I recently caught up with the Argentinian singer songwriter here in Los Angeles building her career. One of the best things about being based in L.A. is that I can interview people like Michelle and others since we are in a hub of musicians from around the world.
Michelle is from From Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having been in Los Angeles for awhile now and working in the industry, she is pursuing her solo career as a singer and front woman in her own project based out of Pasadena, California.
During our interview - I realized that there was no stopping this woman from chasing her dream(s) of becoming a successful musician in Los Angeles and around the world.
Tell me about how you started playing music.
... "I started playing violin and piano when I was 6 at school. My family owned a piano that my mother had inherited from her father, but nobody played it. I grew up in Argentina - Buenos Aires - and the music in Argentina is really different. I went to a British school. They taught the Suzuki method there. I played in orchestra for 8 years (Violin, orchestra, concerts) and was always part of the choir."
My family has some musicians in it as well. My aunt is a jazz singer (Delfina Oliver) and she once sang with Lady Gaga in Japan.
What has the music journey been like for you?
..."So I was studying music production - at UCA in Argentina (Catholic school). I didn't really resonate with their way of teaching though. I realized back home it was much more about marketing than real talent. The entertainment business in Argentina is very aggressive and is flooded with people that are famous for scandals or reasons other than their talent."
After dealing with that for while I decided I was gonna go on a work and travel program. They [work and travel programs] were really popular at that time and I thought it could be a good idea to get out of my town for a bit to experience a new culture and buy some instruments not sold back home. For about three months I worked at a SKI Resort in Lake Tahoe and I managed to save some money. After that I proceeded to travel all over America.
When I returned home, I knew I did not fit in anymore. I had lived too much, and Argentina was offering too little in comparison to everything I could learn abroad. All my life I knew I needed to pursue music, but LA was offering a richer scene, being the music capital of the world. I couldn't go stay home to in Argentina. A strong feeling was telling me that if I wanted to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional singer I had to learn from the best, and all my favorite artists were based abroad. For me the only difficult choice was between LA and NY. I found out about LACM and fell in love in the school. I started studying in Los Angeles - eventually went on tour with “Y La Bamba”.
For those that don't know, what is LACM?
..."LACM means Los Angeles College of Music. It was an adventure to be honest. Of course there are things that I loved and other things that didn't quite fit my needs. I came from a place were people are very judgmental to Los Angeles were you can be who you really want to be. The performance aspect really helped me out too. At LACM you are always having some sort of performance, so it keeps your chops up and on your toes."
How old were you when you wrote your first song and what was it about?
..."Okay, the very first song I wrote when I was 6 or 7, about wanting to be a grown up so no one would bother me. If we are talking about real songs I wrote my first one here in California."
What are some new bands that you are gigging with that we should look out for?
..."Analisa Corral - Solo singer songwriter. Los Angeles
Stefan Crane - Singer songwriter. Los Angeles
Veliakalypso - Singer songwriter. Los Angeles "
What are the five things you can’t live without?
Time to myself
- Michelle Leclerq
What is you favorite song to belt out at the bar for karaoke?
..."Haha I'm terrible, I'll go for I Will Always Love you - Whitney Houston."
For our readers who have never heard your music, could you explain your sound in 4 words?:
..."Chill. Vibey. Mischievous. And really honest."
If I was to turn on your iPhone right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
..."Alicia Keys for sure. Then probably some Lauren Hill and Lianne La Havas."
If you could go open up for any artist on tour right now who would it be?
..."Oh man. Haha I would have to say James Bay. He is so hot."
Do you write all of your own songs?
..."I do. Some of my songs I preform currently are co - written as well."
Have you ever considered joining a band or have you always wanted to be solo?
..."I was in a band once, but I think right now this project I'm working on is a solo project with the most amazing band backing me! I love my guys."
Any exciting projects you're working on?
..."I'm working on the release of my first EP. Lots of live shows and a music video on the horizon."
How do people find or book you?
..."Most of my updates are on my Instagram (@michelle.leclercq). That's my main platform. I do have my Facebook page as well to check out that is constantly updated with my shows and new content. The best thing to do is usually click on my business email on my Instagram bio."
Any advice for people back home in Buenos Aries that are thinking about coming to CA or America to follow their dreams?:
..."Keep pushing, never ever forget who you are. It's easy to get lost in a variety of things out here in the industry. Always treat people with kindness and people will help you."
..."I would like to thank you Ben for interviewing and giving me this article. I'm very thankful to be here in California following my dreams!"
Written by Benjamin Jay