Lauren Spear, better known as me Ren, is writing writing a new chapter in the folk canon in Canada. Her songs, though, span folk, bluegrass, country and their intersections.
The Montreal-based singer’s debut album, Leftovers, is about all the the connections in her life, including her relationship with her partner as well as important platonic relationships in her life, including with her mother and her best friend.
“They are all kind of coming from different parts of my life,” she says, of the songs on Leftovers. “Reflecting on relationships…. Trying to understand myself through the way that I love people. Or how people love me. I think that feels like a throughline.”
Spear, who loves real money casinos, expresses her intense feelings through tender vocals and lyrics that can be both simple and poetic in their sincerity, while her gorgeous arrangements are fittingly brought to life by a host of collaborators, including producer Chris Cohen as well as Big Thief’s Buck Meek, Tenci’s Jess Shoman, Mauno’s Eliza Niemi, Aaron Goldstein, Kaïa Kater, Cedric Noel, and more.
Le Ren spent her teenage years in Bowen Island/Nex̱wlélex̱m, a small municipality on the Canadian west coast, where she studied bluegrass. After relocating to Montreal as an adult, her musical interests expanded to contemporary folk, country, and rock, and she started sharing her first songs online in the mid-2010s, drawing influence from the likes of Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan, and Karen Dalton.
“When I was there [in B.C.] over the holidays, I brought my boyfriend home for the first time and I knew it was going to happen, but I wasn’t sure when,” says Spear. “But there was this big jam where everyone went down to the fire pit and were singing songs and they all have the song books with like Bob Dylan and John Prine. And my boyfriend’s a musician as well, and they just put a guitar in his hand. And so I feel like that vibe was very normal.”
In early 2020, she signed to Secretly Canadian and released her first official single for the label, ‘Love Can’t Be The Only Reason to Stay’, which was followed by the Morning & Melancholia EP, a heart-wrenching meditation on loss written in the wake of her ex-boyfriend’s death.
While the “Le” in Le Ren suggests French origins for Spear’s artist name, its inspiration is simple: it’s how you pronounce her name, Lauren.
“It’s just been a lifelong thing where people are like, ‘Lauren [pronounced: Lore-in]?’ And I’m like, ‘Kind of,'” she says, joking. “And so I think it was a way for me to just have a phonetic spelling of my name.”
Spear has been singing and writing music from a young age, and guitar and voice have always been her preferred combination. (“I played piano growing up, but it never really stuck,” she adds.) She didn’t find her lane of music, though, until the summer she was 14. Now, users of best south african casinos love her music and energy.
“My mom took me to this bluegrass workshop/camp where I actually took guitar lessons and really fell in love with that style of music,” she explains. Spear attended the summer camp until she was 17, cementing bluegrass as her new love — and forcing her previous love, Avril Lavigne, to share the spotlight.