Leslie Hudson

A powerhouse at the mic, Leslie Hudson can cut through a crowd of sound with a caress. With eight solo albums under her belt (and one more on the way for 2016) her songs span more than 25 years of writing every genre from rock to geek to faerie and demonstrate not only her versatility as a musician but her refusal to be contained.

“I like to be unexpected. If you’ve never heard me before, you wouldn’t know how I sound by how I look. You wouldn’t expect this girl at the piano to start playing Metallica riffs or belting out Alanis, but I do. I can give you a taste of every redhead from Tori Amos to Jessica Rabbit.”

Currently based in the Toronto area Leslie plays local venues and events, travels abroad to festivals and conventions and will be touring in the States next summer. Her latest mainstream album Into The Mirror (June 2015) is a collection of rocking piano anthems about turning a new page with grit, fire and soul.

“I perform as many different personas that shift with the gigs I play. At a geek convention you’re going to hear songs about science fiction franchises and cartoons from the 80s sung by a quirky redhead with Poison Ivy hair. But you’re going to have a different experience when I put on faerie wings to sing about ancient Irish goddesses or when I’m rocking out about lust and betrayal in a bar.”

With a background in Celtic culture and a lifelong interest in folklore, Leslie’s songs are rooted in the art of storytelling. Whether those tales are inspired by modern media, pop culture, ancient myths or twisted retellings of childhood fairytales, every song she writes tells a story.

“I started writing the Wanderlings several years ago. They’re songs based on female characters in folklore and mythology. I want to paint the full spectrum in sound of women in story: all our glories, our shortcomings, our reactions to failure and loss, our emotional range. The project’s about depth and honesty. Modern heroines are often perfectly rounded, unrealistic caricatures, but there’s more to feminine than pink and more to strength than fight.”

The Wanderlings are being released in four seasonally-themed volumes (52 tracks overall). Volume One (winter) debuted April 2015, Volume Two (autumn) was released January 2016.  Volumes 3 & 4 are forthcoming.

Leslie’s geek band Copy Red Leader retired in August, but her geekiness did not. She has two new geek albums for 2016: The Redhead League (April) inspired by nine female comic book redheads, and Yeoman on the Bridge (November) a tribute to the entire Star Trek universe.

“Yes, I’m prolific. I wasn’t always this way, but these days the songs keep coming and I need to keep sharing them. If I can make you laugh, break your hearts or bring you to the boiling point I’ve succeeded. It’s my Bardic calling and my privilege; it’s my life.”

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  • Song. Story. Strength.

    If there’s one thing I love it’s a good story, and the best stories always involve a journey. My favourite songs do the same thing: follow a path. Whether that journey engulfs a month or only inhabits a moment, it transforms the one who travels as much as it changes those of us along for the ride.

    There’s an art to storytelling. It’s a gift I cherish in myself and others like me, since well-told tales are like old friends. I’m drawn back to them over and over again, until I know every word, until every scene is vividly painted across the landscape of my imagination, familiar and sweet and ragged edged.

    Oral cultures pass on their knowledge of the universe as only they see it, through the lens of metaphor, parable, myth. They have hidden their truths in plain sight, and so do I. More often than not I become the unwilling heroine, obscured by the light, revealed in the shadows. I am the traveller who will not rest, and my songs will not shield me from the truth. They teach me to embrace it.

    My songs tell the stories of loss and love, of ghosts and gardens, of faith and fate, of the wise and the wild. The piano transports me to many places, the harp to others, and the guitar is a new friend. The human voice is an instrument without equal in its pure potential. My exploration of its boundaries has barely begun.

    So welcome to the world as I see it. Everything I’ve been, all that I’ve learned, each epiphany, my myriad facets, here they are in abundance, without apology.

    Let me take you on a journey. Bring a large stick, watch your footing through the bogs, and always trust a trickster. For I am a trickster, and these are my songs. Venture forward at your own risk.

  • Influences

    Tori Amos
    Jann Arden
    Alanis Morissette
    Loreena McKennitt
    Sarah McLachlan
    Florence & The Machine
    Ani DiFranco
    Kate Miller-Heidke
    SJ Tucker
    Karine Polwart

    Ben Folds
    Mike Doughty
    Ben Gibbard
    Glen Hansard
    Jeff Martin
    Third Eye Blind
    Jonathan Coulton
    Weird Al Yankovic
    Tenacious D