Photo by Danielle Shields
Pun intended, it was “in the cards” for spirited singer-songwriter Michelle LeBlanc to leave New York City for Music City. Michelle releases a new single, “A Good Man,” on April 5, following her 2018 debut five-song EP release, “A Man Like You.” Featured on that EP was “B.T.W,” a buoyantly upbeat song despite its lament over a love left behind. This one kicks in with a driving full-band sound that’ll hook you in for sure.
The new single was produced by Josh Kaler (Frances Cone, Matthew Perryman Jones, Dar Williams) who also contributes all the instrumentation to the track. Following the theme of last year’s EP, Michelle had this to say about the single and its inspiration: “There was this guy in my life, and I think he’s the one. I think maybe I messed it up really good. I don’t think he understood how much I loved him. Unfortunately, the past builds up and gets complicated and sometimes affects what we see right in front of us. I’m hoping it will come back around, and that this song is fortuitous. Time will tell, I guess. He really is such a good man.”
Thanks to Michelle for 11 well-thought out and interesting answers to my 11 usual questions. We hope to see a hometown show following the single’s release.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m originally from Columbia, SC. My family is still there. But, I’ve moved around a little bit since growing up there. I went to an arts high school in Greenville, SC for acting, which led me to SMU in Dallas for college and eventually New York City for about 10 years before the move to Nashville. Acting and directing was actually the thing that brought me to NYC. About halfway through my NYC days, I shifted my focus to songwriting with an aim to move to Nashville. Actually, a tarot reader told me I was going to move here. I followed her advice and it’s been working out so far. I moved here about three years ago, and it’s been a whirlwind, but I love this city and all the people I’ve met and all the growth it’s inspired in me personally and musically.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
So, the first record I owned I’m pretty sure was Paula Abdul. It was definitely a tape. It was either her, or Ace of Base, or Wilson Phillips. LOL, I can’t remember exactly. It all bleeds together. The first one I bought for myself was in CD form and was probably Alanis Morissette, The Cranberries, or Lisa Loeb. I was always drawn to female artists and what they had to say. It was always a dream of mine to follow suit. But, I was also very lucky to grow up with all kinds of amazing music around. My dad is a musician, and so all of the best stuff was playing all the time: Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Bob Dylan. I was exposed to it all. Recently, the last few records I’ve bought have been digital: Kacey Musgraves, Heather Morgan, Pistol Annies, Brandi Carlile. Some really amazing songwriting by all these ladies, and heart and authenticity. I’m so inspired by how they are making moves in the music world right now.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first “real” concert I went to was Paul McCartney. My parents brought me and left my other siblings at home (I’m the oldest of four, so this was a BIG deal). I was probably around 10, and I’ll never forget it. The energy in the arena, the power of the music and how it brought all those people together, it was electric, and there was so much joy radiating through everyone. You just felt like you were being transformed. It was pretty magical.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Kacey Musgraves will be added at some point I’m sure. Her writing is just so good. And she isn’t afraid of exposing her heart and vulnerability. She remains true to herself and doesn’t apologize for her individuality. I think that’s why she’s been skyrocketing lately. Her music is very authentic, and that is incredibly magnetizing.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I live on the South Side, so if I’m staying close to home, I’ll grab coffee at Sam and Zoe’s in Berry Hill. A far as pizza goes, DeSano’s in Midtown is pretty legit. Or Five Points Pizza if I’m on the East Side. Those garlic knots are the bomb! Although, these days I’m kinda staying away from processed foods and dairy, so I don’t get around to it too much. But, those would be my recommendations for sure.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Umm… yikes! This is quite an impossible question. There has just been so much that has been created out of this town. I really honestly can’t choose. I know that’s a total cop-out.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Dino’s for sure. I’m on the east side a lot. There have been many late-night burgers enjoyed at Dino’s these past few years.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
I have some really amazing friends and co-writers that I would love to have join me. If I had to choose, out of so many people I would love to be in a round with, I think it would have to be Nick Nace, Amy Gerhartz, and Sean Spollen. Nick and Amy are amazingly talented artists as well, and you should definitely check out their music. We all moved here around the same time and have pushed and supported each other. I would love to share the space with them. There’s also a lot of personality among us, so it would be quite entertaining, I’m sure.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
There is this great intimate spot on the East Side called Bowery Vault. The sound system was modeled off of one of my favorite venues in NYC, Rockwood Music Hall, so the sound is amazing, and it doubles as a vintage clothing store, so the vibe is super cool. For doing rounds, Belcourt Taps was kind of my home when I first moved here. It’s a great place to meet people and practice and test out new songs.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
I really feel like most people are here already, or if not totally, they are splitting their time between Nashville and LA or NYC. There has been such a mass exodus from those cities to Nashville. It’s so cool. There is such a creative spirit around this town, and I just love it!
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
I am not totally sure to be honest. I am at a stage of molding my sound as an artist and figuring out what is most authentic for me as far as what I want to say and sound like next. I am zeroing in on it, but I’m still playing with it at the same time. I plan to perform more and write more and record more. The recent stuff has had a little bit of a cosmic vibe to it, which I’m digging a lot. I’m a little “woo-woo” and bohemian. You can check out my Instagram to get what I mean by that. I think the next big project I do will continue in that vibe. For now, I’m just going with the flow and letting my authenticity guide me as best I can.