Don't Be Heartless: An Interview with Justine Blanchet

by - March 28, 2023

Photo courtesy of Emma Lee Photography

When Justine Blanchet first made her way to Nashville, she knew she had found her people.

She found it quite easy to run into and find support from other Canadian transplants, including her producer, Danick Dupelle. The Grammy-nominated lead guitarist of Emerson Drive works with a number of artists in the Nashville area, and is the producer of Blanchet’s latest single, “Heart Less”.

Dupelle encourages artists newer to the songwriter community to release music written by established songwriters while they continue to hone in on their own writing capabilities. This is how Blanchet came across “Heart Less”, written by Canadian country star MacKenzie Porter, Grammy winner Emily Weisband and Grammy nominee Jordan Schmidt. A playlist of around 10 songs was presented to Blanchet, and “Heart Less” really stood out.

“It’s very much how I would write songs,” she said. “The play on words in the song with ‘heart less’ and listening to your heart less but not being heartless… it really hooked me. I had to record this song.”

Blanchet understood the importance of finding a song similar to her own methods of songwriting. If she didn’t feel attached to the lyrics, it would surely be noticeable.

“The problem with picking songs that you don’t feel like are yours is that it very much shows in the performance and in the studio; the emotion isn’t there,” she said.

Blanchet said that Dupelle usually prefers to record in batches of three, but choosing two other songs was a tough decision. She knew she had to bring in a trusted, valued opinion in order to choose, so she sent the playlist to her mom.

Separately, the two women took notes on each song. When it came time to bring their ideas together, Blanchet was surprised that her mom had “Heart Less” at the bottom of her list. Despite the disagreement, Blanchet saw the potential of the song and kept it as her first choice.

Most of the original demo was kept in the final production. One of her favorite details of the original was the aggressiveness in the voice that assisted in getting the message across, and she is satisfied with how her voice was able to duplicate that on the final version.

The accompanying music video was shot in Nashville with the treatment written by Blanchet. She wanted to portray two characters - the head and the heart - with distinctive qualities that looked and felt a certain way. Her navy blue shimmery blazer represents the head: the one that makes rational decisions. Her pastel pink tulle dress represents the heart: the one that is more expressive and vulnerable.

“For me, the lasting mantra of ‘Heart Less’ is to choose confidence and clarity over crying if things aren’t going your way romantically. Don’t be heartless, just use your heart less. Your stubborn heart won’t always realize when someone is wrong for you. The strength that comes from recognizing when it’s time to walk away will leave you feeling good about better things to come.”

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