Cegep Saint-Laurent grad Liz Labelle was «surprised» when her track was selected as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

A cegep Saint-Laurent grad is getting ready to make it big in the songwriting world after her song « Bombs Away » was selected as a finalist for the International Songwriting Competition.

One of 16 songs selected for the Pop/Top 40, Liz Labelle’s edgy pop track was inspired by her teenage experience. “In high school I was the weirdo, I was the band geek. Kids can be cruel, so it was just my way of saying ‘I’m not going to take anything from no one.’”

Labelle played drums in high school, and has self-taught guitar and piano.

Her in-your-face attitude is in line with the bands that led Labelle to start making music. A product of the pop punk craze, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter grew up with Avril Lavigne, Good Charlotte and Sum 41 among others.

Montreal pop-punkers, Simple Plan, were particularly influential. “Their story for some reason impacted me really strongly when I was in high school [when I decided to become a musician]. The passion and the hard work that they put behind their project and how much they believed in it . . . inspired me to start thinking about my career and if I could have a place in music.”

Music is the only career path Labelle sees for herself. “It just made sense. You think about it and you’re like, ‘do I want to do this seriously or do I want to do it recreationally,’ and nothing else really made sense to me.”

Originally from Anjou, the rocker has drawn a lot of support from Canadian music and the Montreal music community.

“We have this tight-knit community, everybody’s out here helping each other out. That whole dog-eat-dog world is not so true in this sense,” she said.

The tri-lingual Labelle, whose first language is Polish, sings primarily in English but also in French, something people can expect more of on her upcoming album. “I think it’s one of the prettiest languages out there. I like to use it and I like to show it off and proudly speak it,” she said.

Nashville bound
Labelle is currently working on a visa so she could make a permanent move to Nashville, a place the artist describes as a “songwriting city.”

“A lot of songwriters go out there just to be surrounded by their craft and all these great musicians,” said Labelle. She’ll also be working with a great team in Nashville that she looks up to.

Liz Labelle will have a follow-up album to her debut, Tanqueray Dreams (2014) out in the fall. To vote for her song, « Bombs Away » visit http://www.radioairplay.com/competition_votes/Pop+Top%2040 by April 15.

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