Edward Burnett chats to Canadian singer Michelle Treacy about her new song 'Time Off From A Letdown', her future career plans and the time she sang live with Lady Gaga.
RNRR: Hi Michelle! How are you doing? Would you mind describing what genre you perform for those of our readers unlucky enough not to have heard your songs?
MT: Hi Ed! I’m doing great. Most people know me as a pop artist but I’ve just recently released a new song called ‘Time Off From a Letdown’ that leans more psychedelic rock.
RNRR: Brilliant! You’ve teased us there with that new song of yours and we will definitely come back to that later on. However I’d like to first go back to the very beginning and ask you what your earliest musical memory was? What albums did your parents play to you as a kid which have stuck with you all these years?
MT: My earliest music memory is dancing and singing around in my underwear at 3 years old to ‘Oops I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears. My brother brought me up on Avril Lavigne, Madonna, Spice Girls, Paula Abdul, Amy Winehouse and Kyle Minogue. The list goes on.
RNRR: Some great picks there for sure. So what made you want to follow a career in professional music? Was there a tipping point when you decided that was what you were going to do and nothing else would suffice?
MT: I’ve just always known. There was no moment or point per say. I just had a gut instinct that this is what I wanted to do ever since I was a baby.
RNRR: That brings us round to the present nicely and of course we have to talk about that new single of yours that you mentioned! So what was the thinking behind ‘Time Off From a Letdown’, what do the lyrics mean to you?
MT: Thematically, the song represents the feeling of letting everyone down; however, the reality being that you are only letting yourself down by putting others first. It is about refocusing on yourself, as I have spent the last couple of years doing just that after going through such a dark time in my life. The cinematic video is a beautiful representation of this created by an all-female team. It is a piece of art in it's purest form, and I hope you take something from it.
RNRR: Was the process of creating this song lengthy in comparison to your previous singles or do you find that no matter the song, they all take roughly the same amount of time and care?
MT: There’s no set time or care per song. It’s all different. I care about each song I write. But the process is always different.
RNRR: With the pandemic, we’ve sorely missed live music of all kinds. What have you missed more, attending live gigs or performing your own?
MT: I don’t miss one more than the other. I miss live shows so much. I miss getting sweaty and screaming lyrics. I miss the ringing in my ears after a loud show. I miss people. I miss it all.
RNRR: While on the theme of live performances, you famously sang ‘Born This Way’ alongside Lady Gaga back in 2014. What does an experience like this do for a young musical artist? What was it like getting close with Lady Gaga?
MT: This experience changed my life and launched my career. After this I got signed and released Armageddon which landed on Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks. It was an absolute dream. Gaga is great. She is incredibly kind to me anytime I meet her. I’m grateful.
RNRR: For those that don’t know, you’re from Ottawa, Canada. What’s the best thing about Ottawa? Do you find your living environment affects your music in any way?
MT: I love Ottawa because it has a small town feel. I love the river and the bike path. I love the whole vibe of the city. It’s just so chill. This environment is great to make music in. It’s so laid back. Most people who do music live in Toronto tho which is why I’ve moved.
RNRR: What do you like to do outside of making and performing music? Do you have any interesting hobbies?
MT: I like eating food, teaching music and cleaning. Haha so boring!
RNRR: Where do you see yourself in two years time, post-Covid, as a musical artist? What do you hope to have achieved by then?
MT: I’m hoping to get signed to a label that really fights for me and loves who I am. I hope to have new music out and start touring. Who knows though with covid.
RNRR: Finally, here at Rock N Roll Reports we ask the same most important question at the end of each Spotlight interview as I’m sure you’re fully aware. The old famous desert island question. One album, for the rest of your days on said island, what are you picking and why?
MT: CTRL SZA. It’s my favourite album of all time. Good for any mood and always pulls me out of the worst places. I still can’t believe it’s a real album. What a gift.
RNRR: A brilliant choice there as it does suit any mood as you say. It’s been a pleasure Michelle and we’ll be sure to update the page with any news from your front.
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