Linda McLean - Author • Songwriter • Teacher
Writing • Songwriting
I'm the author of The Importance of Being Important, an award winning songwriter, a mentor in the performing arts and a certified yoga teacher. I live and write in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
I've authored several manuscripts, including Dreaming Margaret Atwood, for which I received the 2016 Atlantic Writer’s Competition award in Creative Non-Fiction. That same year I was offered a place in the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program and worked on a historic novel, Island. In 2017 I attended the Humber School of Arts Writer's Workshop in Toronto and developed an early draft of The Importance of Being Important.
I still write songs and inspire other people write their own. Most recently I published a lyric writing instruction E-book called “Mining for Gold - Connect with Your Creativity and Write Meaningful Lyrics”. In my spare time I'm working on a murder mystery series called, Muriel's Murders, as well as several other unfinished manuscripts. I've compiled a selection of my poetry with song lyrics and created an E-book, "Poetry to Have Sex With" and will publish that TBA.
As a songwriter and recording and performing musician I've written and published more than fifty songs, produced four albums and toured worldwide in support of two internationally released CDs. My debut CD Betty’s Room was released throughout Europe on the Rounder/Europe label and my follow-up CD No Language was released across North America and Europe on the Bongo Beat label. Both of these albums garnered universal critical acclaim, as well as a songwriting award for the song “Mandolin”, a publishing contract for “Monday Song”, showcases, tours and media interviews around the world.
I lived in rural Ontario for many years and built a semi-professional recording studio beside my house so I could walk through my garden to work. This became a pre-recording and rehearsal space where we recorded overdubs for many of my songs. In 2010 I spent the spring recording my acoustic CD, Snow Mountain River, with the windows wide open.
"There's no place I'd rather be than lost and found in Linda McLean's evocative voice and words." -- Paula Boon, writer
"Linda McLean's writing has a light and artful touch."Dreaming Margaret Atwood" is filled with sensory images that bring the scenes to life, concrete details that establish setting and character so key to creative non-fiction and beautiful painterly metaphors that create a dreamy mood. Even the sentence structures have comforting wavelike rhythms. Above all the story is rich with subtleties, emotional resonance and thematic depth. It's a philosophical exploration with a hint of mystery and a satisfyingly practical twist that brings a very clear resolution at the end" -- WFNS Atlantic Writer's Competition 2016, Creative Non-Fiction Prize Jury's Introduction to Public Reading
“Already a renowned singer/songwriter, Linda McLean is now re-inventing herself as a writer of engaging books. Bravo!” — A. J. B. Johnston, historian and novelist
"Once in a great while, out of the blue, comes an indie masterpiece. Such is the case of Linda McLean. No Language is the Canadian’s second album and it contains the accessible folk- pop blend that garnered her a wide audience on her BETTY’S ROOM debut. This is a record full of impeccable songwriting, inventive musical arrangements and great, sensitive vocal work. One not to be missed." -- Alan Cackett, Ed, Maverick Magazine
“There's a "holy trinity" of great new Canadian singer/songwriter's....Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards and Linda McLean. The tunes on NO LANGUAGE are instantly catchy, even more so than the songs on her sensational debut BETTY'S ROOM." -- Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio
“Only a few albums reveal a different favorite track each time you listen to it. "Betty's Room" is one of those rare pearls. Whether Linda hails the moment she fell in love, drags us with her into the room of Betty Munsie or expresses her mixed feelings in raising a son, these are songs that have been lived. Linda is a singer/songwriter in the best tradition of fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell's 70's work, The only reason not to recommend this is that I like to treasure a couple of unknown masterpieces on my CD shelves. " -- Leo Blokhuis, Music Journalist, VARA, NPS
Teaching & Mentoring
I've been teaching creative and performing arts for more than three decades. I believe creativity is a vital part of what makes us human and the way to joy and self-love, and this is what's behind my passion to help other people find their way to creative self-fufillment.
While I was a professional actor I was also an acting coach and drama teacher. After ten years of studying music and songwriting, recording and touring I became founding faculty of the Independent Music Program at Seneca College in Toronto where I designed and taught the curriculum for courses in Songwriting and Artist Development, as well as Music Theory and Music Industry Overview. Now I'm writing and designing workshops to help access creative energy and utilize the inspiration in real time.
In 2001 I established an independent record label, Mandolin Records. I also created and hosted a monthly songwriter's circle, Muskoka Song Night, and turned it into a tour stop for Canadian artists as well as a mentorship program for youth in my rural Ontario community. A few years ago I co-founded a music festival and was the managing director of MUSKOKA SOUND MUSIC FESTIVAL a three-day live music event in Muskoka that featured over 20 performances from world-class Canadian headliners, and well as local and emerging break-through bands.
In 2011 I became a certified yoga practitioner and have integrated my extensive training in the Alexander technique into my yoga teaching. The result is classes built on deep body-mind awareness and balance. This embodied experiential learning is also what I bring into all my performance and writing workshops.
In 2012 I co-founded Women’s Music Weekend to support creativity, self-empowerment and community building for women through singing, songwriting and music sharing. I mentor creativity, teach performance techniques and improvisation, and offer a mind-blowing lyric writing exercise. I also lead yoga classes designed to enhance body-mind awareness and relieve stress. Women's Music Weekend is nothing less than magical.
"Linda McLean’s lyric writing workshop is deep, magical, and creatively inspiring! I love working with her." -- Jane Lewis, Singer/Songwriter, Co-founder Women’s Music Weekend
"Linda is a master singer-songwriter who knows exactly how to connect you with the raw, thrilling magic of creating songs. She can take any broken song and help you fix it or she can help you snatch a brand new song out of thin air. She draws on her theatre/yoga background to help you train in performance techniques and she is incredibly knowledgeable about self care for body and soul. Do yourself a favour and sign up for one of her workshops! " -- Stéphanie Nutting, Songwriter, Musician, Professor, College of Arts, University of Guelph
"Linda is one of those old souls with fresh curiosity. She is attentive, conscientious, playful, authentic and serious about her purpose in helping others. She has been there herself with creative challenges and so can offer compassionate patient guidance and tools & practices that really work. She is the real deal." -- Lisa Lipsett visual artist and teacher www.creativebynature.org
"Linda McLean is a world-class singer-songwriter. I’ve worked with her as a musician and record producer, recording and performing her songs. I’ve also worked with her as a colleague and faculty member in the Independent Music Production program in The School of Communication Arts at Seneca College where her personal warmth and nurturing personality, along with her extensive and in-depth knowledge of , accumulated over years of study and industry experience, made her an excellent teacher." -- John Switzer, Musician, Music Producer, Professor/Coordinator IMP Seneca College.