Late-90s Mini Profiles on Semi-Major Artists

La Chicane

Led by vocalist Daniel “Boom” Desjardins, La Chicane, originally from Val-d’Or, QC, received a couple of Juno nominations for Group of the Year and won the Juno for best-selling Francophone album in 2000 for their debut album En catimini, released in 1998. The band had three Felix-nominated songs over the years: “Calvaire”, “Tu m’manques”, and “Viens donc m’voir”.

Nicola Ciccone

The Italian-Canadian was born in 1977 and began composing songs in English and Italian when he was 12. After winning a singing contest, he obtained a recording contract and released his (French language) debut in 1999 while studying child psychology at university in Montreal. Four singles from the album topped the charts in Quebec. “J’t’aime tout court” was named song of the year by the Felix awards. “Chanson pour Marie” and “Le menteur” were also very popular.

Holly Cole (Trio)

The Halifax native, not to be confused with Britain’s Cheryl and the United States’ Natalie, is considered a jazz artist but has performed songs in the arena of country, rock, and other genres. She relocated to Toronto and launched her music career in 1989 as the Holly Cole Trio. They performed covers of songs from Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Lyle Lovett. In the mid-90s “Trio” was dropped from the name and she began moving into pop until the new millennium when she returned to her jazz roots. “I’ve just seen a face” was her best-known song.

Great Big Sea

The Newfoundland folk-rock band managed two platinum and two multi-platinum albums. Although specialists at converting traditional songs and sea shanties from the region to rock pieces, they have also composed original material. Their most famous songs were “When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down)”, “Ordinary Day”, “End of the World”, and “Consequence Free”.

The Moffatts

The four brothers (Scott, Clint, Bob, and Dave) grew up in British Columbia (Tumbler Ridge and Victoria) and started out performing country at various festivals. They relocated to the United States becoming regulars on Nashville Now with Ralph Emery. Later, they joined a show in Las Vegas. Finally, in 1994, they released their first album; their father served as their manager, as they were a teen performing act. But they quickly switched to pop and rock as a boy band and were more successful doing so. Their third and fourth albums released in 1998 and 2000, were both certified platinum and they enjoyed seven Top 30 hits including “I’ll Be There for You” (#5) and the chart-topper “Bang Bang Boom”.

Mario Pelchat

Born in 1964, Mario had been churning out albums since 1982. In the 90s, his album Pelchat was certified double-platinum. In 1999, his song “Je ne t’aime plus” was named song of the year at the Felix gala. “Tant de mots” and “Aimer” received nominations in the new millennium. He is also known as a music producer. Mario released a tribute album on French singer Becaud in 2015.

Bruno Pelletier

Born in 1962 in the Quebec City suburb of Charlesbourg, he performed in English bands before starting his own French group. He relocated to Montreal and performed in bars before joining some musicals. Bruno’s debut album came out in 1992 and appeared in Luc Plamondon musicals La Legende de Jimmy (about James Dean), Starmania, and Notre Dame de Paris. His third album sold 200,000 copies and he began winning Felix awards. “Le temps des cathédrales” was named song of the year in 1999.

The Philosopher Kings

Three songs of the metro Toronto band made the year-end charts in the late-90s: “I am the Man”, “Hurts to Love You”, and “Cry”. The group’s name comes from Plato’s Republic. They all met while students at Thornhill Secondary School, Gerald Eaton becoming their lead singer.


This was the duo James Renald and Antoine Sicotte from Montreal. They met while studying music engineering in 1992. In the new millennium, Anastasia replaced Renald. The group enjoyed three chart-toppers: “Love Song”, “Superhero”, and “You”.