Jeanne Côté, Héron and Parazar, heading to the final of the Francouvertes

Jeanne Côté, Héon and Parazar, heading to the Francouvertes final

Jeanne Côté, Héron and Parazar are the three finalists for the 2023 Francouvertes vintage. The grand finale will take place on May 15 at Club Soda.

At the end of three evenings during which the nine semi-finalists of the Francouvertes performed at the Lion d'or, the public and the jury delivered their verdict on Wednesday evening: Héron, Jeanne Côté and Parazar advance to the final of the renowned music contest. 

A plethora of prizes — performances at renowned festivals, scholarships, writing residencies, recording sessions, etc. — which will contribute to the development of the contestants' careers were also awarded to them. 

The three finalists, artists under the sign of pop infused with trad, alternative pop-folk and rap, will tread the boards of Club Soda on May 15th during the grand finale. Métro presents them to you (and suggests that you keep an eye on them… and in your ears).  

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Jeanne Côté  

Raised in a family of musicians in Petite-Vallée, famous for its music festival, in Gaspésie, Jeanne Côté creates soft alternative pop-folk songs highlighting her warm and enveloping voice.

Music had never been a plan, preferring literature, says the creator of the album Suite pour personne, released last January. Until her big sister leaves the house, leaving Jeanne to long one-on-ones with the piano, which she has played since childhood.

The seed of the composition germinating in her, she then registered for the first stay for teens at the Camp chanson de Petite-Vallée. It was there that, under the aegis of trainers Patrice Michaud and Nelson Minville —“we were five young people who were very, very well supported! —, the dreamy teenager, quick to fall into the moon, created her first song.

Getting lost in your thoughts looking out the window, in class or on the bus, “it was always a kind of way out because I found the world a bit boring”, admits Jeanne laughing. “Especially since I had not so bad landscapes to look at! »

Today, while she considers herself addicted to her phone, the resident of Plateau-Mont-Royal wishes to abandon herself more often to contemplation, beneficial to creation.

“When I write, I go to a cafe, block out anything tech… and look out the window. This is what gives birth to my first ideas. When you're all the time distracted by your devices —it sounds cliché—but that doesn't leave time for business to arrive, for creative ideas to show up. »

The propensity of Jeanne, who counts among her inspirations Marie-Jo Thério, Catherine Major and Kate Bush, to imagine what could happen, is what pushed her to settle in Montreal in 2012, and what now makes her want to return to her native region, which “builds character”, she says.

Despite the warmth of the community, “there are long moments when we are stuck all alone, relates Jeanne Côté. It is a large territory with few people. “These countless moments of solitude surrounded by the sometimes impetuous elements of nature, “that you must integrate to live with”, also strongly inspired his first album.

But for now, she is relishing her time at Les Francouvertes, which largely achieves what she aspires to with her project, which is not “flashy, which does not go into extravagance”. On the contrary, “to be in the simplest expression, that is part of what I want to present. It's touching that it happened. I hope to continue to win people who are sensitive to what I can bring to them”.

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Héron is the solo project of Henri Kinkead, which fuses the sounds of traditional Quebec music (prominent violin and touches of foot rhythm) with fearless pop melodies festive. 

As a child, the musician from Quebec, who settled in the Plateau-Mont-Royal for two years, jammedalready in the living room with his “guitar-loving” father and his brother twin, Simon, singing Rolling Stones or Claude Dubois. 

Henri has always created with “his better half”, as he nicknamed his brother on stage, the latter accompanying Héron on the guitar. Together, they form the indie-pop group bearing their surname, which will continue to evolve alongside Héron, assures Henri. Kinkead is even finalizing an album, he says, which will succeed Migration, released in 2020. 

However, when Henri dropped off in Montreal during the pandemic, he felt the need to carry out a solo project. A lifelong folk music lover, the one who connected to Quebec music through Vincent Vallières, Karkwa and Louis-Jean Cormier plunged into the traditional Quebec repertoire, driven by curiosity.

And he discovered “magnificent creative material”, “an inexhaustible source of inspiration” which led him to meet lots of people keen on trad and “living heritage”. 

He also hopes one day to collaborate with artists who are interested in the folklore of other cultures. “Once we have appropriated our own folklore, we can open the door and have real exchanges with people without falling into borrowing or cultural appropriation. For me, there is something very promising there,” says the guitarist, who dreams of taking to the roads of Quebec alongside the musicians who accompany him on stage. “That would be a great achievement! » 

Heron's texts are steeped in the territory, a way “to talk about unifying themes in the Quebec experience”, while anchoring themselves in its present. Nature, the great outdoors are for him “a source of comfort and peace” as soon as he escapes from the city, like his safe space in Bonaventure, in Gaspésie, where he took refuge last winter.  

Speaking of refuge, the music was a big one when Henri revealed himself to himself about his sexual orientation. “My strongest memories related to emancipation and self-acceptance are related to music,” he says. Frank Ocean saved my life—I wasn't in mortal danger, but you know… » And the one he creates today is the outlet for his identity questions, his coming-out having inspired him many songs, while his relationship to the fluidity of identity, particularly sexual, still makes him ”  constantly discovering new things. 

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Dazzling with charisma on stage, rapper Parazar mixes Algerian raï sounds, inherited from her origins, with her old-world influences. school and modern. 

Raised in Montreal-Nord and now residing in the east of the island, the Montrealer was introduced to rap thanks to her sister and older brother. Walkman! ”— was predestined rather for humor.  

One day when she was heading to the studio to record a song with a humorous flavor intended for a video clip project, she suddenly turned back, under the impact of a fortuitous but relentless revelation: it is in rap that she would make a career. This is where she felt like herself. Epiphany, which also inspired her stage name.  

“The name Parazar is starting to accumulate meanings around me so much, you have no idea! “, laughs Houria of her real first name, which means “freedom”, she indicates. 

With a first mini-album, C’est live, output in 2021, the Bravo musique rapper writes songs with lyrics governed by her emotions, whose rapped verses are often paired with catchy choruses. It is with her friend Fifo that she composes the music for Parazar and shares the artistic direction of the project. “Him and me, it’s the perfect match. We understand each other well and we try to touch new things again. » 

The fact that she sometimes tackles more serious subjects does not prevent Parazar from radiating joy in concert, where she addresses the public as “the family”. 

“It's like when I was younger and I was doing a show in front of my family in the living room. It's the same thing. We're together, we're family, we're comfortable,” she explains, hoping that viewers feel as comfortable with her as she does with her parents. , her sisters, her husband. 

If she uses her humor to create content on TikTok and Radio-Canada's Mordu platform, it's in her warm interactions with the public and her staging that she gives free rein to this aspect of her personality when she raps, observes Parazar, who admits to dreaming of the international.

Her dearest desire nevertheless remains to provide for the needs of her family so that they are well. “No matter what means I have, whether big or small, I love to share, to give. That's really one of my goals. » 

Jeanne Côté, Héron and Parazar, heading to the Francouvertes final

The group Peanut Butter Sunday, from Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia, in the semi-finals on April 17th. Photo: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

The 9 semi-finalists of Francouvertes 2023

Peanut Butter Sunday
Jeanne Côté
Jeanne Laforest
Marie Céleste
Cure -Pipe
Emmanuelle Querry

Jeanne Côté, Héron and Parazar, heading to the Francouvertes final

The Marie Céleste quintet, originally from Alma, at Lac-Saint-Jean, in the semi-finals on April 17th. On the photo, Philippe Plourde (keyboard, voice) and Simon Duchesne (guitars, voice). Photo : Frederique Ménard-Aubin

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