Garou

Garou (b Pierre Garand). Singer-songwriter, actor, born at Sherbrooke, QC 26 Jun 1972. He took his name from the French word for werewolf, loup-garou, which somewhat resembles his real name, Garand.

Early Life and Background

Garou, who came from a musical family, began guitar at age three and went on to learn piano, organ and trumpet. Despite his musical abilities, his first career interest was archaeology. In high school at the Séminaire de Sherbrooke, he was assigned the trumpet but was expelled from the class for his lack of discipline. Later, he took to the stage playing the guitar with a band called The Windows and Doors, emulating one of his idols, Paul McCartney. After high school, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1991 as a trumpet player in the military band.

In 1993, after some time at various odd jobs including a stint in Montréal's metro, Garou won a job at a local nightclub through an impromptu performance, and his reputation spread. In the summer of 1995, he formed the band The Untouchables. In 1997, Luc Plamondon cast Garou as Quasimodo in his musical Notre-Dame de Paris co-written with composer Riccardo Cocciante, which premiered in Paris in 1998 and exposed Garou's acting talents making him a major star in France. He went on to portray this role in other European and North American cities in both French and English. Plamondon became a mentor and a muse for the singer.

Awards

In 1999, Garou, known for his distinctive deep gravelly voice, won a Félix award at the Gala de l'ADISQ, as Discovery of the Year. That year, the Notre-Dame de Paris song "Belle", which Garou interpreted with Patrick Fiori and Daniel Lavoie, also won first place at the World Music Awards ( Monaco) and the Victoires de la Musique awards (France). In 2001, after releasing his album Seul, which by 2002 had sold 300,000 copies, Garou garnered four prizes at the Gala de l'ADISQ: best male vocalist, Québec artist most popular outside of Québec, best-selling album, and best pop-rock album. At the 2002 NRJ Music Awards (France), Garou won Francophone male artist of the year, and for their song "Sous le Vent" scooped up the Francophone group/duo award with Céline Dion, whose husband/manager René Angélil took Garou into his roster.

Collaborations and Touring

Garou, has collaborated with many Canadian and international artists. The Gipsy Kings (France) have joined him on stage to interpret his song "Gitan". Garou has recruited the song writing talents of Aldo Nova, Tino Izzo, Eric Lapointe, Luc Plamondon, French singer Didier Barbelivien, Guy Chambers (England), and renowned French lyricist Jean-Jacques Goldman, and the producing talents of Peer Astrom (American TV series Glee, Madonna, Dion). In 1999, the performer joined Céline Dion and Bryan Adams to salute the new millennium.

Beginning in 2001, Garou has toured extensively and his travels have taken him to eastern and western Europe, the Middle East (Tunisia) and the French West Indies. In 2008, he took his first English-language album, Piece of my Soul, to smaller venues in France, Russia and the Ukraine. By 2012, it had sold an impressive 40,000 copies, but did not reach the triple platinum status of his previous recordings.

Garou has appeared in television cameos in 2008, and in a 2009 made-for-television film L'amour aller-retour for TF1 (French national televsion). In December that year, he left Angélil to form his own production company.

Garou appeared onstage at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, next to Adams, Nelly Furtado, and Sarah McLachlan.

Selected Discography

Seul. 2001. Columbia.

Seul... Avec Vous. 2001. Sony Musique.

Reviens. 2004. Columbia.

Garou. 2006. Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Canada).

Piece Of My Soul. 2008. Columbia, Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Gentleman Cambrioleur. 2009. Sony Music Entertainment.

Version intégrale. 2010. Columbia/Sony Music.