Roch Voisine

Born : 26/3 /1963 in Edmunston (Canada)
Country : Canada
Language : French / English
Category : Composer / Male Artist / Songwriter
Style of music : Chanson

Made a star at the beginning of the 1990's with the song "Helene", Roch Voisine inherited the whole assortment-not always the most comfortable bits, of a singer with charm, even idol of teenage girls... with his "face of love" and his romantic-rock repertoire the Canadian has nevertheless gone beyond this devestating hit song to settle in a career that holds its course.

Made a star at the beginning of the 1990's with the song "Helene", Roch Voisine inherited the whole assortment-not always the most comfortable bits, of a singer with charm, even idol of teenage girls... with his "face of love" and his romantic-rock repertoire the Canadian has nevertheless gone beyond this devestating hit song to settle in a career that holds its course.

Roch Voisine was born on March 26th, 1963 in Edmunston New Brunswick, the small province southeast of Quebec. He was raised along with his brother Marc(born in '65) and his sister Janice (66) by his parents Real and Zelanda who were both English teachers. But family life was shattered in 1968 by his parents' divorce. The children were split up and Roch went to live with his grandparents. It would take him years to get in touch with his mother again.

Sport

In a country where hockey rules, the young Roch put on skates at a very early age. Not only did he become a quite gifted hockey player, but the sport would play an important role in his life. Unfortunately, at 17, he injured his knee in a fall. This accident led him straight into music because he spent his convalesence writing and strumming his guitar. Besides music, Roch enrolled at the University of Ottawa in Natural medicine. He stayed for two years but without much passion.

Music got the upper hand. With his friends he recorded some compositions just for fun, without professional aims. However, Paul Vincent, the uncle of one of his friends and famous Quebecois disc jockey, thought that Roch had a good voice and solid talent as a composer. He decided to become Roch's agent.

This was how in 1986 Roch released a first 33, forgotten today, "Sweet Songs". He also gave his first concert in front of 50,000 people during Canada's national holiday in June. A second 33 "Roch Voisine" was released the following year. The young singer knew some success, partly due to the television show "Top Jeunesse" which he successfully hosted on Quebecois television. He also appeared in the very popular series dedicated ...to hockey, "Lance et Compte".

Hélène

So it wasn't exactly an nobody whose career suddenly took off in 1989. Written with his friend Stephane Lescard, the song "Hélène" became a phenomenal success unheard of until now. The album of the same name which took some songs from his previous record including Hélène became triple platinum (3 million copies sold) in record time. Roch Voisine became a mega superstar overnight. His first tour of Quebec "Un soir pour vous connaître" gathered 135,000 fans and travelled across 50 towns. Roch mania, already in place in Quebec, arrived in France in September 1990 with 80,000 spectators (mostly girls) in the 14 cities toured. Three hot nights at the Zenith in Paris confirmed that the Roch phenomenon was shaking up the little world of international pop music.

During the 1990 ADISQ gala in Montreal (awards for Quebecois music) Roch ran away with four statuettes: Revelation of '90, best singer, best song, and best album. It was a professional tidal wave for the young man who got into the music business by chance.

Naturally, a second album "Double" quickly followed in the autumn of '90. It was a CD that combined French and English recordings. It sold 1 million copies very quickly. In France, Roch won the Victoires de la Musique award for Best Album of the year.

Little Devil

Following the success of "Hélène", other single CDs invaded the charts: "Là-bas dans l'ombre", "La Berceuse du petit diable", "Darlin'", "Pourtant". A second tour confirmed the success that marked the first. In Europe, Roch did 38 concerts, two of which were in the immense Parisian venue Bercy. More concerts were added at the Zenith in Paris where the 3800 seats barely held all of his fans. As for Quebec it was the documentary made during this latest European tour that exploded the television ratings.

During this period, Roch spent most of his time on the road. The tour dates multiplied and public demand remained. The third European tour increased to 60 dates, 4 of which were at Paris-Bercy. The climax of the tour was when Roch sang at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on April 17th, 1992 in front of 75,000 people! Now a huge star in France, the Canadian was given the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres. This honored decoration is awarded by the French government to artists, French or otherwise, who have a large cultural influence.

Shortly after this third European tour, Roch returned to Canada and Quebec where his success got even bigger. On July 1st, 1992 he was invited to sing during the festivities for Canada's 125th anniversary. This was how he found himself in front of the Queen of England and he wrote "I'll always be there" for the occasion.

Legend

In 1992, Roch appeared in an American TV show "Armen and Bullik" with Mike Connors (Mannix), but without much success. On the other hand, his double album "Europe Tour" came out and was another a smash hit. The songs released as singles, "La Légende Oochigeas", "Avec tes yeux pretty face", "la Promesse" or "L'Idole" summed up Roch Voisine's position at that moment.

A true star in France, his success earned him the right to his own wax statue at the Musee Grevin in 1993, the number one place for wax figures and a must for every popular star. Each country has its own way to use a star's popularity because in North America, Roch was hired to sing the Canadian and American Hockey league's National Anthem during the 1993 Championships. Finally on December 23rd, we found him at the Vatican where he took part in the annual Christmas concert.

In Autumn of '93 he released an album entirely in English "I'll always be there", which had already sold more than a million copies less than a year after its release. Canada awarded him the Juno (the record industry award) for Best Canadian singer of the year. In the spring he toured a month in Europe and then across Canada a few months later.

But his success wasn't the same. Roch mania was fading a bit. His album "Coup de tête" released in September '94 was a flop. Roch didn't seem able to seduce as much as at the beginning of the '90's. However, his three dates at Paris-Bercy in January '95 still gathered a number of loyal fans. He travelled around Europe for several weeks then regained Quebec and the USA for a tour, which ended on May 15th. Perhaps a bit tired of the cumbersome fame, which had devoured his existence over the past few years, Roch Voisine decided to settle in Los Angeles. This is where he started working on another album "Kissing Rain", released in November '96, which went unnoticed in Europe.

Fire

If Europe and France forgot him a little, Roch still remained a star in Canada. July 1st, 1997 he once again sang before the Queen for Canada's national holiday. The next day he was given the title of Officier de l'Ordre du Canada.

But that year, tragedy struck his career with the sudden death of Paul Vincent, his agent and friend. He was replaced several weeks later by Lise Richard. Really shaken up by this death, Roch slowly took up work again. Surrounded by friends who he had already worked with, he went to work on a new album which came out in spring '99 in Quebec and then in France. Entitled "Chaque Feu" this record marks his return to singing in French. Furthermore it was in France where Roch settled in May '98 to work with Erick Benzi the producer of many artists such as Jean Jacques Goldman.

For the first time in years the album is doing well in France, even better than in Canada. We see him on the most prestigious television shows, a sign that his past glory is not just a memory. In addition, a regular of humanitarian charities in Quebec and Canada, Roch took part in the annual evening for the Restaurants du Coeur in France. He even sang the French National anthem!

Roch made a major comeback on the French music scene on 22 November 1999, bringing the house down when he played at the legendary Olympia music-hall in Paris. Bowing to popular demand, the Canadian heart-throb returned to the Olympia to play a further three dates in January 2000, before embarking upon a major tour of France.

Higher

At the end of 2000, he released "L’album de Noël" featuring great Christmas tunes such as "Petit Papa Noël" and "Mon beau sapin". And the following year, going back to his romantic repertoire, he put out the third eponymous album since the beginning of his career.

He then decided for a change of style with "Higher", which came out in 2002. Produced in English and ranging from a lively pop rock tone to romantic ballads, it was dedicated to Myriam Saint-Jean, the young Quebecker he married on December 2001 in Montreal.

He hit the road again touring around Canada to promote "Higher" and, in July 2003, he played at the Francofolies in Montreal where he brought the house down.

2003: "Je te serai fidèle"

Roch Voisine was back in the music spotlight in November 2003 with a new album entitled "Je te serai fidèle", featuring reorchestrated versions of his old hits as well as brand new compositions. The album scored a big hit with fans, selling an impressive 500,000 copies, and the single "Tant pis" - which reminded many French fans of the famous "Hélène" - rocketed up the charts. The following year, Roch Voisine hit the road again, embarking upon an acoustic tour which lasted several months and included dates across Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and France (where the singer’s concerts were totally sold out).

On 25 June 2004, Myriam Saint-Jean gave birth to a baby son called Killian.

Roch brought the house down when he performed at the legendary Olympia, in Paris, (15 - 17 November 2004). In January of the following year the Canadian crooner triumphed at the NRJ Music Awards, in France, carrying off the trophy for "Best Male Francophone Artist of the Year." Meanwhile, Roch continued his marathon concert tour throughout the spring of 2005.

On 31 October 2005, Roch made another comeback on the recording front with a new album, "Sauf si l'amour…" The album title drew on the singer’s ultra-romantic image once again, as did the new single release "Une femme (parle avec son cœur)." But this time round, Roch experimented with a feistier rock-edged sound, including a few tracks with faster beats, electric guitars and even a hint of brass here and there.

On 9 January 2006, Roch Voisine became a father again when his wife gave birth to a second son, Alix-Elouan.

In October 2006, midway through another extensive tour, Roch Voisine returned to Paris to perform at the Olympia. On 19 May 2007, the singer was awarded an honorary music degree from Moncton University, in New Brunswick. Shortly afterwards, he received another prestigious trophy: a diamond disc for having sold 8 million albums in the course of his twenty-year career.

On 28 May 2007, Roch Voisine released his first greatest hits compilation, a double album featuring studio tracks ("Hélène", "J'attends", "La Berceuse du petit diable") on one album and live recordings ("Darlin'", a rock version of "Hélène" and "I'll Be There") on the other. The greatest hits compilation also included bonus tracks in the form of "Garder le feu" and a cover of the Daniel Balavoine classic "Je ne suis pas un héros."

Roch Voisine continued his hectic tour schedule with a series of dates across Canada at the end of 2007/ beginning of 2008.

2008: "Americana"

Roch Voisine treated his French fans to a new album on 18 August 2008. "Americana", recorded in Nashville, in the USA, had a strong country feel and included covers of American classics such as Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay", Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and "Let it Be Me" (actually an English adaptation of Gilbert Bécaud's French song "Je t'appartiens.") The singer also recorded his own version of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe" (a song immortalised in France by Joe Dassin as "La Marie-Jeanne") and "City of New Orleans" (a song sung in the States by Willie Nelson and recorded in France by Joe Dassin as "Salut les amoureux.") The latter was chosen as the first single release from "Americana."

August 2008 

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