Emotions were raw during this week’s episode of CTV’s THE LAUNCH, as Michelle Treacy’s version of the song “Emotional” wowed the mentors and “launched” a fresh stage of her career.
Treacy, a 22-year-old singer from Ottawa, took full advantage of the rare opportunity for a second chance in the music business, having previously been under contract with a record label. But Treacy said she felt as if the song “Emotional” had been written for her and about her, and that was a powerful combination for world-renowned music executive Scott Borchetta, Québec pop icon Marie-Mai, producer Nile Rodgers and celebrity mentor Bebe Rexha.
We spoke with Treacy about the “Emotional” roller-coaster of appearing on THE LAUNCH:
Q: You closed your eyes in the episode when you were waiting to find out if you were going to be picked, as if you couldn’t bear to look. What was going through your mind?
Michelle Treacy: “I had so much anxiety. Throughout the whole show, I had been really confident. I trusted in who I was, and what I did, but that was the one moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God, what if it’s not me?’ So I just said to myself, ‘Girl, close your eyes and take a deep breath.’ ”
Q: For the purposes of building up the tension on a TV show, they really drag out those moments, don’t they?
Michelle Treacy: “They leave pauses between everything, really long pauses! There’s this awkward silence, and everyone is thinking, ‘When is he (Scott Borchetta) going to say something?’ ”
Q: You had a record deal before this, so what was your path to deciding to try out for THE LAUNCH?
Michelle Treacy: “I had taken a year off music, got dropped from my label, kind of didn’t know who I was any more. I just wanted to be normal for a minute. I got a job at the mall. I also had a long-distance boyfriend, and when that ended, it all kind of crashed around me. I felt as if I had put everything into that. I actually went to the hospital for anxiety, because I didn’t know what to do. I had a week to kind of restart my life. The nurse said to me, ‘Be more selfish and go out and get exactly what you want.’ And I said, ‘Well, there’s this TV show that I’ve thought about auditioning for, and tomorrow is the last day to apply – so can I leave?’ And she said, ‘Okay, you can leave.’ The next day came, I remember being picked up, going home, putting my makeup on, driving to my guitar player’s house, recording the audition, filling out all the questions online, and hoping to God I made it before midnight. And I did!”
Q: When you were recording “Emotional”, there was an interesting development in the studio when Marie-Mai and Bebe Rexha came in, and you said that the whole vibe changed. It got me thinking, is the recording industry still really male-dominated in terms of producers, technicians and engineers, and is that something the music business maybe should think about?
Michelle Treacy: “We always need more females. The more females, the better it is. Just think about it: A lot of the songs you hear on the radio, with these women singing about their bodies and stuff, have been written by men. Hey, they tell a story and they make their money and it’s beautiful, but we need women to stand up and say what they want to say, wear what they want to wear, and be who they want to be. It’s important. When you put three women like that in a studio, it’s magic. We look into each other’s eyes and we just know, because we’re on the same wavelength. The majority of my sessions, for sure, have been just men in the studio. I’m not sexist, I want to work with the best of the best. But I really do wish more women would stand up. We could dominate the industry.”
Q: There was an interesting moment when Scott was debating which artist to choose, and he said, “I will always take the artist that is too much, because you can reel them back.”
Michelle Treacy: “Let me tell you, I’ve always been the wildcard. I wanted to come into this vulnerable. I wanted to show the world, this is why you can support me. Because think about it, I’ve already had it all, I’ve already had the deal, I’ve already had the songs, why choose me, right? Why give me another chance, I’ve already done it. But I wanted to come in and say, ‘Yeah, I did it, and I messed up.’ I was too young, I didn’t know what I was doing, I had too many people around me telling me who I should be, and it didn’t work for me. But now I’ve come back and I’m grounded and I’ve decided who I want to be, and I won’t compromise that for anyone. I wanted to show everyone that I am a good person, I can do this, and I deserve it as much as anyone else. I’m not a naive little girl any more. I want to be honest and I want to be an independent, strong lady.”
By Bill Harris | Special to The Lede