This is Michelle Treacy and this is her story of resilience, embracing one’s true self and the embodiment of John Lennon’s famous quote “if it’s not ok, it’s not the end”.
Originally from Ottawa, where she has been making music ‘since the womb’ and identified early on that being an artist was her calling. There was no other choice. She was born that way. Unfortunately, being true to herself as an artist meant she spent most of her high school years being bullied.
Things started to turn around for her at age 17, after being invited to sing on stage with Lady Gaga for an impromptu duet during the ArtRave tour, and being promptly signed by Sony. She then moved to Toronto in 2014 and had a Billboard Hot 100 song in Canada with “Armageddon”. Michelle would often go to the Toronto Music garden and sit under the willow trees to write songs. She had another song, ‘Colours’ and then just as quickly as early success had come, she found herself dropped by Sony and shortly afterwards, also dropped by her manager.
After a devastating break up with a boyfriend, she moved back to Ottawa, where she checked herself into a hospital to deal with her mental health. It was at this hospital where she met a nurse who told her “Fuck everyone else! And to use this time to restart her life and go get what she wants.” Along with the nurse’s advice, she had been listening to the “And the writer is…” podcast and Bebe Rexha was the guest. During the interview Rexha, quoted John Lennon – “In the end it’s going to be ok, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end”. Both of these thoughts swirled through her head and kept her going.
And it’s a good thing they did. She ended up winning the 2nd season of “The Launch” in 2019, where, coincidentally, Rexha became her mentor. Being able to thank Bebe personally for helping get through that rough patch was momentous. Michelle also had the incredible opportunity to record the song “Emotional” with Nile Rodgers.
However, Michelle had been told her ‘personality was bigger than her music.’ This stuck in her head as she continued to find her sound and voice as an artist. It was a friendship with music producer Young Spielburg who helped shift her direction. He kept encouraging exploration in a surf rock sound, which was completely opposite to the moody, darker Lana Del Rey sound she had been exploring.
She came back to Toronto in August 2020, and through the pandemic, she found herself working harder than ever on becoming the artist she wanted to be. It changed her outlook, her ambitions, her goals and ultimately, her life. Writing every day and recording in her closet, she had “maximum creative freedom and minimal agenda.” She also realized she was just tired of feeling sad. She wanted to dance and make others dance and feel free. She wanted to write bangers like Miley Cyrus. When she wasn’t writing and creating, she was often being given flowers by strangers on the streets of Toronto, a city she feels she belongs in now, as she can let her “freak flag fly”.
Halfway through the process, she was recording a song called “It ain’t over”, which didn’t make the final EP, but it was the moment she started to realize the artist she wanted to be and felt most authentic to herself. Expect the song to be released some time in the future.
The end result was a new EP that feels the most like her – “High Heels in the Moshpit”, which was released on September 9th. Self-described as Tame Impala meets Austin Powers. Tracks like “It Feels So Good To Be Back” and “Love Every Minute” highlight Treacy’s spunky care-free lyrics that remind us to not overthink things and enjoy the present moment for what it is. On High Heels in the Moshpit, Treacy’s voice is seamlessly set to slightly left-of-center melodies infused in a variety of genres from punk to new wave–culminating in a delightful concoction for music fans of all genres.”
In addition to being an artist, Michelle has also been giving back to the industry by mentoring up and coming female artists – teaching them singing, songwriting and artist development (and ultimately confidence). She does this by invite only and has created her own community of students, helping each other out, sharing each other’s music and lifting each other up. This has given Michelle a renewed sense of purpose and meaning and opened the door to managing some of these artists.
You can find out more about Michelle at: