Like so many musicians and composers without shows and promotion filling up their time, Laurence-Anne spent much of 2020 in creative mode. Now she has an album to show for it, being released by Bonsound in April 2021.
You’d think that this record, the second LP by the Kamouraska-born, Montreal-based indie pop singer-songwriter, would be inspired by the darkness, isolation, anxiety and fatigue brought about by the pandemic, but that’s far from true. And for listeners looking for an escape from reality, that’s probably for the best.
“I wrote all the songs in a house I rented in a small town in Gaspesie,” Laurence-Anne explains. “The funny thing is that it was all written in the week before the crisis. Listening to the lyrics afterwards, some of the songs could be interpreted as being about that, the emotions of a song like ‘Tempête,’ but it was not meant to be.
“A lot of my songs talk about personal experiences, mostly about relationships — love songs,” she adds. “A lot of the songs start with ‘tu,’ so it’s usually a message. I sometimes have difficulty expressing myself to other people, so this is a way to speak to someone indirectly.”
The buzz around this 26-year-old artist has been growing since the release of her debut LP Première Apparition in 2018. It reached international levels after her show at the M for Montreal festival in 2019, which was followed by a wave of meetings with prominent labels . She and her band played M again last month, and despite the distanced streaming nature of the event, she says that the positive feedback from industry delegates who watched her set this year had the same impact on her as last year’s aftermath. The head of CBS in L.A., for example, says that Laurence-Anne’s Accident EP, released in August, is on his Top 10 list of the best releases of 2020.
As for whether the Accident EP’s tropical vibes and post-punk accents are indicative of what the as-yet untitled next album will sound like, Laurence-Anne says that the origins of the songs are pretty specific.
“I thought the EP would be like a path leading to the next album,” she says. “At first I actually thought these three songs would be part of the next album but we recorded them in January and then the pandemic happened and all cultural activity was delayed. It became clear that these songs would be a whole, just the three of them. And it made sense because the songs literally fit one into the other. It felt like it was complete. The album is going in another direction.”
Our first real preview of what Laurence-Anne has in store for us in 2021 is “Indigo,” a single to be released in January. (She also revealed that the album will be trilingual, with songs in both of Quebec’s official languages as well as Spanish, which she learned over a year spent in Mexico when she was 17.)
While no one knows what next year holds for live music, she would love to be able to play this new material with her band in front of an audience sometime in the next 365 days. She’s been performing music since she was seven years old, and from school talent shows to sweaty intimate gigs at places like Quai des Brumes, she’s loved every minute of being on stage — or in front of one for that matter.
“Last year, in 2019, I saw 200 shows! I was going to concerts three or four nights a week, and also a lot of festivals. It’s almost as if I knew I wouldn’t see any for a long time, so I went to as many as I could. It’s something that I really miss.” ■
For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.