Renée Martel’s daughter is currently preparing a record project that will pay tribute to her mother’s musical repertoire. In her own way, Laurence Lebel emphasizes the common passion that connected mother and daughter: music.
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Laurence Lebel has been navigating the music industry since an early age, having accompanied her mother Renée Martel behind the scenes throughout Quebec. But over the last ten years, Laurence has found her own path, working primarily with emerging artists in this industry. Today, this leads her to create a musical project that brings together her passion, her friends and the artists she admires, to pay tribute to the vast musical repertoire of her mother, who passed away on December 18th. “It’s a project I’ve had since my mother was with us. I spoke to him about it and said, “Can you imagine if I get all my aspiring friends together and we honor your catalogue?” She was so supportive and loved the next generation! My mother was eager to explore. When we discussed with each other, our exchange revolved around music. It was our gathering point,” Laurence tells us.
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A personal touch to his mother’s catalogue
Four years ago, Laurence Lebel turned to producers to make her project a reality, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. After her mother’s death, she contacted Productions Martin Leclerc, which Renée Martel had managed for fifteen years. The response was positive. “It was an automatic yes! In my opinion, Pilou was the best person to work on this project. I knew him from jam pop, at MusiquePlus, where artists came to use another artist’s track to adapt it to their own style. And that’s exactly what we want to do with this record: bring together a new generation, or at least artists who have never been on a project with my mother. We want to leave the beaten path. We offer them a catalog of 20 to 30 of my mother’s songs to draw on.
What are his expectations? “I expect to listen to this album and wonder what this song was originally about. I would say there is also a desire to remove the cliché and the country label from the catalogue. There are a growing number of emerging artists, including Alex Burger, who are committed to democratizing the style. So we’re going to go further and reach out to young people who grew up listening to the music of my mother and my grandfather. (Marcel Martell)but who gives it his own touch.”
Laurence Lebel received several offers of tribute albums after her mother’s departure. But she already had her idea in mind. “I didn’t want to take it lightly and bring together artists who have sung with her before. I wanted to risk that. I also wanted to tell a story. It’s my very personal way of highlighting his career.”
This album, which is due to be released in 2023, should also contain very important points for her: “It was important to me that it was the same, that is, 50% men and 50% women. From that percentage, I want to include emerging artists, but also other established ones,” she adds, confirming that the artists are excited about this project, including Pilou, who shed tears when Laurence asked to make the album. “He was moved by my request. For us it is a first professional success that has developed into a strong friendship.
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A silent mentor
The taste in music comes from his family. From his mother Renée Martel and grandfather Marcel Martel. “I’ve always been surrounded by artists and producers. When I was very young, I followed my mother and went to shows. It was like our everyday life. Even as a child I was interested in new bands. I listened to the radio and all the galaxy channels. I wanted to know everything. One thing led to another, I started working at HMV and couldn’t see myself in any other area.
Laurence started working in this environment in the early 2010s: “I have held many positions to learn how the sector works, but also because I was looking for myself as a professional. However, when I was 15, I went to my careers adviser and told him I wanted to work in a record label promoting French-language music. So I’ve always focused on promoting music of all styles as best I can.
When Laurence went her own way, her mother always served as her guide. “It was mostly like a silent mentor. While working in this environment, I happened to meet people she had worked with on a regular basis. There was an exchange of knowledge between these people and me, and between my mother and me. Whenever I had doubts, an “uncertainty” about the environment, I called her and she helped me to put things into perspective, to see things differently thanks to her experience.
A dose of love that feels good
Renée Martel’s death took Quebec and the singer’s fans by surprise. Expressions of love for the family poured in from all sides, and they received them with great affection. “It touched me very much and also helped me to overcome this shock. I was moved to see artists and politicians showing their love for my mother. That’s when I realized the magnitude of his career. In 2022, it’s rare to see artists with 70-year careers and audiences that are still renewing themselves.
Laurence Lebel has a very valuable memory of his mother: “I would tell you that at the moment his laughter comes to mind the most. These are the conversations we had on the phone, the somewhat naïve exchanges of words between a mother and her daughter. It was also his birthday in June; she would have been 75 years old. That’s what came to my mind too,” she tells us, touched.
Laurence Lebel is focused on several other music projects including managing Super Plage and Alexe Gaudreault. She is also the CEO of Artifice, a company dedicated to music and emerging artists.
► Laurence Lebel’s musical project will see the light of day in 2023.
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