Singer-songwriters Alaina Beach and Michelle Leblanc both have Greenville ties and live in Nashville, Tennessee. But each took a different path to her music career.
Beach, a full-time attorney, lived in Greenville for five years. While she had dabbled in songwriting in the past, it was here where she made music a significant part of her life by writing every day and playing open mics around town. While she moved to Nashville for work, she also knew it would be a good move for her music career.
Leblanc studied acting as a part of the inaugural class of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Leblanc, whose father is a singer-songwriter in Columbia, moved to New York to pursue acting, but started picking up her guitar more and more. When her friend told her she was going to a psychic, Leblanc tagged along. A tarot card reading predicted she would move to Nashville, and she did a few months later.
The two met in Nashville doing songwriter rounds, and now they’re both returning to Greenville for a mini-songwriter round Friday, Sept. 21 from noon until 2 p.m. at The Commerce Club as part of this year’s Euphoria Food, Wine and Music festival. They will play some of their songs and talk about their inspiration for writing them. In addition to music, Lunch & Listen: Noteworthy will feature food prepared by Commerce Club executive chef Steve Doliget and the husband-and-wife team of Steven Musolf and Teryi Youngblood Musolf.
Beach said being in Nashville has helped her songwriting.
“Greenville was so supportive when, honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Beach, whose first Nashville release was “This Is How You Get To 99,” a song based on her grandmother. “I try to write emotionally. I write very personal songs. Nashville songwriting groups listen and pick a song apart. They look at songs away from the emotion and look at what it will mean to somebody who wasn’t there and doesn’t know the back story.”
Leblanc said New York was a wonderful place to learn to write songs, but Nashville is a place where musicians work together to build each other’s careers.
“I have naturally found myself opposite the right people at the right time to take the next step,” she said.
Leblanc, who describes her music as alt-country Americana with some rock notes, released her debut EP, “A Man Like You,” in March.
LUNCH & LISTEN: NOTEWORTHY
WHERE The Commerce Club, 55 Beattie Place, 17th Floor
WHEN Friday, Sept. 21, noon until 2 p.m.