of an audience. It was a great experience for me. After doing that for a while, I was able to get my own gigs and start performing by myself. Nowadays, I am not scared to perform and actually feel the complete opposite. I get so excited to share what I love doing with other people!
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your debut EP Better with Me?
AL: In 2017, I was just starting out. I was still learning the basics of writing and had never been to a recording studio. It was all a new experience to me, and I was very nervous for it to be released. I was nervous that no one was going to like it. I was very pleased when I discovered that family, friends and fans were so supportive about my music and were very impressed with my songs! It featured five songs that I wrote all by myself. The EP as a whole features me singing and playing guitar and a steel guitar. Honestly, I like to think of music as a learning curve, you cannot get any better unless you partake in the craft. I was able to learn so much from that journey and was able to put my new knowledge towards my next album!
PC: Your newest album The Luckiest Girl in the World is your first full-band release. Is there a level of pressure that comes with taking that step and playing with such quality musicians on the album?
AL: The Luckiest Girl in the World means so much to me! I wrote this album as a typical girl going through high school. It speaks of very happy moments and sad moments, which is very normal for a sixteen-year-old girl (at the time). When my family decided to add a full band onto this project, I was very excited. I couldn’t wait to see my songs come to life. I personally did not feel a lot of pressure when recording this album with such amazing Canadian musicians. I was already very happy with the songs as they were, and was thrilled when the musicians got just as excited playing the songs! Plus, they were so kind to me and I was able to learn a lot from their experience.
PC: Why did you decide to release a studio music video for “Rain” from The Luckiest Girl in the World?
AL: I decided to release a studio music video for “Rain” because I felt that this song could easily relate to many people. This song discusses an individual going through a rough time in their life after just losing someone. The downside to this situation is that they still have to see them constantly. I wanted to feature it in a studio video to shed light to it. I wanted people to listen to “Rain” and relate to it. The producer of my album asked me if I was interested in making a video at the studio, and I was thrilled to do that.
PC: “Someday” is our favorite song on The Luckiest Girl in the World. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
AL: Very good choice!! It’s mine too!
This song not only melodically means so much to me, but also lyrically. On my album, I wanted to write a song with a very 1950s, classic country vibe. That’s what I am influenced by the most. I wanted to write a song that showed how much that music had impacted me. This song was written when I was going through a really tough time in my life. I didn’t know when I would feel better, and I wanted people to help me try to. I realized that the only person who can make me feel better is myself, and that I may not feel better right now, but “Someday” I will!
PC: “The Luckiest Girl in the World” is one of the standout tracks on its album. How autobiographical in nature is that song, and why did you decide to name the album after that song?
AL: “The Luckiest Girl in the World” is very autobiographical! I wrote this song when I was discovering that I needed to try and make a dent in the music business. This song is very important to me. It was inspired after a conversation with a few of my musician friends about support. They told me that it is very rare to have such a great support system that I have with my family and friends. It made me realize that I really was “The Luckiest Girl in the World.” I decided to name the album after this song because of the deep connection with this song. I expressed how I truly felt about my music and the next steps in my career. My family has always been very supportive.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from The Luckiest Girl in the World album after listening all the way through?
AL: I would hope that listeners are learning a little bit more about me and my journey into music so far. I hope that they are able to connect with the lyrics of the songs and relate it to their lives. When people listen to my music, I want them to feel happy. I want to give them an opportunity to forget the bad things in life. If they are listening to my music while feeling sad, I would want them to feel comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
PC: 2020 has thrown the plans of many artists out the window. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
AL: This year, I am very hopeful to release some new music including possibly a Christmas single! I have developed “Ashley’s Music Zone”, on Facebook and Instagram Live on Friday nights to give Fans and Friends a chance to connect with me and get a live performance while I am unable to perform in person. I am hoping to continue this going forward as it has been very successful!
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
AL: Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity for this interview! I would love to ask people to follow me on my social media for updates on my music and what I’m up to!
My Website: https://www.ashleyleblancmusic.com
Check out The Luckiest Girl in the World here: https://ampl.ink/7QK0J