Pierre Lapointe

Pierre Lapointe, singer-songwriter (born on 23 May 1981 in Alma, Quebec). Pierre Lapointe gives a unique twist to French pop songs. His eccentricity got him noticed in France and in Quebec in equal measure. He has produced over ten albums, two of which earned gold record certification and two others platinum records certification in Canada.

He was nominated four times for the Juno Award for Francophone Album of the Year and won 15 Félix Awards.



Pierre Lapointe
(courtesy wikimedia commons CC/Jeangagnon)

Early life

Pierre Lapointe spent his youth in Gatineau, in Quebec, where he did theatre, learned piano and practised drawing and writing. His cultural awakening took place in the art centers in Outaouais where he resided up to age 17. His mother, once a teacher in plastic arts, introduced him to contemporary art at an early age. He regularly attended shows in the Jean-Despréz room in the Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau (where he later performed several times) and visited the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He first studied at the cégep of Saint-Hyancinthe, then at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM).

Musical career

In his early twenties, Pierre Lapointe collected awards from one contest or festival to the next. For example, in 2000, he won first place in the show Tout nouveau, tout show in Outaouais, at age 19. He truly propelled his career in September 2001 by winning the highest award at the Festival international de la chanson de Granby . In 2002, he was granted a travel bursary by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, which allowed him to perform in France and Belgium.

Afterwards, he participated in several festivals and other important events in Quebec and in Canada, namely the FrancoFolies in Montreal, the Festival d’été in Quebec, the Just for Laughs festival and the Acadian festival in Caraquet . In 2003, he joined the record company Audiogram. He organized multiple original shows, including a collaboration with Argentinian singer and musician Tomás Jensen who settled in Quebec in 1998. This show was performed at the Coup de coeur francophone in Quebec and in Montreal, then as an event within the Aquitaine-Quebec initiative. Lapointe’s shows gained in interest and his name was heard more and more often across the country.

At age 24 he wrote his second album, La forêt des mal-aimés, which soon became a staple on Quebec’s contemporary music scene. He won the Prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson in 2004. Each year, this dual prize is presented to one Quebecois singer and one French singer, allowing the two artists to perform in the other’s country. Thus, Pierre Lapointe performed in France.

Over a career spanning more than 15 years, Pierre Lapointe sold over 500 000 copies of his albums. His most recent solo album and tour La Science du cœur was a hit with the public and critics alike, and the album won Lapointe two Félix Awards.

International success within the Francophonie

In 2004, Pierre Lapointe was invited to the Pully Lavaux festival in Switzerland and won the jury’s award. Afterwards, he made several appearances in the European media, namely in 2005 on the show Couleurs francophones which was broadcast on the continent’s francophone radios for the International Francophonie Day.

In 2011, Frédéric Mitterand, then French minister for culture, invited Lapointe and gave him free rein to perform a series of concerts at the Palais Royal de Paris. Lapointe’s European success grew. He recorded his album Paris Tristesse in 2014 in Paris and released it the next year in Quebec. For this collection, he sang and played the piano and covered three classics of French music by Léo Ferré, Barbara and Charles Aznavour respectively.

He went on more than a dozen European tours and performed in great Parisian venues such as the Boule noire, the Bataclan and the Cigale.

In July 2014, Lapointe presented the show Les Petites morts on the France Inter channel, where he spoke of French and American singers who had influenced his own work (Christophe, Christine and The Queens, among others) and his popularity in France flourished.

The same year, he stepped onstage for the FrancoFolies in La Rochelle, where he returned in 2018.

His album La science du cœur, recorded in Montreal and mixed in Paris, became a Francophone bestseller in Canada as soon as it was released in October 2017. According to Pierre Lapointe, this intimate album is “to be heard uninterrupted”.

Artistic and musical influences

During an interview with La Presse, Pierre Lapointe said he wished to bridge a path between traditional French songs and classical and contemporary orchestral music. He is as comfortable producing glam rock music as he is singing and playing piano solo. He gives a modern twist to French songs, to the delight of his listeners and that of quite appreciative critics. He gained the general public’s attention despite his sparse presence on the radio during the start of his career.

Lapointe’s music is eclectic and always features poetry. He is known for his refined lyrics accompanied by an electric guitar or a piano, for his original and artistic disk sleeves and for his one-of-a-kind, energetic performances (early in his career, he often went onstage barefoot while wearing a tie). Although some of his albums are categorized as pop, the arrangements can be complex and greatly influenced by classical and contemporary music.

The creation of Lapointe’s albums follows very diverse influential currents, from French music, to songwriter music (Seul au piano, 2011), to pop culture (Punkt, 2013). Among the people who shaped his style, he named musicians as much as poets or visual artists: Jean Cocteau, Jeff Koons, Léo Ferré and Joe Dassin.


Collaborations with other artists

Pierre Lapointe’s artistic vision goes beyond music and his popularity only grows as he seizes opportunities to collaborate with artists from all disciplines.

In 2010, the contemporary art enthusiast created the show Conte Crépusculaire with David Altmejd. He also collaborated with architect Jean Verville in 2011 for the Big Bang exhibition in at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 2013, he worked with artist Dominique Pétrin to produce PUNKT-Nos joies répétitives in the Musée d’art comtemporain de Montréal. In 2007, he teamed up with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal directed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin to create Pépiphonique, La Forêt des mal-aimés. This unique show took place on the huge FrancoFolies stage in front of over 100 000 spectators.

Pierre Lapointe is always ready to honour other artists by collaborating in different projects. For example, he paid tribute to Charles Aznavour in an album with the Consort contemporain de Québec and reinterpreted a play by Gilles Vigneault for the Fête nationale in Montreal in 2013. In 2012, he collaborated with Philippe Brault to compose the film score for Le Vendeur and won the Jutra Award for Best Original Music.

In January 2015, Pierre Lapointe became a “coach” for the apprentice singers on The Voice, a television show broadcast on TVA in Quebec boasting over 2 million viewers. He came back for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

He also participated in many artistic projects, namely in Amours, délices et orgues, an avant-garde and multidisciplinary show uniting artists from different fields: song, dance, monologue and design. This spectacle was performed at the Palais Montaclam in Quebec and at the Maison symphonique in Montreal in 2017.

Honours and awards

  • Grand prize for the singer-songwriter category, Festival international de la chanson de Granby (2001)
  • Prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson, FrancoFolies de Montréal (2004)
  • Prix du Jury du Festival Pully Lavaux (2004)
  • Prix Coup de cœur de l’Académie Charles-Cros (2005)
  • Grand Prix du disque de l’Académie Charles-Cros (self-titled album) (2005)
  • Prix de la Francophonie de l’Académie Charles-Cros (self-titled album) (2005)
  • Album of the Year – Pop (self-titled album) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2005)
  • Revelation of the Year, Félix Awards, ADISQ (2005)
  • Album of the Year – Pop (La forêt des mal-aimés) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2006)
  • Show of the Year – Singer-songwriter (La forêt des mal-aimés) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2007)
  • Prix Rapsat-Lelièvre, du gouvernement du Québec et de la Communauté française de Belgique (La forêt des mals-aimés) (2007)
  • Music Video of the Year (Qu’en est-il de la chance?) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2007)
  • Television Show of the Year – Music (with the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, directed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Dans la forêt des mal-aimés, Sogestalt Télévision Québec) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2008)
  • Album of the Year – Pop-Rock (Sentiments humains) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2009)
  • Prix Raoul-Breton de la Francophonie (for the Grands Prix Sacem), SACEM and the Éditions Raoul Breton, for his original creations and his performances onstage (2011)
  • Best Original Music (Le vendeur), Jutra Awards (now know as the Iris Awards ), with Philippe Brault (2012)
  • Show of the Year – Singer-songwriter (Punkt) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2014)
  • Album of the Year – Reinterpretation (Paris tristesse) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2015)
  • Quebec Artist Having Been Most Distinguished Outside of Quebec, Félix Awards, ADISQ (2015)
  • Album of the Year – Adult Contemporary (La Science du cœur) Félix Awards, ADISQ (2018)

Discography

  • Self Titled, Audiogram, 2004
  • La forêt des mal-aimés, Audiogram, 2006
  • 2x2, Audiogram, 2006
  • 25-1-14-14 (vinyl), Audiogram, 2007
  • Pierre Lapointe dans la forêt des mal-aimés, Audiogram, 2007
  • Les vertiges d’en haut, Audiogram, 2009
  • Sentiments humains, Audiogram, 2009
  • Pierre Lapointe seul au piano, Audiogram, 2011
  • Punkt, Audiogram, 2013
  • Les callas, Audiogram, 2013
  • Paris tristesse, Audiogram, 2015
  • L’intégrale, Audiogram, 2015
  • La Science du cœur, Audiogram, 2017
  • Ton corps est déjà froid (with les Beaux Sans-Cœur), Audiogram, 2018