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Songwriter found personal power in writing solo material

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/4/2016 (1373 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Twenty years is a long time to pursue any passion. It’s only logical that, at one point, a decision has to be made whether to continue on or not.

That was the tough question Winnipeg singer-songwriter Renée Lamoureux — best known as half of Western Canadian Music Award-winning duo Keith and Renée — faced as she was about to begin work on her newest album, Dare to Be You, the release of which will be marked with a show at the West End Cultural Centre Saturday, April 23.

"I kind of came to a crossroads in my life. This was going to be the eighth album that I put out, including all the Keith and Renée stuff, and so as I was writing the album I was kind of asking myself, ‘What’s the purpose to put out another album?’" she says. "These songs of empowerment and believing in yourself, I just started writing about that... it wasn’t really intentional but it was kind of inspiring me and so I just continued going with that."

Mackenzie Jean Photo</p><p>Winnipeg singer-songwriter Renée Lamoureux</p></p>

Mackenzie Jean Photo

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Renée Lamoureux

Lamoureux penned 40 tracks before paring it down to the 11 upbeat, optimistic songs that make up the final product. Though this is only her second solo record, she has released three times that number with her musical partner Keith Macpherson. The switch to working alone was a positive one for Lamoureux, who has taken the opportunity to embrace her individual voice as an artist, both musically and visually.

"When you’re a solo artist coming from a duo, it’s a totally different feel all around, so it’s cool to have more of that control," she says of the album production and her new passion, making music videos, such as the one she created for the first single, I’m a Fighter.

Looking back at her two decades’ worth of work, Lamoureux is proud of everything she’s done but says she can clearly see how her writing has changed for the better over the years, thanks to both the opportunities afforded to her during her time with Keith and Renée, and the input from other artists in the different co-writing situations she has engaged in. 

"With every album just comes growth; you become a better songwriter," she says. "With the Keith and Renée stuff, we got to co-write with different people and our experiences out in Nashville really gave me a whole new concept of songwriting... I really enjoy co-writing with other people, too; it brings a whole different dynamic and it practices the idea of not being so attached to an idea."

Though she did co-write a few of the tracks for Dare to Be You — mostly with the producer of the album, Murray Pulver — many of the songs were penned by Lamoureux alone, something she says she hasn’t done since the earlier days of her career.

"Those were the songs that were more personal to me," she says. "It is really therapeutic — my release for whatever I’m going through is to put it down on paper.

"I am the happiest when I’m singing and songwriting."


Twitter: @NireRabel


Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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