Leanne Hoffman marks her first Simcoe County gig in Orillia this month. It’s in honour of her debut album as a solo artist. What Remains will be released May 10 via Venue Records.

It also marks an emergence from a difficult five years where she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and overcame it with the support of her family and therapy. It was Erin Costelo, an award winning artist/producer and Hoffman’s former vocal teacher, who encouraged her to write the songs. Then Costelo also signed her as the first artist on her new label, Venue Records.

Originally from Exeter, Ontario, Hoffman currently lives in Halifax. She moved there eight years ago to study Marine Biology at Dalhousie but when she started writing more songs than studying, she switched to the Music Arts program at Nova Scotia Community College.

A bluesy folk-pop duo called Magnolia emerged out of it. Hoffman fronted it for several years. Magnolia also recorded self-titled EP, produced by Costelo, and toured it. In addition, she started singing in Costelo’s live band.

Her solo career came out of her mental illness, the breakup of a relationship and the end of Magnolia. She described the album as a compilation of thoughts and feelings over the five years leading up to it.

“Some feelings are easier to write about – gender equality, mental health, because it’s very prominent in my life and it’s easier to form thoughts about it,” she said of writing the songs.

She will be playing keys, joined by a friend on guitar, Friday, May 17 at The Brownstone, 178 Mississaga St. E., Orillia. Kim Harris will also be performing a set.

Photo credit: Carolina Andrade

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