Project Mantra, fronted by our own Leigh Bursey, has had a busy year in 2016. They released their first music video, first album, had a single played on CBC Radio and went on tour. We sat down with Leigh to talk about their year and their plans for the year ahead.

SC – As we enter a new year and you look back at what Project Mantra has accomplished in 2016 what things are you taking with you into the new year and what would you do different?


LB – Our debut record “Fusion Manifesto” has been the centrepiece of this whole year. With a live, lo-fi feel that we sort of cultivated organically and intentionally, I think it helped capture something really honest and sincere. But if we were to do anything differently in 2017, I would say the focus will be on creating a follow up record that is more defined, lyrically focused, and more produced. I want to see this band appeal to a variety of audiences and the best way to do the material justice would be to show our supporters just how varied and diversified we can be.


2016 was amazing for us. We released our first music video. We had our single “Darkest Before The Dawn” played on CBC radio and we went on tour. We shared the stage with some notable characters and had a lot of fun on stage, creating characters and telling stories. I can’t see us wanting to alter that path anytime soon. The hope is to expand on it.


We are truly very lucky.


SC – I’ve heard you are in studio working on a new album, what can you tell us about it? Will it follow in the style of this years ‘Fusion Manifesto’ or will you be breaking some new ground?


LB – New ground all the way. We have been playing a lot of the material on 2016’s ‘Fusion Manifesto’ for years, and I think the band is eager to break new ground with a catalogue of songs that are still fresh and more honestly represent our development. Our next record is going to be darker, and more monologue driven. More conceptualized and more polished all at once. We are pushing ourselves as storytellers, activists and performers.


Right now, the working title is “Moonlight Over Vagabond” and listening to what we have recorded thus far, I feel like the title is apropos. There is a whole story within these songs that is very autobiographical. Once complete, I think this record will be a nice companion to ‘Fusion Manifesto,’ but we can guarantee you it will be different. And different is good right now.


SC – You’ve got a big show coming up in Ottawa in early January with a 4x Juno award winning Canadian artist. Tell us about the show, how you landed a slot in the lineup and how people can get tickets.


LB – Project Mantra is playing with Madchild, and we are ecstatic. For those that don’t know, Madchild became famous as one of the focal points for The Swollen Members, who were easily one of the most iconic Canadian hip hop acts in the last twenty years. Four Juno Awards, six MuchMusic Awards, a variety of Canadian Radio industry awards, sold out concerts, and television appearances, Madchild is a legitimate heavyweight, and we couldn’t be more excited.


The show is coming up quickly, happening on Thursday, January 12th at the Bourbon Room in downtown Ottawa, and is being hosted by the Diamond Mine Agency. Brandon and his team at Diamond Mine have been amazing to us, and I honestly can’t wait to see what comes next. We would love to see some friendly faces in the crowd so we encourage people to contact us through if they’d like to get advance tickets, or they can purchase tickets through


Madchild Ottawa poster

That’s not all we having coming up though. We are playing our first show of 2017 at The Bar in downtown Brockville starting at 10pm on Saturday, January 7th. The Bar is always a great time and we are excited to return there. And we are also playing at the Landmark Entertainment Showcase Festival at Maverick’s in Ottawa on Saturday, January 21st. We need as much support and as we can muster then too, because that show is definitely going to be huge. We have tickets for sale now.


SC – Talk a little bit about Recovery Records, the new label you launched in 2016 and the ‘Invisible No More’ charity project. What inspired it, who does it support and how can people get their hands on a copy?


LB – Recovery Records is my new pet project, and I look forward to expanding on that another time, but it isn’t directly tied to Project Mantra and I don’t want to split our focus up too much. What I can say is that this new label is part social enterprise and it was inspired both directly and indirectly by some of the talented artists and musicians in my life, including my incredible bandmates Audrey, Alex, Justin and Matt. I am planning a proper launch party for the label soon, and at it we will celebrate the label’s first release which is a charity compilation album.


Invisible No More

‘Invisible No More’ is a part fundraiser for Equal Voice Canada and part fundraiser for the Lived Experience Advisory Committee of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, with a portion of the remaining proceeds being used to create more copies of the compilation for distribution.


To tie it into Project Mantra, I would encourage people to pick up a copy today. The album features 14 original tracks by 13 original artists, including two songs by us. The first song on the album is actually a previously unreleased Project Mantra track called “Sink” and it’s really a very powerful song where Audrey’s storytelling takes centre stage for a change. If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, message the band through or head on over to the Recovery Records Canada Facebook or Twitter pages.
Cover photo by: ThirdEye Photography