Born: 1944, Montreal
Genre: Pop / Rock
“J’ai rencontré l’homme de ma vie” (1972)
– 60,000 copies sold in Quebec
– 125,000 copies sold in France
Some Other Hits:
– “Chanson pour Elvis”
– “Tu m’fais flipper”
– “La Chanteuse straight”
– “Le Parc Belmont”
– “J’ai douze ans maman”
– “Pars pas sans me dire bye bye”
The Canadian Music Encyclopedia writes of Diane Dufresne:
“The first female ‘rocker’ of the francophone world, Diane Dufresne became in France ‘the image of modern Quebec, turbulent, delinquent,’ penned the writer Jacques Godbout (Plamondon, un coeur de rockeur, Montreal 1988). Dufresne has often been compared to Édith Piaf for her sensitive and powerful performances. Nicknamed “La Diva” and “La Dufresne,” she holds the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Award (2001), and is a member of the Order national du Québec (2002) and France’s L’Ordre des arts et des lettres (2000).”
Dufresne began singing lessons as a teenager in Montreal before heading to Paris to further her vocal training, join singing groups, and study dramatic art from 1965-67. After returning to Montreal, she began collaborations with composer François Cousineau and lyricist Luc Plamondon, who later on wrote many of her most popular songs. After making some jingles, she released her debut album in 1972. Her first single “J’ai rencontré l’homme de ma vie” was a huge hit selling 60,000 copies in Quebec and 125,000 in France.
In many ways, Dufresne was the female counterpart of Robert Charlebois, presenting an unconventional, attention-grabbing style, singing in French Canadian street slang (joual), dressing in ravishing costumes, and belting out an amusing vocal technique. Due to the big success of her single, Diane opened for Julien Clerc at the Olympia in Paris, 1973 to mixed reviews.
By the mid-70s, Dufresne had moved to the forefront of Quebec pop stardom, with a trio of best-selling albums. In 1975, she scored another big hit single with “Chanson pour Elvis”, and she put on a couple of big shows on the Montreal stage. Her works earned her a Jeune Chanson award and performed at the Élysée Montmartre in Paris in 1977. The following year, she returned triumphantly to the Olympia in Paris to major acclaim, resulting in two live albums. For the next two years, Dufresne appeared in a number of French TV specials as well as in the rock musical Starmania in 1979 Paris alongside several Quebec and French pop stars.
During the 1980s, Diane Dufresne became one of the most popular pop stars in France appearing in a number of musicals. In 1984, she put on the eminent show “Magie Rose” before an audience of 55,000 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Her following show “Top Secret” garnered her a Félix Award for best pop show of 1987. She steamed ahead with further shows in Quebec (with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra), Japan, and Paris through the late-80s.
In the 1990s, after having severed collaborations with Plamondon in the 80s, Dufresne began composing her own songs. She was given a Félix Lifetime Achievement award in 2006. Various artists released a tribute album of her songs in 2015.