Canadian singer-songwriter and performer Lesley Young serves up a rich brew of contemporary folky-pop with a jazz twist. She melds these sounds and rhythms into a vision of passion and loveliness.
Born in Toronto, she now lives in Holland with her longtime partner/sideman/co-producer John McKay-Clements. Lesley Young’s music career spans over more than 30 years. She began playing at age sixteen. In the 1990's Young had a year of vocal training, and she studied guitar with two Berklee Music School grads. Lesley Young's playing evolved to an innovative use of open tunings. One of her mentors, jazz guitarist/composer James Pett, produced her debut folk-jazz album, Symphony for Two.
"Shines with inspiration...the music is rich in texture and tapestry... sultry and sparkling guitar...' Gary 17, to-nite magazine.
Young’s second album Inside, was produced by Lesley Young and executive producer John McKay-Clements. Inside, received quite favourable reviews. The title track was a finalist for the Song of the Year competition, a finalist in Songwriter's Universe competition and won 2nd place for the 100% Music Contest of France. Her ballad Jezebel was a finalist for The Great American Song Contest. Five songs from Inside were licensed with Freeplay Music in New York, N.Y. The lyrics for Lesley's touching ballad "Deschenes Avenue" and personal recollections of summers in the Woodroffe area of Ottawa at her grandmother's house, were published in a book, Canadian local history project, River, Road & Rail - Woodroffe North Bicentennial Memories - New Local History Book (2011). Lesley Young was booked for the legendary Bitter End Club songwriter’s showcase in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Songwriters who have inspired Lesley include Suzanne Vega, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, and Rickie Lee Jones.
"You know that feeling you get from biting into dark chocolate, being torn between guilt and unadulterated pleasure? That’s what this second release is all about by Toronto singer-songwriter Lesley Young." Eric Thom, Exclaim, Canada
"She is a master songwriter who is a craftsman with words. She delivers her messages through a voice somewhat reminiscent of Shawn Colvin - strong, beautiful, and distinctively feminine." Radio Indie, USA
Lesley and her longtime partner/music collaborator John McKay-Clements formed a duo in 2001. They've co-produced several music releases and performed in Canada, USA, Netherlands Germany, and UK. John brings rock elements into the musical collaboration, with his musical roots in folk-rock, garage, psychedelic and experimental music genres. Young’s career highlites include opening for top musicians such as; Don Ross (fingerstyle champion), Scottish rocker Kenny Maclean (Platinum Blonde), Grievous Angels (Juno nominated) and Mose Scarlette (Borealis Records). Lesley has performed in many Toronto festivals, such as Art Beat (Mariposa on the street), Cabbagetown Festival, Parkdale Then & Now Festival, Kensington Art & Music Festival, Mimico Festival, Nuit Blanche Festival, and Toronto's TD Jazz Festival. Internationally, the Lesley Young Duo performed at Vurige Tongen Festival (Fiery Tongues Poetry and Music Festival) of Holland. A host of popular stages in Toronto, Lesley played host of a songwriter's showcase stage at the annual Cabbagetown Community Arts and Music Festival for several years. When living in Scotland from 2013 to 2014, she was the host of three songwriter's events presented at 13th Note, in Glasgow.
”Refreshing to hear music of such originality and quality for a change.” WOUI (college radio), Chicago, USA
Lesley Young’s music and performances have captured the attention of bloggers, radio presenters and film/television producers in Canada and abroad. A live video performance at Toronto’s Lee's Palace by Lesley Young and her band Touchwood was frequently aired on Roger's cable tv. Danny Marks of BLUZ-FM on JAZZ FM 91.1, invited her to showcase at Jeff Healey's Roadhouse, Toronto. She performed with Jeff Healy's rhythm section and with Danny on lead guitar. Internationally, the Lesley Young Duo performed a live concert at OBA studio, which was aired on Amsterdam Radio 5 FM (2009). The Lesley Young Trio were invited to take part in Twosomes & Threeways series at Hotel Ocho and were included in the TD Jazz Festival (2012). This was a series presented by Toronto radio producer and host Sharron McLeod (Flow 93.5 and CKLN 88.1). Another song from Young’s Inside album, Wait Until Darkness Comes, was the soundtrack for a short documentary film Cruel and Curious Sea II, by British filmmaker Rhodri Davies.
"As well her acoustic guitar skills, her vocal and songwriting capabilities are first-class . . . " Henk te Veldhuis, Bridge Guitar Reviews, Netherlands
September 29th, 2018, Lesley Young and her longtime partner/sideman/co-producer John McKay-Clements, released their new single, Predictions. A cover of the song written by Suzanne Vega, Predictions was originally released on Vega’s album, Days of Open Hand. Lesley Young and John McKay-Clements recorded a collection of original songs during several years in Edinburgh. An EP is scheduled for release later this year. It includes their first writing collaboration on a musical composition, and features performances from a well known Scottish musician (more on that later!) Lesley's songwriting themes include passion and betrayal, psychological revelations, ecology, exotic animals, exotic tunings and lately completely unexpected twists are cropping up, so stay tuned . . .
“Young’s second disc shows the promise of good things to come and I can’t wait.” Eric Thom, Exclaim, Canada