France D’Amour grew up in Mont-Rolland, just north of Montreal, surrounded by her adoptive parents, her sister and her two brothers. She was the artistic one in the family, already searching for meaning in her life at thirteen.
France was attracted to the guitar at a very young age, and her father granted her wish in her early teens. She grew up listening to Ricky Lee Jones and Joni Mitchell, dreaming of composing and performing her own songs.
Her guitar and piano lessons in high school started her on the road to becoming a bona fide musician. Later, in college, she was the first woman ever to sign up for the “concentration in jazz guitar course” in the music department. There she worked on all the facets of music.
In her early twenties, she started playing in clubs and bars with fellow students. Then she got pregnant, but her passion kept her on the road until the seventh month of her pregnancy. Barely two months after her son’s birth, she returned to the stage, feeling that she was born to be a nomadic mom and performer.
Club touring for five years, France D’Amour honed her skills with several different bands, composed more or less of the same musicians. Her last band before she went solo was called “France”.
Her talent might have led her along that same path for quite a while… were it not for her guitar player. A local radio station ran a new talent contest and he sent a demo. It caught the ear of record producer Nick Carbone. Thrilled, the band invited him to one of their shows in Granby and Carbone realized he’d discovered a gem. From then on, things went rapidly. The singer-songwriter signed her first record deal with Tacca Musique in 1992.
For over 20 years, she has recorded 10 albums: Animal (1992), Déchaînée (1994), Le Silence des roses (1998), Nomade (2000), France D’Amour (2002), Hors de tout doute (2005), Les Autres (2007), Le présent (2009), Bubble Bath & Champagne (2011) and En love majeur (2013). For her 2011 album, Bubble Bath & Champagne—her first album in English—she signed with Tandem.mu.
ANIMAL – 1992
As soon as the album was released, it was an instant success in Quebec and the song Animal is still one of her signature songs. France D’Amour’s public was rapidly growing. L’Appât des mots, Toi, Laisse-moi la chance, Ailleurs, Animal and Solitaire were huge radio hits, beyond everyone’s expectations. Soon, the album went Gold. Critics and her fans also applauded France’s stage presence and high-octane, electrifying performances.
DÉCHAÎNÉE – 1994
The release of Déchaînée two years later demonstrated France D’Amour was not a one-hit wonder. With a sound akin to that of her debut album, it confirmed her rocker image and quickly went Gold as well. Vivante, Mon Frère, Va t’en pas, J’ai plus ma place, Confidente, La chanson des fleurs and Lettre à ma mère were hits as well and her fan base kept growing.
LE SILENCE DES ROSES – 1998
On this third album, France D’Amour pushed the boundaries of her sound, exploring new textures, challenging herself and her fans to evolve. While working on the album, she could not quite define the sound she was looking for, but when she heard the sound and rhythms of Canadian band The Odds, she knew that was what she’d had in mind. She called Odds guitarist Steven Drake and told him she wanted to collaborate with him. Steven agreed, and the chemistry between the two musicians was instantaneous. The first song recorded in the studio (Je t’aime encore) was so perfect that the first take was the one used on the album. Many songs in Le silence des roses were radio hits—Je t’aime encore, On est comme on est, Si j’ai tort, Je comprends and Si c’était vrai, this last one an all-time favorite. Le silence des roses was a milestone in France D’Amour’s career.
NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS – 1998
During France’s tour with Le silence des roses, Quebec songwriter Luc Plamondon, one of the best known authors in Europe and Canada—he’s written for Julien Clerc, Diane Dufresne, Céline Dion and created Starmania and Notre Dame de Paris—contacted France D’Amour. He asked her to audition for the role of Esmeralda in Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) . Plamondon invited her to see the show in Paris, and when she saw it, she was hooked. Her training in the school of rock was an asset as it brought the show something that wasn’t there before—her rock singer energy—and the critics loved it. Actually, the show brought musicals back to the Paris scene for the first time in decades.
While France learned the ropes of musicals, she reread the Victor Hugo novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, and saw all the films and adaptations that were inspired by Hugo’s book. Her portrayal of Esmeralda was striking and captivated critics and audiences alike.
SELF-TITLED (QUE DES MOTS) – 2002
Shortly before the end of Notre Dame de Paris’ run of shows, France received a call from author, composer-lyricist Kapler (a.k.a. Robert Goldman, who has written hits for Céline Dion, Isabelle Boulay and Patricia Kass, among others.) Kapler had been impressed by France D’Amour’s performance in the musical and asked her to work on an album with him. France D’Amour returned to Quebec, and immediately started writing before meeting with Kapler again. He suggested material and music concocted with Kapler’s brother, Grammy Awards-winning singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, and author-composer Jacques Venerusa.
Together, they formed a solid songwriting team and the resulting album, Self-Titled, produced hits: Laisse-moi, Je n’irai pas ailleurs, Ce qui me reste de toi and Que des mots. With this album, France D’amour’s launched her tour of France. She performed in over twenty shows at the Zénith in Paris and opened for singer Garou; then she toured in close to twenty French cities.
During the year of her Self-Titled tour in France, she won a Gémeaux (Quebec’s equivalent of Emmy awards) for a TV special, D’Amour et d’amitié (Of love and friendship.) A Quebec film-crew followed France during her tour in France and in Quebec and the resulting documentary won the best TV special of the year.
HORS DE TOUT DOUTE – 2005
After her extensive tour in France and Quebec, France decided to take a break. She left Canada with her guitars, and drove towards the sun. She settled near the Gulf of Mexico and stayed there for about a year. In these new surroundings, she wrote and composed new material. “This album is all about the little girl who grew up listening to Joni Mitchell, the jazz student in college and the bar rocker.” France composed the music for the entire album and called on the some of Quebec’s great lyricists: Roger Tabra (who wrote for Éric Lapointe and Isabelle Boulay), singer-songwriter Lynda Lemay and producer Marc-André Chabot. J’entends ta voix was #1 on Quebec radio for over two months.
LES AUTRES – 2007
Les Autres was produced with her longtime collaborator Guy Tourville. France dedicated it to all those she cared deeply about. The album is lyrically incisive, humorous, especially Le Bonheur te fait de l’oeil, written with friend and comedian François Léveillée. The song was #1 for several weeks on the Quebec radio charts. France also modified the lyrics and called it Le Canadien te fait de l’oeil (the Canadian is eyeing you) in conjunction with the Montreal Canadiens playoff run. The song saw heavy airplay again during the entire playoffs.
LE PRÉSENT – 2009
Following Les Autres, France decided make a gift to the fans who had been with her throughout her twenty-year career, recording reinterpretations of her greatest hits. She asked her fans for their input from the very beginning of the recording process. Through her website, fans were asked to submit their song requests for their favorite songs from France’s previous albums. They were invited to attend the recording in the studio. Two new songs emerged from the sessions: Le Présent, a duet with Clément Jacques, and Pourrons-nous jamais être amis? with Steve Veilleux from Quebec rock band Kaïn. The album also featured a version of Animal with rapper Imposs, who interpreted France’s lyrics in his unique style.
BUBBLE BATH & CHAMPAGNE – 2011
At the beginning of 2011, after twenty-years with Tacca, France signed with a new company, Tandem.mu, and accomplished a lifelong goal. Going back to her musical roots, she recorded an album titled Bubble Bath & Champagne—her first album in English—inspired by the music of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. At first, France D’Amour wanted to pay tribute to the era and record her favorite standards. But ever the songwriter, she decided instead to create her own jazz compositions, asking a friend, author Corinne Simon-Duneau, to write the English lyrics. The album, which came out in April 2011, was well received by her longtime fans and critics alike, and so far, has also been a commercial success. With Bubble Bath & Champagne, France’s dream to play in jazz festivals all over the world is being realized.
EN LOVE MAJEUR – 2013
BUBBLE BATH & CHAMPAGNE volume 2 – 2016
Since the beginning of her career, France has been writing songs for other artists such as Véronique Dicaire Marie-Chantal Toupin and Isabelle Boulay, all three popular singers in Quebec. France composed, among others, Tombée de toi, popularized by Isabelle Boulay.
In 2001, France had a role in box office hit Les Boys 3, third sequel in a Quebec made comedy about a Canadian hockey team.
In 2005 she became the spokesperson for the Grand prix de la relève musicale Archambault which acknowledges up-and-coming talents.
In 2006 and 2007, she hosted Quebec’s St-Jean Baptiste festivities, the national holiday in Quebec. She sang alongside legendary Quebec singers such as Robert Charlebois, Plume Latraverse, Claude Leveillé (who wrote songs for Edith Piaf) and a dozen others.
Between 2000 and 2010 she hosted several radio and TV programs, filling in for Julie Snyder on le Point J for a brief period. She later hosted the morning show on Rythme FM radio and was a judge for VJ Recherché on Musique Plus.
In fact, in the twenty plus years of her career, France has sung with pretty much all of the best-known singers in Quebec, some of whom where among the most influential in the province and internationally.
France D’Amour has received close to forty Adisq nominations (Quebec’s Grammy awards) for her concerts and albums as a singer-songwriter, making her one of the best known—and most loved—musicians in Quebec.