Maeve Lalonde, who goes by Méabh (pronounced Meave), is an singer and songwriter based out of Ottawa and is hoping to release her first EP by Christmas of this year. She is a person of many talents that include open mic host, indie music songwriter and composer, and stand up comic. She’s graced the small and big stages, entertaining crowds of all sizes. She’s performed at Tim Tierney’s Celebrate Summer Fair, opened for Grammy winner Leyla McCalla, Yarmouth’s Juno Nominees Rain Over St Ambrose, Make a Wish Foundation Fundraisers and Tysen’s Mission to a Million.
You can often catch her performing music at Live! On Elgin or practicing her comedic trade at Yuk Yuk’s. She also runs a weekly open mic every Sunday night at the Rainbow Bistro.
We got a chance to sit down with Méabh and chat about her passion for arts.
Apt613: How do you pronounce your Gaelic name Méabh, which also happens to be the name of your debut EP?
Méabh: It’s still Meave, I just chose to spell it in the Gaelic way. I’m Irish, actually my grandmother was born there. It’s been a part of my heritage my whole life. I even took Gaelic lessons when I was younger. I wanted to do something that was unique to me… and personal… yet still has a link to my heritage… and the name Méabh does both. It’s also a conversation starter, which I like.
Apt613: You are currently working on releasing your first EP, can you tell us about it?
Méabh: I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for the album: I’ve been recording, I’ve got photo shoots later on today… I’m trying to network and do more shows. It’s been a lot of fun.
Apt613: Are you doing a lot of the background work for the EP yourself?
Méabh: Yes, it’s mainly me… it is the first EP and I want to be hands on because it’s very personal to me, the songs are very personal to me. So I really wanted it to be something that I put my heart and soul into, that I put my own fingerprint on. I really wanted it to be a look at who I am and what I do. I figure doing all the work myself made the most sense.
Apt613: When did you first know you wanted to pursue a music career?
Méabh: Growing up I was always in church and school choirs. I never played an instrument really… I did play trumpet in band but nothing major in being conducive to being a musician with my style. After that I joined a program on mental health and addiction and got wrapped up in that for a few years and left music completely on the back burner.
But (music) has always been there… in the back of my head… that it was something I wanted to do. But the whole (argument) that it’s not a logical thing to do and that’s not a career, that’s a hobby, was always in the back of my mind. You know, plenty of people will tell you that. And I listened for the longest time and found that I was pretty miserable.
Then I had to undergo some unexpected surgery and had to be put on bed rest for a while. I had to leave my job. When that happened, I looked at my life and wondered if I wanted to go back to work. I wondered if I wanted to pursue music. I had been attending open mics, I had been watching friends perform. I realised this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to do this every single day so I didn’t go back to work and last year, I picked up a guitar for the first time and I taught myself how to play and I started to write songs, started booking shows and it all started to fall into place.
Apt613: You picked up a guitar for the first time just over a year ago?
Méabh: Yes, March (of last year) actually.
Apt613: Did you start to go to open mics?
Méabh: I got a job bartending at a place that’s not open anymore called the Lunenburg. They used to have an open mic there and I used to make sure I worked every night they held the open mic to be around it and I started getting to know the host and the host started letting me work the door at other events, like battle of the bands. I just started attending all these shows and started getting to know all these musicians and networking and building all these connections. So when I decided to work on my music, I had built all these connections within the music scene in Ottawa and it made my transition into music so much easier. I knew exactly who to talk to in order to get booked on shows and who to talk for mentoring. There was a lot of ground work that went into it which is why I think things have been able to move so quickly.
I just started attending all these shows and started getting to know all these musicians and networking and building all these connections.
Apt613: What are some of your first experiences performing on stage?
Méabh: It was actually a week after I picked up the guitar in March (of last year). I played my first ever original song at Live! on Elgin.
Apt613: What are some of the things that you’re doing for the release of your EP?
Méabh: Fund raising because it’s not cheap to print albums. I am working with a wonderful friend of mine in his studio… we have been working really hard on making it sound top quality. I’m actually really proud of what we have so far.
Apt613: Well, best of luck on your EP release and thank you for taking the time to talk to us
Méabh: Thank you too.
If you are interested in helping Meave get her album off the ground, please visit to her GoFundMe page.