Born: 1946, Montreal, Quebec
Genres: Pop / Adult Contemporary
- Canadian Walk of Fame
- Juno Award in 1970 for Best Female Singer
- Juno Awards in 1972 and 1973 for Most Outstanding Performance by a Female
- Released 60 albums
“Je ne suis qu’une chanson” (1979)
- Title-track from the album that sold 387,000 copies in Quebec.
Some Other Hit Singles:
- “Non papa”
- “J’aime Guy”
- “Tu vivras toujours dans mon coeur”
- “Beautiful Second Hand Man”
- “T’es mon amour, t’es ma maîtresse”
- “Les Yeux fermés”
- “Aimez-le si fort”
- “La Dernière Valse”
- “Reste auprès de moi”
- “Le Sable et la mer”
- “À ma manière”
“What a Colossus of the stage, what a magnificent performer, what a voice, what soul, what warmth she radiates… Ginette Reno is music pure and simple, music with no nationality, no boundaries, ageless, beyond time. Ginette Reno is the soul of music, a succession of notes that she rethinks, reworks, to which she gives new life and finally delivers to us through her own view of things, her warmth, her voice and her incredible talent.”—Pierre Beaulieu, Montreal La Presse, 1 Jun 1977
Ginette Reno was born in eastern Montreal in 1946. She is not only a singer but a composer, author, and actress. Over the span of her four-decade career, she has released some 60 albums. She has been lauded by many Quebec singers as their inspiration, including international superstar Celine Dion. Fluent in both French and English, Reno, like Celine Dion, has performed songs in both languages.
Reno was born Ginette Raynault and, while still young, began attracting large crowds by singing in front of her father’s butcher shop at St. Lawrence market. This led to her participation in amateur singing contests, finishing first in most. She hired a singing coach and paid him with money she earned by delivering newspapers. She started performing in nightclubs and released her first single in 1961 (“Non Papa” / “J’aime Guy”). Its success turned her into a star. She scored a huge hit in 1964 with “Tu Vivras Toujours Dans Mon Coeur”. She began performing at some of the provinces and country’s most prestigious venues including Place des Arts (PDA) and the National Arts Centre (NAC). She also performed at Expo ’67 in Montreal.
In 1969, Reno performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and signed a recording contract with Decca which made her an international star. She gave two shows on BBC TV. Due to popular demand, she returned to London the following year to sing at the Savoy Theatre and in 1971 to host a series of shows with African-born British singer Roger Whittaker. Because English Canadian radio and television normally snub French songs, Reno had to record a song in English to become known to Canadian anglophones. In 1970, her “Beautiful Second Hand Man” was a big hit, reaching No. 6 on the CHUM chart. She won a Juno Award that year for Best Female Vocalist. In 1972, Reno participated in the Tokyo International Song Festival and won first prize. She had another hit with Jean-Pierre Ferland in 1974 called “T’es Mon Amour, T’es Ma Maîtresse”.
In the mid-70s, while continuing with her singing career, Reno stayed in Los Angeles to study at Lee Strasberg’s Studio of Dramatic Art. In 1978, she appeared on popular American shows Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
In 1979, Reno released her all-time biggest hit, the title-track from the album Je Ne Suis Qu’une Chanson. Despite a big economic recession in the Province, the album managed to sell 387,000 copies. Given that Quebec at the time had a population of about 6.5 million, this meant that 6% of all seniors, adults, youth and children bought a copy, making it a “2x diamond” album in the Province. In 1980, Ginette co-hosted the Juno Awards with pop-pianist Frank Mills. She toured France but, according to the Canadian Music Encyclopedia, “she never was successful there”.
Her drama schooling in Los Angeles proved to be a wise move as she made her film debut in Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Léolo in 1991. Throughout the 90s, she continued with her acting, starring in some TV series and movies. In 2003, she starred with Paul Sorvino in the Canadian movie Mambo Italiano. Between her acting stints, Reno has continued to record, winning numerous awards. In 1998, she released her first English album since 1979—Love Is All. In 2009, Ginette Reno released Fais Moi La Tendresse, which topped Canada’s album charts, booting U2′s No Line on the Horizon from the No. 1 spot. And in 2011, her La musique en moi won the Felix award for album of the year.