16-year-old rock-n-roller ready to be Ottawa Valley's next music star
PEMBROKE, ONT. -- On a quiet suburban street in Pembroke, Ont., you would never know 16-year-old Sierra Levesque was shaking the walls of her family basement every night playing music.
The Grade 11 student isn't like most her age. She spends most of her weekends playing gigs at bars and restaurants across the valley, and spends most of her weeknights after school writing songs, taking music lessons, or doing online college music courses.
"My short-term goal is to hopefully attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts to do a music business and song writing degree," says Levesque.
Lofty goal for a musician from the Ottawa Valley, but her dreams fly much higher than that.
"The main dream right now is to be a rock musician, record a few albums, go on tour," Levesque tells CTV News Ottawa, smiling ear to ear. "That's the big dream right now."
Oh, and she's into heavy metal and rock n' roll.
"Well, I grew up listening to heavy metal and classic rock with my dad," says the 16-year-old rocker. "Ever since I was little we use to listen to it on the way home; Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, a lot of the 80s as well."
"You know, she didn't have a choice at first because she was a baby," her father Stephane Levesque says. "But I always used to put the music on maybe louder than the usual parents would to hope that one day we wouldn't argue what music we'd put on and she'd agree with me."
Well, that strategy worked, with Stephane admitting his daughter can name more classic rock groups than he can at this point. The young Levesque says she grew up with Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry as musical influences; but it's Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart that have Levesque's heart, and who regularly smashes her cover of Crazy On You.
"A lot of the song choices are often questioned," Levesque says of audience members' remarks after her show. "People say, 'Wow I didn't know you knew that song'."
Back in 2019, Levesque recalls playing 98 shows across Ottawa and the valley. Her self-guided tour was cancelled in 2020, but so far this year the musician has chalked up roughly 35 live performances, and is hoping to reach 60 by the end of 2021. She even finds time to perform the national anthems at Ottawa Senators, Redblacks, 67s, and Pembroke Lumber Kings games.
Levesque says his daughter has everything needed to achieve her dream; talent, passion, and hard work. As a parent, Levesque knows chasing the rock star dream is a tough one. Like every parent, he has full belief.
"A lot of people do have talent, but we know Sierra works as hard if not harder than anybody to try to put those chances to her side, and we're very proud of her."
Levesque can be found across most social media platforms at @sierralevesquemusic