Two years ago, Bowen Island-raised artist Le Ren received the heart-breaking news that her ex-boyfriend had died in a car crash. Le Ren, whose real name is Lauren Spear looked to music to heal her broken heart and the result is her debut EP, Morning & Melancholia. 

With the exception of the brutally honest “Love Can’t Be the Only Reason to Stay,” three of the EP’s four excellent songs are inspired by the tragic event, but all are tied together by the personal theme of grief. 

“I definitely use music to understand things and I reflect on them…it’s a self-soothing thing for me when I get something out of my body, sing it back to myself, and put it in perspective,” she explains from her current home of Montreal. “This EP did that.”

Listening to the EP, you can hear and feel the catharsis in these songs with the healing taking place as she breathily croons the words to “How To Begin To Say Goodbye.”

Lush and beautifully simple, this therapeutic aspect of her music is evident in these four songs, which are neither blatantly grief-stricken or joyful, but hopeful, reflective and restorative.

At only 26-years-old, Le Ren comes across as significantly more experienced and mature on this album, possibly the result of fostering her music career in the intimate, creative community of Bowen Island.

“It’s so small that everyone knows everyone so if you want to play a show, you can play any venue, choose any house and people will show up,” she recalls with a laugh. “Some of my best shows have been playing at the local Legion with my mom and dad. And it was always packed because everyone knows you and wants to support you. I’ll always be thankful for those times.”

Morning & Melancholia comes via Royal Mountain Records and Secretly Canadian and is available on all streaming platforms.