When three strands of fiber are woven together in a braid, they form a thick rope that holds much stronger than the individual strands would on their own. While all three members of brand new Canadian supergroup Braided knew that they each had a shot at successful solo careers, Casey LeBlanc, Ashley Leitao and Amber Fleury also figured that three heads (or in this case, voices) can be better than one.
Casey, Ashley and Amber are already household names with the millions of Canadians who tuned into the record-breaking 2005 season of Canadian Idol. All three girls were voted into Idol’s Top 10, virtually guaranteeing them each a loyal fan base no matter which path they chose to take. Rather than jumping into the growing sea of Idol solo stars, the girls decided to make their mark by becoming the very first vocal trio to come out of any of the Idol franchises.
While the girls all come from different musical backgrounds (Casey, who hails from Nackawic, NB, grew up on jazz and blues; Ashley, who’s from Burnaby, BC, defines herself as a pop singer, and Calgarian Amber leans towards a country-infused sound), their sensibilities come together seamlessly as Braided. The group formed at the suggestion of Mark Lalama, a respected producer and musician who worked with the girls on Canadian Idol. Lalama brought all three singers to a studio in Ontario where he produced a series of songs for Braided’s debut album.
“Mark was with us at Idol and he recognized that our voices fit well together,” Casey says. “Personality-wise we are all really different, but we have traits that make us attractive to each other and made us gravitate toward each other. We are all very supportive of one another, and I think that's what will make this thing work.”
Braided’s first single, “A Little Bit Closer” perfectly illustrates the group’s versatility. A blend of gorgeous harmonies that build towards a blissful Motown-style chorus, the song is an example of Braided’s sincere and grown-up take on contemporary pop. Rather than capitalizing on the pure pop sound of some other Idol success stories, Braided’s sound relies on strong songwriting and a natural vocal delivery that will appeal to music fans of all generations. For fans who still want to hear what each girl can do on her own, the CD features two solo songs by each singer in addition to the group pieces, including a duet between Ashley and World Champion figure skater Elvis Stojko called “Before You”.
“I think that the Idol fans will be pleasantly surprised by this collaboration, because the album is very organic and home-grown,” Ashley says. “It stands apart from any other CD put out by other Idols. In each of the songs, our personalities shine through and are infused with the qualities that we most cherish in music, life, family and love. This is a ‘real’ record in that we can see this CD playing 40 or 50 years from now, and we'll still love and relate to each song the way we do today.”
Three rising stars, three voices, three distinct personalities woven together into one powerful musical force. Idol may have brought these three talents together, but they’re already proving that they can move far beyond the mold.