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Léonie Gray wants to start a conversation

by Olivia Piche February 18, 2020
Léonie Gray wants to start a conversation

A look at the singer-songwriter’s growing career as a mental health activist and feminist

On Jan. 31, Montreal singer-songwriter Léonie Gray took the stage at L’Escalier. Its stage is one she knows well, having played there monthly for the past three years.

Through her empowering presence, Gray made it clear that she is a natural performer and a seasoned vocalist. She managed to capture the audience’s attention with her impressive jazz runs and soulful belts as she created a space for them to have fun. Gray told a story with the emotions she portrayed through her music and, with an intimate venue, managed to connect with her audience.

With music founded on themes like mental health, feminism and self-growth, Gray opens a door for conversation.

“I love when people come and see me after a show and instead of being like ‘I like your music,’ they’re going to talk about themselves, like the songs they relate to and the things that happened to them, and now it’s a whole conversation between two people, not just someone going to go see an artist to say it was good,” said Gray.

With a hard-hitting EP on its way, Gray doesn’t beat around the bush. “I’m addressing the topics and that’s it,” she said. “There are no love songs. It’s really about mental health, feminism. That’s pretty much it.”

Gray performed some songs from her upcoming EP and said it is the project she is most proud of. Gray continuously puts work into her music and has been seeing significant growth in her career. One of her biggest accomplishments is her three performances at this past summer’s Montreal Jazz Festival. She described the experience as amazing, and it was only the beginning of her busy festival season.

Having recently signed with a new management team, taking on a new process with her latest EP, and pushing through challenges that arose this past year, it seems as though nothing is stopping Gray.

Sensitive, her latest EP, is different than anything she has done before. The completely self-made project was one that took time. The process started with no direction in mind. There was no theme and no goal, but Gray sat at her piano, wrote the first song, “Needed,” and it guided her through the rest of it.

“For me, it wasn’t a project I wanted to do something with after the release, it was more like ‘this is who I am, this is a part of me, have a listen and I’ll see you for the next one,’” said Gray.

Gray authentically communicates her experiences and relationships through her art and creates a human connection to which her audience can relate. She hopes her listeners will feel her music the way she does with other artists.

I want people to relate,” she said. “I’ve been listening to the same two albums for the last fifteen years, and I still feel the same way every single time. I really hope some people are going to discover my music and still feel the same way in fifteen years listening to those songs.”

Gray keeps true to her feminist beliefs and advocacy for mental health as she persistently continues to grow with her career. “I just want everyone to know my name,” she said.

With music that stays true to her authentic self and a hard-hitting EP coming soon, Léonie Gray is a name to know.

Photo by Anne Sophie Coiteux

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