Born: 1934, Montreal
Genre: Folk, Pop / Rock
- “Feuilles de gui”
- “Je reviens chez nous”
- “T’es mon amour, t’es ma maîtresse”
- “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”
- “Quand on aime on a toujours 20 ans”
The All Music Guide calls Jean-Pierre Ferland “one of the great singer/songwriters Quebec has produced, second only to Félix Leclerc and Gilles Vigneault”. The Canadian Music Encyclopedia calls him “a romantic singer par excellence”.
Ferland began his musical career as a clerk for CBC Montreal in the 50s when his workmates encouraged him to develop his already-gifted vocal talent. After leaving his desk job, he began performing as a folk singer and made his recording debut in 1959, appearing that same year as a singer on the show “Music Hall”. In 1962, Ferland’s song “Feuilles de gui” won awards at home and abroad (the grand prize at the Gala Internationale de la Chanson in Brussels). That year he performed a show in Paris and co-hosted a CBC program at home. In 1963, Jean-Pierre won the best singer prize at an international song festival in Poland. For the remainder of the ’60s, he put on a number of concerts, performed on TV, and kept winning various awards. His “Je reviens chez nous” in ’68 became a classic throughout the French-speaking world.
Legend has it that Jean-Pierre Ferland attended Robert Charlebois’ 1968 cult event, L’Osstidcho, and left in tears, acknowledging that the great Québécois chanson would never be the same. But Ferland himself began a major shift in musical style that manifested itself with the release of the pop-rock classic Jaune in 1970. Ferland performed at the International Expo in Osaka, Japan and, by the end of the year, Jaune had sold 60,000 copies. One rock critic calls Jaune “a brilliant art rock album that redefined the Quebec recording industry; it is Quebec’s own Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Incidentally, this album appears as the only one from a francophone soloist in Bob Mersereau’s controversial “Top 100 Canadian Albums”, resulting from his survey of 600 music journalists, deejays, retailers, and musicians of all ages from all over Canada.
Ferland’s aesthetic change was confirmed with his psychedelic rock release, Soleil, the following year. In 1974, he recorded “T’es mon amour, t’es ma maîtresse” with Ginette Reno.
Two years later, Jean-Pierre began working on films as an actor, writer, and musician, the first being Chanson pour Julie. With four other Quebec superstars, he performed in Quebec city during their Heritage Week and then in Montreal for the St-Jean-Baptiste celebrations. He was featured in a 1978 CBC English TV super-special called “Between Chopin and William Tell”.
During the 80s, Jean-Pierre Ferland slowed down as a composer and focused on hosting TV programs. He made a triumphant comeback in the mid-90s when he released Écoute Pas Ça, a critical and commercial success. Having composed over 450 songs and released over 30 albums, Ferland was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996 and is now considered one of the best singer/songwriters, not only in Quebec but in the entire French-speaking world. In 2007, he was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He performed with Celine Dion on the Plains of Abraham in 2008.