Interview – Curtis Labelle

Alberta’s own Curtis Labelle has released his new pedal-pumping single, “Run Run Away”.

The Sylvan Lake, AB-based rock pianist masterfully lives up to his handle with this blast of energy anthem that irresistibly dares listeners to join in as he soars through the hook-powered “Run run away! Run run away-ay!” chorus. That same ten-fingered, passionate engine that drove Elton John, Billy Joel, and Ben Folds up the keys into stardom is also propelling Labelle and this new, rhythmically infectious release is the vehicle that will have everyone riding along.

Harnessing collaborative energy into a killer song is what making music is all about for the Alberta-based singer/songwriter and showman.

“The energetic experience I get from creating a new song and developing it with a great team always brings me joy,” says Labelle. “I have never been more thrilled on my journey to the stars than I am being with the people that I work with.”

With Labelle taking the lead on songwriting, piano, and vocals, along with Logan Klaus on guitar, Matt Dubois on bass, and Nygel Lauzon on drums, “Run Run Away” was created together with JUNO nominated producer Mark Troyer at Calgary’s Evergreen Sound studios.

This is the lead single to lead six more singles this year with Greg Burkin from GB Music & Sound to have a “new take on classic, energetic piano rock” toward a full album release targeted for the fall of 2022.

While we’re on the topic of Curtis Labelle, let’s talk competitions. Starting June 1, 2021, Labelle is inviting other singer/songwriters across the country to submit their cover version of one of his previous singles for the Curtis Labelle Original Cover Contest. Chosen by an industry judges’ panel including artist manager and producer of Canada’s “The Shot” CJ Allen, the winner will be awarded $1000 cash, a merch package, an official release of their cover song via Labelle’s affiliated distribution partners, and a collaboration opportunity with Labelle’s upcoming album.

He may be a great marketing idea man but, Curtis Labelle is foremost a great music man.

“It’s the process that’s addictive and the gathering of art,” he explains. “I simply will not do anything else. Nothing else comes close to music.”

Check out “Run Run Away” below, and find out more about Curtis via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello everyone! My name is Curtis Labelle from Sylvan Lake AB, happily married to my amazing husband who is my biggest supporter and biggest critic.  I suppose that is part of the gig when you are a professional musician full time.  I run everything by him first, even before my manager or publicist.  I may be the captain of my ship when it comes to my music business, but he is the boss. We work well together.  As a Canadian Rock Pianist with nerve, talent, and charisma, I have had great opportunity to perform across western Canada sharing my music with all ages.  Touring with my band and grand piano in the summer of 2022 is one of the highlights we are looking forward to as we promote my first album coming out in the spring of 2022.  It’s going to be a serious experience with some tough decisions.  The best moments are when you’re told you can’t do that, or the answer is no. That is when you have the most power in you to accomplish it.  Find it deep within yourself and hold on to that energy.  Use it and you will be amazed at the results.  As for the tour, it’s a hard one to design. Our families will be staying home as we travel across the country playing in theatres, festivals, and the odd local bars.  It will include interviews with radio stations, newspapers, and local media placements.  Commitment will be key to the success of the tour and its experience.  Life is the best and our families support us.  I work hard putting in 12 hours or more each day designing my music career.  As an independent artist, I’m responsible for my outcome.  I’m booking shows, writing the music, holding rehearsals, creating content for social media, video editing, selling merchandise, websites, and most importantly connecting with my fans and supporters.  I love every min of it.  I am unstoppable.  I have the best team from publicity to management to my band and their families supporting our dreams and my journey in music.

Tell us about the recording process behind “Run Run Away”?

Run Run Away went through two recording sessions, mixed and mastered with JUNO Nominated producer Mark Troyer from Evergreen Sound Studios in Calgary Alberta.  Myself, Nygel Lauzon on drums and Matt Dubois on Bass Guitar recorded the bed tracks with Mark first.  It was a super fast and efficient experience.  I knew what I wanted for a sound and Mark was right on board with the development process for the final result.  Nygel finished tracking for the drums in a short 60 min session, with bass guitar right behind.  Matt overdubbed a few transitions for the design of the song.  Right after I tracked the new piano track.  The vocals were done on the same day with Mark guiding me on the harmonies and backup vocals.  A professional experience that created a trio of electrifying and energetic sound.  Covid arrived and all recording stopped.  Fast forward 6 months later, Logan Klaus arrived with his guitars, as we were now able to get in and track the guitar.  The final guitar used was a “Strat” by Marks choice as it was the best sound for the style of music.  We all agreed.  The guitar part was written carefully by myself and Logan to compliment the arrangement of the piano and vocals, allowing for the song to forge ahead with great success. A  “classic vintage” rock piano with a new sound was born.

What was the highlight of 2020?

I’m a strong believer in creating your outcome.  Sacrifice has been the best highlight for 2020.  Making music a business and making it the only focus I have has been the greatest experience.  I am achieving my results.  The dreams are a reality now because I make them happen.  I have the greatest support and band that anyone could ever ask for.  This has allowed for more dreams to be imagined and knowing I create the opportunities for them to come true.  2020 was a year of awareness and responsibility.  I am living it because I want it.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career in 2021? 

I am in the current stage of holding auditions for a new guitar player for our Canadian tour in the summer of 2022.  I have 5 singles to be released for the remaining months of 2021 including my first Christmas song “Sleeping Under the Christmas Tree” and my first album is in the process of being written for release in Spring of 2022.  I’m excited to create all of this in 2021.  Amongst all of these great projects, I look forward most to growing my fan base, keeping the connection alive and strong, more live streams as a pre-tour for the 2022 tour, and growing as an artist.  Perhaps even receiving an award, or nomination, or winning a contest would be a feather in my hat.  A real treat to add to the future of my music career and business.  The Universe is listening.  I am open to receiving.

Is there anyone out there you’d like to collaborate or open/close a concert with in the future? 

It goes without saying that I have been told I’m the Canadian Elton John or the next Billy Joel.  These are big compliments and big shoes to fill.  I’m looking to wear my own shoes, but If I have to opportunity to collaborate with either of these two great icons, it would be an experience for everyone, and not just me.  The result would be unlike anything else.  Working with Adele would be a crazy experience.  She is just fabulous and I’m sure we would have a swell time writing a hit.  Opening for Celine Dion or Lady gaga would be unreal.  An experience with the best memories ever.  I can imagine it happening.  Who knows, maybe it will possibly sooner than one thinks?  I’m living proof dreams can come true…if you want them and work for it.

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