Telling Our Stories: INSPIRE

Catherine MacLellan, Singer / Songwriter

Not many people can truly say their childhood daydreams have turned into their adult reality. But luckily for her fans the world over, Catherine MacLellan is one of those people.

The daughter of famed songwriter, Gene MacLellan, she started songwriting at a very young age and always envisioned herself playing music on stage. Their house was constantly filled with music, after all. And for Catherine, practice really did eventually make perfect.

When she started out in the industry, Catherine was a new artist with a new baby girl, who decided to pursue her dream career: “Do I want to show her someone who waited 10 years to do what I love to do or do I want to show her someone who is willing to fight for it and be a good mother at the same time?”

And along with the right talent and passion, making it in the music industry takes a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit. Catherine says the business side is what allows the music side to continue. On any given day, she’s meeting with her new manager, planning tours with her booking agent, writing grant applications, submitting for showcase opportunities, writing music, recording music, and/or practicing with her band.

But her hard work and business sense are paying off. Over the last 10 years, Catherine MacLellan has extensively toured both nationally and internationally, and her music is a perennial favourite on roots and folk charts. This past August, she released her fifth full-length album, the Juno and East Coast Music Award nominated Raven’s Sun.

Catherine credits a big part of her success as a musician and being a single mother to daughter Isabel to smart planning. At the start of her career, she sat down with her then-manager, Lloyd Doyle, and they came up with a five year plan. Within three years, they had accomplished everything on their plan.

Writing down the goals and committing them to paper was an important first step, and is a process she uses to this day. The release of her latest record is her first release since deciding to leave her record label, True North Records. Doing a record without a label has been a scary and exciting time, but Catherine says she’s also happy to make it on her own terms.

“It is possible to have a viable career without someone else telling you what to do.” 

“My wish for the world is that people are able to follow what they love and do what they want instead of feeling like they are being forced to do what they don’t want to do.”

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