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Dylan LeBlanc is engaging and soft-spoken in person, yet his striking new album, Renegade, reflects the power of his live show—one that he simply describes as “rock ’n’ roll.” While the album was recorded in just ten days and tracked in three, the intensity of the project marks the culmination of more than a decade on the road.
“I like the idea of a renegade—branching off from society or from the structure of the way our world is designed,” he says of Renegade, his first album for ATO Records. “It felt right to call it that. I wanted to write about the crueler, nasty aspects of the world and life.”
LeBlanc’s observations are woven through Renegade, though he’s more interested in telling the story than judging the characters for their decisions. The title track, he says, is “about troubled, cocky young men charming young women who were intrigued by that way of life, only for it to end in tragedy. I saw this countless times growing up.” Later, he writes about his personal efforts to become a stronger person in “Born Again,” after a childhood of being bullied for his long hair, and an adolescence marked by insecurity, fear, and anger.
If you mixed Elton John’s melodies with Randy Newman’s wit-filled lyrics and Chris Martin’s silky vocals, then put them on a baseball diamond, you’d get Kieran Rhodes.
Currently a sophomore at Berklee College of Music, Rhodes was on track to play serious college baseball when he discovered a love for music in high school. He taught himself piano and began writing songs in his late teenage years. To date, the curious, empathetic, and playful alt singer-songwriter has released five singles and an EP, On the Corner of Somewhere Street. His single “What Got Into You” attracted over 30,000 streams and earned him an honorable mention in the 2021 American Songwriter Contest.
Rhodes is influenced by greats such as Billy Joel, Randy Newman, and James Taylor. Most recently known for his viral audition on season 17 of America’s Got Talent, Rhodes won the hearts of millions around the world with his original “Disengage,” which chronicles a struggle with depression. With over 15 million views, the audition was praised by many, including Billboard, Goldderby, and Simon Cowell himself.