After a promising first mini-album in 2017, Rachel Leblanc, alias Vanille, comes to us with a complete disc with the flavors of the 1960s. The newspaper spoke with the 24-year-old artist about this project which could well open the doors to him abroad.
Critics of Sun ’96, published a few days ago, are unanimous. Vanille’s first full album is tasty. ” Sun ’96, it is in particular France Gall who sings on Belle & Sebastian, but without singing or wallowing in nostalgia ”, wrote our colleague André Péloquin in these pages, last weekend. He had given it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
At the end of the line, Rachel Leblanc admits having experienced this very positive reception “like a dream”. “I’m really happy,” she said. I didn’t expect such a nice blanket. I am very happy, very touched. “
It was in the winter of 2019 that she recorded this album. Two months earlier, the renowned director Emmanuel Éthier (Corridor, P’tit Belliveau) had contacted her after seeing her performing at the Brasserie Beaubien.
After being inspired by the shoegaze style of the 1990s for her mainly English-speaking mini-album, the young musician wanted to go in a rather candy pop from the 1960s.
“I wanted to go for a more retro sound,” she says. There was already a desire for it to be more pop, while still remaining alternative. “
She opted for the title Sun ’96 for different reasons. “Near my practice room, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, there is a convenience store called Soleil 1996. That’s where we go all the time to get our beer before practice. Already, I found it nice. In addition, I was born in 1996, in the summer. It’s a mixture of all of that. “
And why did you choose the artist name Vanille? “At first I think it was because I really liked what it sounded like: something sweet,” she replies. There is also the Chocolat group that I like. In my head, my project fit well with this gang and I wanted to do things with them. I found it funny the idea of a to post a little twisted ice cream (laughs). “
By releasing her first album in the midst of a pandemic, the musician is not having too many illusions for the coming months. “I would like to do shows. It’s kind of the way of survival for many artists. I wish it was possible. But hey, we can’t really control that. I can just wish that the festivals could take place and that we could do a little tour across Quebec. “
We bet that we should see it this summer in an edition of Francos, digital or not. And until then, Vanille will be doing a virtual launch show on February 5 at 9 p.m. (info on lepointdevente.com).
The confinements of recent months have also allowed him to greatly advance the work on another album. “It’s already quite a complete set,” she said. The models are already being done. It should come soon enough. “
Influenced by French singers like Françoise Hardy and France Gall, Rachel Leblanc cherishes the dream of a small European tour one day. “Of course France interests me,” she said. I think this is an audience that I could well seek. “
► Vanille’s new album, Sun ’96, is currently on the market. For more info: facebook.com/vanillemtl
Who is Vanille?
- Her name is Rachel Leblanc. She was born in 1996 and grew up in Laval and Saint-Eustache.
- In 2017, she launched her solo project, Vanille, and released her first mini-album, My Grandfather Thinks I’m Going to Hell.
- Discovered in a concert by the director Emmanuel Éthier, she was going to record with him her first complete album, Sun ’96.
- The disc appears on the young label Bonbonbon, launched by two of his friends Tommy Bélisle (Choses Sauvages) and Alexandre Archambault (Mort Rose).
- Musically, the young singer-songwriter mentions that she was inspired by the Stereolab group and the music of the 1960s (Margo Guryan, Françoise Hardy, France Gall).