HOW Emma Lamontagne
STUMBLED ONTO SUCCESS
BY MANUS HOPKINS
Emma Lamontagne describes herself as a pop-folk singersongwriter who tends to add standup comedy into her stage routine . The Kingston , ON-born , Ottawa-based artist places high value on being candid in all aspects of her expression , artistic and personal . Because her work often involves heavy subject matter , she uses humour as a way to break the tension with audiences .
“ That ’ s been my performing style , to have a lot of stage banter ,” Lamontagne explains to Canadian Musician . “ Even if I ’ m going to perform a super heartbreaking song , my goal is to make the audience feel a little lighthearted . I think everything that I write and at least try to do all ties into how I want my performances to go in the future , if that makes sense .”
Lamontagne was fortunate enough for her parents to put her in music lessons when she was very young . Since neither of her parents had the chance to have music in their lives growing up , they wanted to make sure she and her brother had had that opportunity . When Lamontagne was 15 , she met a vocal teacher who looked at some of her poetry and encouraged her to start writing songs .
“ Thanks to her , I did ,” Lamontagne says . “ The following year , when I was 16 , I ended up winning the She ’ s The One [ Canada ] competition at [ Ottawa ] Bluesfest .”
Lamontagne went onto do a few writing trips through Festival House Inc . and Cadence Music Group . She says she was thrown into the cowriting world , and her collaborations led to the release of her calling card single , “ I Don ’ t Sleep .”
“ When my song came out , it ended up getting picked up on CBC and I think it might be at half a million streams now ,” she says . “ So , it ’ s been pretty reaffirming to me that I ’ m on the right path .”
Lamontagne admits it can be tough to accept how successful she has become already at such a young age . The singer-songwriter is only 23 and was still in high school when her first hit song broke .
“ I had all these students coming up to me , people I ’ ve never spoken to , I ’ ve only seen , and everybody was sharing the song online ,” she says . “ And they would come and ask me about it . It was definitely weird because I was quiet . I ’ m a very quiet person . I don ’ t approach people very often , so to be approached was a very big change in terms of my social life . I don ’ t think I ’ m dealing with it any better now , though .”
40 CANADIAN MUSICIAN