Marie-Mai Bouchard (known simply as Marie-Mai in pop-culture) is a pop-singer who is one of the biggest names in French music at this time (especially popular with younger generations. Her music is frequently played on hit-music radio stations in French).
After 10 years, her star appeal is still going strong !
She is a Québeco-Ontaroise singer born in Varennes, Québec, but, who spent much of her growing up years in the town of Moonbeam in Northern Ontario (Ontarios is a more modern name for Franco-Ontarians)
Although Ontarois live throughout Ontario, the highest percentages live in Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, and Northern Ontario (where Moonbeam is located). Moonbeam is one of a number of towns along Ontario’s Pan-Northern highway 11, where most towns on the highway have Francophone populations exceeding 70%.
Because of Marie-Mai’s success in the French-speaking world in general, she is a source of pride for French-Ontarians, and is part of a list of successful French-Ontarian personalities. With over half a million Francophones in Ontario, it is the jurisdiction with the second largest French-speaking population in North America. There are more Ontarios than the entire population of Newfoundland, and twice as many Ontarois as there are Acadians – one of the reasons why Ontario continues to be a source of successful Francophone pop-culture icons.
Like many Anglophone Canadian artists who leave Canada to find larger success in the US, many Ontarois singers leave Ontario for Québec for the same reasons. The North American French pop-culture industry is highly concentrated in Montréal, just as it’s highly concentrated in Los Angeles for Anglophone North America.
English Canadian pop-culture has several reality singing and talent shows such as The Voice, Canada’s Got Talent, Canadian Idol, etc., and Quebec has a series of French language reality singing and talent shows. The two main shows are La Voix, and Star Académie, both produced by TVA (one of the “big four” television networks in Québec). Marie-Mai achieved cultural icon status after achieving 3rd place on Star Académie in 2004 at the age of 18. The programme’s singers traditionally go on tour across Québec following the season finale of Star Académie, enhancing their celebrity status.
Marie-Mai’s first album was released in 2004. Career highlights from 2004 until present:
- she has constantly held top spots on Francophone radio countdown charts in Canada, and occasionally in France
- she has achieved prizes for best music videos (ie: MusiquePlus, the Francophone equivalent of MuchMusic)
- she has sung at the St-Jean-Baptiste festival, as well as Canada Day celebrations (which both tend to have amongst the largest annual television audiences in each respective language sphere)
- she has sung at the Vancouver Olympics
- she has held several concert tours
- from 2008 to 2013 she won numerous “best” categories at the Prix Félix (the Quebec award which most closely resembles the Juno or Academy awards).
- Her music has repeatedly gone both Gold and Platinum
For a taste of some of the songs which has made her a star, check out the following music videos:
- Sans cri ni haine
- Je repars (a duet with David Usher in French)
- Jamais Ailleurs
- Comme Avant
- Encore une nuit
- J’attendrai mon tour
- Rebatir notre histoire
- C’est moi
- heart attack
- Jamais trop tard (a hit duet with with Jonas in French)
Also see if you can catch some of her interviews. Her accent in French is from Northern Ontario (it’s as charming as both her personality and down-to-earth character – it’s easy to see how she has won the hearts of so many people).
Songs can be purchased on iTunes and other venues (artists are part of our cultural fabric – please do not pirate or illegally violate their work, music, or videos).
Bonne écoute !!