“Guitar was harder than I thought, but things clicked once I learned Sweet Child O’ Mine… my teacher thought I’d want to learn Taylor Swift!” With help from Bumblefoot and Tracii Guns, Sierra Levesque, 18, stakes a claim as the future of rock ’n’ roll

Sierra Levesque
(Image credit: Rose Bennett)

At 18 years old, Ontario, Canada guitarist Sierra Levesque has studied under Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, shared the stage with Tracii Guns, and she recently dropped her debut single, Get Off My Stage

Her Instagram profile confidently describes her as “The new generation of rock ’n’ roll” and a “singer, songwriter, and more.” The “more” is intriguing – she’s clearly onto something, given that she’s racked up just over 34,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 25,000 on TikTok.

Levesque has come a long way, but it had to start somewhere. “It was musical theater at around age three,” she says. “Growing up, I loved Guns N’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath – but a lot of that got put aside for theater.

“When I was about 12, I got a white Epiphone Flying V from my parents as a gift. That sparked lessons, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with guitar. It was harder than I thought, but things clicked once I learned Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine. My teacher was surprised because he thought I’d want to learn Taylor Swift!”

From there, Levesque crept closer and closer to making a reality of music as a career. Along the way, she collected a hell of a lot of guitars, ranging from Epiphones to LTDs – many of which can be seen across the videos posted on her socials.

“I do have a few guitars! I’m grateful for all of them,” he says. “I think I’ve got about 20 – I asked for a new one for every Christmas and birthday, and then I started buying my own, too. It became an issue, so I’ve stopped now; I have a lot to choose from, and deciding which one I’d like to use, depending on the song I’m working on, is fun.”

With myriad tools at her disposal, and a newfound affection for Fender Mustang amps, Levesque set out to hone her craft via lessons from Thal, who she says is not only a mentor but a friend.

“When I started lessons at 12 I had a local teacher, who unfortunately was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2020. I knew I had to find someone else because I wanted to keep learning, and I’d met Bumblefoot at a clinic in Ottawa. He eventually followed me on Instagram.

“It was so cool because I loved Guns N’ Roses’s Chinese Democracy [which Bumblefoot played on]. I eventually thought, ‘Let me reach out to him and see if he’d consider teaching me.’ Thankfully, he agreed – and three years later, I’m still working with him.”

She’s also managed to catch a few – albeit on-the-fly – lessons from L.A. Guns’ Les Paul-slinger Tracii Guns. Levesque recalls that as “an amazing experience” which she’d never expected.

“I got to open for L.A. Guns in April 2023 at the Whisky a Go Go, which was amazing as I’ve always loved their song The Ballad of Jayne. I covered it on Instagram, Tracii noticed it, and asked me to come play with them!

Sierra Levesque

(Image credit: Rose Bennett)

“We had a little practice session before the show, and Tracii just said, ‘Watch me and we’ll be all good. If anything happens, look back at me.’ So that was the plan! Luckily it went well – he talked me through whatever needed to happen on the fly.”

Levesque has taken her experiences to heart, combining them with her inherent talent and love for rock music – and now she’s beginning to craft her own music. To date she’s released an original track, Get Off My Stage, and a cover of Chuck Berry’s Run Rudolph Run.

She reports she has “20 songs in the can and so much more on the way for 2024.” To that end, she beams, “All my music begins with a riff, which can come while sitting on my bed with an acoustic or maybe a melody that pops into my head. Lyrics come after that.”

As for her solos, she explains: “They’re pretty well thought-out now, but I’m working on being more off-the-cuff. I’m analytical and I work hard to ensure all the notes fit – almost like I’m singing them.”

As motivated as she is talented, there’s an argument that she makes it look easy; but a quick look behind the scenes tells a different story. “My vibrato is a struggle, and has been for a few years,” she admits. “It’s easy to get into a space – especially because I do covers – where you’re copying someone’s vibrato. I don’t want to do that.

“I’ve been working hard with Bumblefoot to capture my sound, and I’ll keep doing that. I want people to know it’s Sierra Levesque when they hear me – not think of someone else.”

I’ve been working hard with Bumblefoot to capture my sound… I want people to know it’s Sierra Levesque when they hear me

Asked about her plans for the songs she’s written, she says: “I’ve got another single planned for February 2, called Wrong About You. After that, I plan to release my EP later in the year. There will be more covers, too.”

Levesque adds that the upcoming single is a departure from Get Off My Stage. “It has a bit more piano and some acoustic bass. I want to show people I’m well-rounded – and keeping it under wraps has been hard!

“It’s not going to be fast-paced heavy rock, but I’ll be back to that soon. It’s all a process of seeing what works, posting new things and learning. As long as I keep doing it, progressing, and staying motivated, I would say the possibilities are endless in building my audience and making new connections.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.