There’s a new rising star launching into the orbit of inevitable pop culture infamy. With a pen, guitar, piano and a massive TikTok following in tow, Jade LeMac, 18, is the newest singer-songwriter you should know. The queer half-Asian vocalist says she grew up in Vancouver, surrounded by a loving family that provided her with the space to be herself and create while finding her voice. And having just signed to Arista Records, she is ready to take centre stage with her debut EP, Constellations, which dropped Feb. 10.
“I grew up in a household, where my cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents lived downstairs. All the cousins were one year apart, so we would form bands when we were younger and sing karaoke when we had family over,” says LeMac.
LeMac always knew she wanted to be a singer. Any chance she got, she’d perform. Growing up, her mom owned a store, and Jade would sing out front, thinking the performance would bring in more customers. At school, she’d spend her passing periods in the hallway and at lunchtime singing. With a dream of performing and the support of her friends and family, she’d also enter school talent shows to hone her skills.
“I’ve never not taken [music] seriously. Ever since I was younger, I was like, ‘I’m going to be a singer.’ There’s no other option,” says LeMac.
Piano and guitar melodies are the base ingredients for a genuine Jade LeMac song. She began teaching herself how to play piano in the sixth grade, and then guitar the following year by watching YouTube tutorials on basic chords. From there, she’d create melodies and write songs. “That’s all I needed to start writing [music],” LeMac tells Xtra.
At 14, LeMac hit the EDM scene, lending her voice to various dance singles for electronic label Monstercat, and started to attract a following on Instagram. “I had some songs on Spotify and Apple Music, at that time, in middle school. That was when I realized that this could work. And ever since, I’ve been trying my hardest,” she says. The hard work continued by building a following across more social platforms, including TikTok, where she now has more than 1.2 million followers. This experience creating EDM music also shaped LeMac’s views around genre and not being defined by one type of music. “I never want to be stuck in one genre. Whatever I’m feeling, whatever fits the song best, is what [it] will be,” she says.
Her official debut,Constellations, is a seven-track emotive alt-pop EP full of high- and low-tempo songs that touch on love, self-exploration and varied emotions. The EP also pays homage to the eponymous song that started it all. “Without that song, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s the first song I released, [it’s] my baby. It means the world to me,” says LeMac.
LeMac’s debut single, “Constellations,” began as a chorus she wrote at 15 and didn’t complete until she was 16. The song is about intimacy and the butterflies a romantic partner gives you when together. “I’ve always loved the sky, so I thought of constellations and a way to tie that into a song. Then I was thinking about the freckles on [someone’s] body, being super intimate with that person,” LeMac says.
LeMac says she has always been open about her sexuality as she learns more about herself and navigates her queer identity. Although she used to be conscious about using certain pronouns in her songs about relationships, she’s become more comfortable keeping it fluid. Her journey of queer identity is most evident with the heartbreaker anthem “Aimed to Kill.” The track blends heavy metal and pop to tell a story of two exes (a guy and a girl) whom LeMac hurt, as depicted in a dark, suspenseful way in the music video.
“‘Aimed to Kill’ is a metaphor for being a heartbreaker [despite] wanting to be vulnerable with a person, but just not being able to because of your own struggles and habits you have,” says LeMac.
“Meet You in Hell” is an edgy alt-rock pop fusion track born in LeMac’s imagination. The title was the first thing she thought of when she came up with a story about revenge. It’s a beautiful take on not taking the high road.
“I thought about revenge and giving somebody a taste of their own medicine. So, I wrote from there and came up with a badass song,” LeMac tells Xtra.
The EP’s intro track, “Car Accident,” is one of the few songs on the Constellations not derived from LeMac’s life. The singer uses a car crash as a literal and metaphorical example of a relationship ending due to infidelity. Upbeat bells and chimes lead in LeMac’s vocals, providing the start to a whimsical journey into formally introducing her to the world.
“I challenged myself to try and show both perspectives. And that’s why the perspective changes to the cheater in the relationship in [the second] verse and chorus,” LeMac says.
At the EP’s midpoint, “Same Place” is a personal favourite of mine as it fully captures Jade LeMac’s vocal capability. There’s breath control and a sureness in each note as she professes her love to her then-girlfriend.
“I’m better at writing songs than speaking. I wrote [“Same Place”] [when] I was in a relationship with this girl I loved very much. She was a huge part of my life, and I wanted to show my appreciation,” says LeMac of the love song.
“There’s People Watching” is another track on Constellations that stems from LeMac’s imagination and the experience of someone close to her who was in a closeted relationship. As the song’s title states, it’s about being conscious about people clocking the relationship in public and being cautious not to be found out. There’s a juxtaposition as the track’s production is more cheerful and upbeat than the lyrics. LeMac beautifully captures this dynamic of being in a situation that’s not healthy, but longing to be with someone you love deeply in the chorus:
Hiding doesn’t mean going away
And going away doesn’t mean forever
Impossible to leave ’cause you’re stuck in my veins
Is it worth all the pain just to be together?
To close out Constellations, “Let Me” slows things down a bit, leaving listeners with the core strengths and appeal of LeMac: her vocal and writing ability. The song’s message is one of resilience and battling depression, but letting in folks who want to help and to be a shoulder to lean on. LeMac reassuringly sings in the chorus:
If you’re drowning, I will save you
I’ll give you my air
Just let me
Just let me
If you’re falling, I will catch you
One call, I’ll be there
Just let me
Just let me.
Jade LeMac’s star is rising with the potential to be as big as talents like Brandi Carlile, Tori Kelly and Billie Eilish. Constellations is the perfect introduction to this young singer-songwriter whose creations feel authentic and not bound by trend or genre. She’s willing to do the work and to grow as an artist, which is clear on this EP.
LeMac is grounded by a support system and social media fan base that’s translated to over 590K monthly Spotify listeners. “I am so grateful for all the supporters and fans who have stuck with me, because I wouldn’t be here without them,” she says. Her childhood dream of being a professional singer is finally coming to fruition, and she can use her craft to help listeners who can’t find the words for their own struggles.
“I want [listeners] to be able to interpret [Constellations] to their own lives, hopefully. I’ve always [said] that if I had a platform, I would use it for good and be that person if [people] need someone,” says LeMac.