Justine Blanchet puts her heart into her work. In more ways than one. The Montreal country-pop singer just released her 10th single Heart Less, a girl-meets-bad-boy story of loving, losing, and knowing better. “This song is about recognizing that the classic bad boy you fell for is never going to change for you,” she says of the song, which was produced by Danick Dupelle and penned by MacKenzie Porter, Emily Weisband and Jordan Schmidt. “Instead of being a conventional heartbreak song, it puts forward a bold idea – listen to your heart less. Heart Less appealed to me because of this message, its play on words, and its overall vibe. Bringing to life what MacKenzie, Emily, and Jordan wrote was an honour.” While taking a break from working on her upcoming debut EP, the 21-year-old redhead took a spin through my dumb questions. If that doesn’t break her heart, nothing will:
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and any other details you’d care to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Hey! My name is Justine Blanchet. I was raised on the South Shore of Montreal but I currently split my time between Montreal and Nashville. I’m 21 years old but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that I have an “old soul.” I was homeschooled all my life and attended university when I was 17. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and marketing when I was 20. I’m 5 foot 2, which always surprises people when they meet me in person. They expect someone taller, oh well. The look on their faces is very funny.
What is your musical origin story?
I’ve been listening and dancing to country music as early as two years old. My family and I travelled to the United States a lot when I was younger and they have a lot of country music radio stations. I fell in love with the genre for its authenticity, messages, and grounded roots. I originally began performing in the opera genre when I was 12 years old but made the change to country at 15.
What’s your latest project?
Lately, I’ve been working on my debut EP! This project has been ongoing for about two years now. There’s a lot more coming before the EP release and I am very excited to present this long-time coming project. My newest song is Heart Less, which is the second release from the EP and my 10th single!
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
I think that every song needs a message. I strive to write authentically because I want people to relate to the songs and to feel heard. I am also very involved business-wise. As I said, I’m 21 years old but I self-manage my career and have been for the last 10 years. I always push for the best and know what I like.
How will my life improve by listening to your music?
My hopes are that you feel like my music is a breath of fresh air. I always push to write songs that are close to mainstream but have a hint of originality. Often times, that is conveyed through my choice of melodies.
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played.
The first song I wrote with lyrics was called Sing Like No One’s Watching. The song is about the process of writing a song, funny enough. I was inspired by a poster hanging on my wall at the time. I still have it as a reminder of where I came from.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you have given?
The best performance I’ve given was in 2021. The local theater had just re-opened after the initial COVID wave and I had the honour of the being the opening act. I gave a performance of 1 hour and 30 minutes with a costume change and a special guest.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen?
The best performance I’ve ever seen was a concert presented by students at a university in Nashville last fall. The concert was called Requiem for Color. It was about the history of African American people all the way back to the early 1800s. Along with powerful music pieces, the venue had a slideshow of powerful images that truly shocked and moved everybody in the room. We gave the performers a three-minute long standing ovation at the end.
What living or dead artists would you like to collaborate with?
I would have loved to collaborate with Elvis Presley. His humble beginnings, inspirations, and influence are remarkable.
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
I love smooth jazz, especially on a gloomy fall morning. Sipping my coffee in the morning and just listening to that kind of music puts me in a great mood.
What words do you hope people use when they describe you?
I hope to be known as a “person of the people,” meaning that I want people to remember me as someone who cares and helps people around her. Accomplishments are great but it means more to me to have an impact on the people around me than to have trophies.
What useful (or useless) skills do you have outside of music?
I am strangely good at guesstimating. On multiple occasions I have been able to guess the weight of an object correctly. I surprise myself a lot of the time.
Tell us a joke.
What’s the best thing about Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.
What do you collect?
I like to keep empty wine bottles that hold special memories. For example, my best friend and I drank rosé together while we caught each other up on the latest. We had some amazing conversations, so I kept the bottle and wrote the memory at the bottom. It sits on a shelf in my kitchen.
What are your pet peeves?
People that chew with their mouths open send chills down my spine.
What’s your motto?
Lately, I have been going through life with zero expectations. It may not be the healthiest of mindsets but I find that it saves from living with disappointment. I still have hopes and dreams, but living this way sets me up for more surprises if I don’t expect anything.
What’s always in your refrigerator?
Oat milk and almond milk. Specifically one of each. Oat milk goes in my coffee and almond milk is for my protein shakes. I’m sensitive to lactose, so I don’t keep cow’s milk in my fridge.
What was your favourite class in school and why?
History. I loved learning about stories and events that changed the course of history. I was never the best at remembering important dates but I still enjoyed learning about important people.
What was the worst job you ever had?
I used to work at a Santa’s village. I was in charge of keeping the children safe on the rides and different activities. The job was only open during the summer and during the winter season. The winter could get very cold and we worked outside so it was difficult to manage that. On top of the that, the work conditions were not very safe and my boss used to sweep those under the carpet. Since most employees were around 16, we were not aware of the safety regulations. It’s safe to say that I quit by the time I turned 17!
What’s the best and / or worst advice you were ever given?
I think the best advice I’ve ever gotten is that everybody is just faking their way through life. We are all trying to make it look like we’ve got it and can go through life confidently. I believe that most of the time, we are all just doing our best.
Check out Heart Less and her other videos above, listen to more from Justine Blanchet below, and open your heart to her at her website, Instagram and Facebook.