Ferland, Jean-Pierre

Jean-Pierre Ferland. Singer, songwriter, b Montreal 24 Jun 1934. Jean-Pierre Ferland began his music career as a clerk for CBC Montreal during the years 1954-8, where his colleagues encouraged him to develop his singing talent. After leaving the CBC, he soon became known for his work with the Bozos, a group of chansonniers based in Montreal. In 1959, he made his television debut as a singer on "Music Hall". With Clémence Desrochers he gave a show that ran for a year at the Anjou Theatre.

Early Career

In 1962 Ferland's song 'Feuilles de gui' (music by Pierre Brabant) won the CBC competition ''Chansons sur mesure'' and the grand prize at the Gala internationale de la chanson in Brussels. That year, Ferland sang at the cabaret La Tête de l'art in Paris and was co-host for 'L'Été des Bozos,' broadcast on the CBC. The following year he represented Canada at the third International Song Festival, Sopot, Poland, and won the prize as best singer at Cracow. He starred in 'Jeunesse oblige' on CBC, a program which introduced young Quebec chansonniers and toured Quebec in 1964. In 1965 and 1968, he won the grand prize in the Festival du disque de Montréal.

In 1966, Ferland co-starred with Les Feux-Follets in a gala performance at the PDA (Place des Arts) and toured Quebec, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. He sang for a month in Paris, where his reputation was growing. "Je reviens chez nous" announced his return to Montreal (1968), where he was heard at the Comédie-Canadienne and at Man and His World. That year his LP Jean-Pierre Ferland (Barclay B-80006) won the Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles-Cros. His career in Paris continued that year when he performed with Marie Laforêt at the Olympia and at La Tête de l'art. During this period, Ferland also published a collection of the texts of 75 of his songs in a book entitled Chansons and, in 1970, he sang at the International Exposition at Osaka.

The 1970s and 1980s

In 1970 he launched his LP Jaune, which marked a turning point in the Quebec chanson as much for his decidedly modern music as for the quality of the recording produced at André Perry's studio. He sold 60,000 copies of the LP in one year and there followed a number of larger performances at the PDA (including one with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra). In 1974 he gained considerable success with 'T'es mon amour, t'es ma maîtresse,' recorded with Ginette Reno.

Another facet of Ferland's talent was revealed in 1976 when he became writer, actor, and musician for Jacques Vallé's film Chanson pour Julie. In the same period he co-starred in 'Show des cinq grands' with Claude Léveillée, Gilles Vigneault, Robert Charlebois, and Yvon Deschamps in Quebec City as part of the province's Heritage Week (Semaine du patrimoine) and in Montreal for the St-Jean-Baptiste celebrations. After a Quebec tour, he taped four programs for the CBC series Faut voir ca, in 1978, which was seen nationally on a CBC TV 'Superspecial' entitled Between Chopin and William Tell, presented on the English network that year.

During the 1980s, without abandoning composition, Ferland resumed hosting TV programs with Station Soleil (Radio Québec, 1981-7), Tapis rouge (CBC, 1986), L'Autobus du showbusiness (CBC, 1987) and Ferland/Nadeau (Télé-Métropole, 1990). In 1984, he participated in the tour of the show Du gramophone au laser, a pot-pourri of the best Quebec songs of the last 50 years. In 1989, Ferland set lyrics to Paul Baillargeon's music for the Place des Arts opera Gala, in which he also performed. This huge production, inspired by the life of the lover and muse of Salvator Dali and Paul Éluard, performed by Sylvie Tremblay, only lasted a few days at the box office and was a financial disaster.

Awards and Songs

Having released over 30 albums and composed over 450 songs, Jean-Pierre Ferland was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996, and named a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec in 2003. He has been celebrated as one of the best songwriters, singers and composers in Quebec and the entire French-speaking world. In 2007, he performed his last concert in Montreal and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Notable among Ferland's greatest hits are 'Les Immortelles,' 'Fleurs de macadam,' 'Ton visage,' 'Rue Sanguinet,' 'Avant de m'assagir,' 'Le Petit roi,' 'Ste-Adèle P.Q.,' 'Un peu plus haut, un peu plus loin,' 'Marie-Claire,' 'Quand on aime on a toujours 20 ans,' 'Androgyne,' 'T'es mon amour, t'es ma maîtresse,' and 'Je reviens chez nous.' His past musical directors have included Claude Danjean, Franck Dervieux, Gilbert 'Buck' Lacombe, Paul de Margerie, and Lucien Merer.

A romantic singer par excellence, Ferland always chose the best performers - for the most part, women. Ferland's songs 'talk of love and women but also memories, anguish, hopes and dreams, always with the familiar irresistible warmth. He surrenders himself to his audience in a musical show of great quality, charged with emotions that range from tender to tempestuous,' wrote Claude Lacombe in Ici Radio Canada (25-31 Mar 1978),