Renée Claude (b Bélanger). Singer, stage actress, b Montreal 3 Jul 1939. Renée Claude studied piano at the École Vincent-d'Indy and took singing lessons with Alphonse Ledoux. In 1955 she won first prize in the program "Découvertes de Billy Munro" on CKVL (Verdun). In 1960 she made her first appearance on the CBC program "Chez Clémence," and began singing at the boîte à chansons in Quebec City. At the beginning she performed French songs, especially those of Léo Ferré and Georges Brassens. The first Canadian song she performed was "Ton Visage," written for her by Jean-Pierre Ferland. She was invited to appear on NBC TV's The Johnny Carson Show in May 1967 and later that year performed at Expo 67.
Claude's first recording success, Michel Conte's "Shippagan" (1967) was followed by Stéphane Venne's "C'est le début d'un temps nouveau," "Le Tour de la terre," and "C'est notre fête aujourd'hui." In 1968 Claude was awarded the Méritas trophy (best performer) in Montreal's (TV) Gala des artistes organized by the weekly magazine Radiomonde, and in June 1970, with Michel Conte's "Viens faire un tour," she won first prize in the "Concours de la Clé d'or," which led to the international competition "Chanson sur mesure."
Following a two-week engagement at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka, Claude returned to Canada to perform with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the Place des arts (PDA) in August. Her performance at the Variety Theatre of Moscow in 1971 was followed by appearances in several cities in the USSR, and she returned there the following year. She participated in the St-Jean-Baptiste celebrations on Mount Royal in 1975. In 1976 she sang at the Place des nations (Man and His World, Montreal), at Camp Fortune (Ottawa), and at the National Arts Centre. In Paris she appeared in the telecasts "Roger Pierre et Jean-Marc Thibault" (1971), "Spécial Québec" with Yvon Deschamps, André Gagnon, and Gilles Vigneault (1976), and "Numéro un... le Québec."
Renée Claude represented Canada at the 1966 Sopot Festival in Poland with "Tu es noire" by François Dompierre and Stéphane Venne; at the competition "Chansons sur mesure" in Paris in 1969 with the song "Le Geste" by Jacques Blanchet; at the 1970 Olympiades de la chanson in Athens; at the 1972 World Festival Onda Nueva in Caracas; and, as a guest, at the 1976 International Festival of French Song (Spa, Belgium).
She has given many recitals in Montreal at the Comédie-Canadienne, at the Patriote, at the PDA, at the St-Denis Theatre, at the Méridien Hotel's boîte à chansons and in Quebec City (at the Palais Montcalm, at Laval University and the Institut canadien, and at the Grand Théâtre). She has toured extensively in Quebec, Ontario, the US, and Europe. Among those who have composed music or lyrics for her songs are Jacqueline Barrette, Michel Conte, Marc Desjardins, Clémence Desrochers, François Dompierre, Jean Fugère, André Gagnon, Germain Gauthier, Mouffe, Luc Plamondon, Stéphane Venne, and the musicians of the Ville Émard Blues Band.
Theatre, Opera, TV, and Film
At the beginning of the 1980s, Renée premiered two theme shows, the first based on the work of Clémence Desrochers ("Moi, c'est Clémence que j'aime le mieux," 1980), the second based on George Brassens ("Georges Brassens, j'ai rendez-vous avec vous," 1981). In 1987, she appeared on stage with Claude Léveillée in "Partenaires dans le crime" at the Théâtre Arlequin in Montreal. She performed at the Festival de St-Malo in 1988 and at les Journées internationales Georges Brassens in Sète in 1989. She then appeared as Robertine Barry, journalist and patron of Émile Nelligan in the opera Nelligan by Michel Tremblay and André Gagnon. In 1991 she performed songs by Georges Brassens at the Paris Casino and in Milan. That year she performed for the first time in the theatre, in Marthe Mercure's Tu faisais comme un appel. She subsequently took part in the TV series "Avec un grand A," (Radio Québec) written by Jeannette Bertrand, and in 1998 appeared in the film C't'à ton tour, Laura Cadieux (Denise Filiatrault, director).
Awards and Recognition
Claude's natural elegance and her refined, tender, and sensuous voice have combined to make her an exceptional performer, especially of love songs. The Montreal boîte à chansons Le Patriote established a Renée-Claude trophy and awarded it to numerous performers between 1965 and 1972. In 1996 Claude was awarded the Prix Charles-Cros in Paris for her album On a marché sur l'amour. Renée Claude was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009.
Renée Claude, vol 1. 1963. Sel S-398.024
Renée Claude, vol 2. 1964. Sel S-398.071
Renée Claude, vol 3 ("Il y eut un jour"). 1965. Sel SSP-24130
Renée Claude, vol 4. 1966. Sel SSP-24146
Renée Claude: Le Disque d'or. Sel S-398.150
Renée Claude "Shippagan". 1967. Col FS-673
Renée Claude. 1968. Barclay 80038
Le Tour de la terre. 1969. Barclay 80065
Le Début d'un temps nouveau. 1970. Barclay 80087
Tu trouveras la paix. 1971. Barclay 80116
Je reprends mon souffle. 1972. Barclay 80141
Ce soir je fais l'amour avec toi. 1973. Barclay 80177
Les Grands Succès, vol 1. 1973. Barclay 75008
Les Grands Succès, vol 2. 1975. Barclay 75018
Je suis une femme. 1975. Lon LFS-9012
L'Enamour/Le Désamour. 1976. Lon LFS-9019
Bonjour. 1979. Solset SOLT-1001
Moi c'est Clémence que j'aime le mieux. 1982. Pro-Culture PC-6016
Renée Claude. 1986. Groupe Marc Desjardins GMD-1302-04
Renée Claude chante Brassens. 1988. Groupe Marc Desjardins GMD-1303-05
J'ai rendez-vous avec vous. 1993. Transit TRMC-9018
On a marché sur l'amour. 1994. Transit TRMC-9109-10
Entre la terre et le soleil. 2006. Transit TRCD 9118/9
See also Discography for Chansonniers.