Winnipeg’s Indie Folk/Popper Sheena Legrand Gives Herself The “Green Light” To Change

What’s in a name? To indie-folk/pop songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sheena Legrand, the answer is “Just enough to make you change it when the time has come to hit the gas.” For her return to recording activity after a 10-year hiatus, the former Sheena Grobb has taken on a whole new moniker to better reflect the direction of her life – and the updated musical approach previewed on her new single, the hauntingly beautiful “Green Light.” Check it out on YouTube here:

In her husky, sultry semi-whisper, Legrand gives voice to the prayers of anyone who’s ever wished that life would stop throwing up roadblocks—only to realize they were the one in the driver’s seat after all.

Give me one green light

Come on let’s go

Turn turn for me

Train left long ago

What if it’s only sight we’ve been looking for

Green brings out your eyes when you realize

It’s time to let go

“When I wrote “Green Light” with Winnipeg producer Jonny Kirouac, I was pleading for some force outside myself to change my situation,” Legrand says. “However, as happens with most of my music, when I look back on what I wrote and what I was dealing with, I understand how the first green light had to come from within me.

“‘Green Light’ gives us permission to let go of old stories so we can be open to a fresh start.”

In Legrand’s case, that meant carving out a new identity to better reflect her standing in an industry that almost requires women to stay eternally youthful. After releasing three albums under the “Sheena Grobb” banner, the Manitoba-born, Winnipeg-based artist had put a pin in her career to raise a family. After a while, she found herself wondering if she still had a place in music at all. But she reached into herself and realized she was under no obligation to conform to anyone else’s stereotypes.

Listen on Spotify here:

Instead, she set out to reaffirm the talents she had been honing since beginning to sing consistently at age 4, and which had made her a past nominee in the Western Canadian Music Awards. Some professional coaching helped her take the quality of her vocals to a new level, and with the help of producer/co-instrumentalist Kirouac, she upgraded the tenor of her music in toto.

Her forthcoming album, the appropriately named Back to Life, will show how she’s managed to retain the strengths of her earlier work—sweet melodic hooks, intricate keys and delicately layered vocals—while superimposing an electrifying live loop experience that will be sure to get bodies moving when she starts to play shows again.

At the same time, she’s continuing her side work as a public speaker who uses music, storytelling and mindfulness tools to help schoolchildren deal with mental-health struggles, bullying and issues of low self-esteem. She’s also a part-time health coach who specializes in helping patients survive autoimmune disease (which she herself has faced). The treatment regimen she advocates includes diet and lifestyle changes, plus emotional work and spiritual practices that stimulate healing from within.

The “from within” angle is big to Legrand right now: It’s the focus of “Green Light,” certainly, but also of a general attitudinal shift that sprang from bringing something quite special out of herself and into the world.

“I gave birth naturally in our living room, and I’ve never felt more powerful in my life,” she says. “That moment was a portal within my own personal growth. I will never be the same.”

No wonder she’s chosen to re-emerge under the surname of her chosen family:

“Joining my partner and son as a ‘Legrand’ felt right personally, but it also worked for where I was at professionally. I’m feeling the change, and it’s good!”

Now she’s looking forward to taking that attitude back to the stage whenever and wherever possible. 

“When it comes to dreaming big, I’d say the sky is the limit. There’s been a shift in my availability, but travelling as a family is something we’re very much open to, so all of a sudden, the possibilities seem endless again. I love the spot I’m in!”