Throngs of excited girls and their mothers make up a mind-bogglingly long line in the atrium of a concert venue. Snaking on for what looks like miles, the line is buzzing with chatter about the show just prior. Flashbulbs erupt, screams echo. If you didn’t know better, you would think all this attention was for a Jonas Brother or some other teen pop sensation of the moment. Instead, nestled at the very front of the line sits a grinning Jesse Labelle, signing autographs and posing for pictures with his new found fans.
Fresh off his Canadian tour opening for Hannah Montana’s Emily Osment, Labelle admits that playing for such spectacular venues that holds an average of a thousand people spoils him a little.
“You have a sound guy doing all your sound instead of yourself running over to the side of the stage,” revealed Labelle.
Reaching a whole new demographic with this string of shows compared to his usual open mic coffee house audience, Labelle describes the striking contrast between the two crowds. He says of the younger fans, “They were really responsive. They make a lot more noise. There’s a lot more screaming and a lot of I love you’s and marriage proposals in mid song.” Labelle however, is far from letting this attention get to him.
Labelle’s tremendous talent could not stay unnoticed for long. He caught the eye of Dobson’s producers where the idea of a solo act was first introduced. Soon after, Labelle was signed to Wax Records. He says, “[Wax Records] wasn’t looking to create a massive hit and have it all explode at once. They approached me with the idea, signing me and having this be a career based project, which is what I’ve always wanted”. Labelle continues, “Some of my biggest influences are people that are still performing into their forties and fifties, even sixties. That’s what I really want to do.”
Only with his EP out, his debut single Perfect Accident is already making waves on MuchMusic.
“I caught myself on T.V. for the first time the other day and that takes some getting used to as well,” recalls Labelle. “It’s strange. It all seems so surreal.” Fans who can’t get enough won’t have to wait too long because his full length album is slated for an early April release.
While most of the songs on his album were recorded with a full band, Labelle was inspired to return to the studio to cut a few acoustic tracks after the overwhelming response he received on tour. He describes the album as “getting the best of both worlds.” He says that when fans come out to see a show, they get to hear the songs performed with a band and songs performed with just a guitar. He says, “I want the album to really reflect that.”
When asked about his own musical style, Labelle says that his brand of music is just “very honest pop rock.” He explains, “It’s very story based. None of the songs are made-up stories. It’s all something that really did happen, and that’s really important to me”. He calls this writing process, “spontaneous moments of inspiration”.
Not surprising when listening to Labelle’s songs, the passion and emotion that shines through. Labelle says of his writing process, “I’ll work very hard at it but the real gems, the ones that are the most special; you don’t know where it comes from. It hits you. It almost bleeds out of you. You almost feel ten pounds lighter because the song has just flown right through you out onto paper and into words”.
For 2010, Labelle’s philosophy is simple. He says that all he wants is to share his music with people that want to listen. “That’s all I really wanted to do this whole time.” If Jesse Labelle’s happy-go-lucky way of approaching the music industry and his love songs don’t melt your heart, surely his irresistible charm, not to mention his dimpled smile just might do the job.