Biography

Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Rivard, Michel

(1951- )

Born in Montreal, Michel Rivard is the son of actor Robert Rivard, with whom he played the role of Laurent Jarry in the TV soap opera Rue des Pignons, in the late 1960s.In the 1970s, he was a member of various theatre companies as a composer, director, actor or singer, including the subversive vaudeville troupe, La Quenouille bleue, the Théâtre Sainfouin, the Théâtre populaire du Québec and Les Pichous.From 1974 to 1978, he was one of the founding members, writers, composers, singers and guitarists in the rock group Beau Dommage. Over the years, Beau Dommage reunited twice, once in 1984 for two performances, and again in 1994 for an album and concert tour across the Province of Quebec, in which Michel Rivard participated.

In 1977, Michel Rivard launched his solo career. That same year, in Paris, he opened for the singer Maxime Leforestier, and released his first solo album, Méfiez-vous du grand amour.Upon his return to his native Quebec, he formed the group Flybin Band that would accompany him on stage and in the studio for his second solo album entitled De Longueuil à Berlin, which came out in 1979, the same year that Michel began a series of concerts in Paris.In 1980, Michel Rivard ran as a candidate for the Rhinoceros Party against Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, the Liberal candidate.

His third album, entitled Sauvage, was launched in 1983, parallel to a series of concerts. Other albums, amongst his more popular, would follow. In 1985, Bonsoir, mon nom est Michel Rivard et voici mon album double; in 1987, Un trou dans les nuages; in 1989, Michel Rivard; and in 1992, Le goût de l’eau… et autres chansons naïves.In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Michel Rivard released two of his most popular albums: Un trou dans les nuages in 1987 (more than 200,000 copies sold) and Le goût de l’eau… et autres chansons naïves, in 1992. Both these albums were enthusiastically received by his many fans, and praised by the critics.

In 1997, he became the first writer-composer-performer to head the Festival en chanson in Petite Vallée for a second time, having already done so in 1994. The following year, he released a new album of original songs entitled Maudit bonheur, which  was a another hit with the music-loving public. In 2004, he had a bit of fun with the public as he produced a 4-disc set and called it Bonsoir… mon nom est toujours Michel Rivard et voici mon album quadruple (en spectacle intime…). That same year, he released Simple. His most recent album Confidence appeared in 2006, and like the others, was a resounding success.

This multi-talented artist also found the time to compose many songs for other artists including Gerry Boulet, Pauline Julien, Sylvie Tremblay, Offenbach, La Bottine souriante, Maxime Leforestier, Marie-Michèle Desrosiers and Isabelle Boulay. Several people may also recall his exploits in the LNI (National Improvisation League), as a TV host on the small screen at TV5 (Studio TV5), Radio-Canada (ADISQ galas) and again in the movie theatres as an actor (Monsieur Zolock, Le dernier glacier, Mon amie Max). In 2003, he tried his hand in yet another one of the performing arts, namely musical comedy, stepping into the shoes of an aviator in the stage adaptation of the Petit Prince by Saint-Exupéry.

On several occasions, Michel Rivard was honoured with awards at the ADISQ Gala, amongst others, the Félix for the best performance script of the year in 1980; the Félix for the best videoclip for the song Rumeur sur la ville, in 1985; the Félix for writer-composer of the year and pop album of the year, in 1987; the Félix for the best show and performer of the year. The Académie Charles Cros awarded him the International Grand Prize for a Recording in 1988. In the fall of 2004, the ADISQ Gala paid him the ultimate tribute by awarding him an honorary Félix paying homage to his 30-year lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

Named a companion of the Ordre national du Québec, in 2005, Michel Rivard is one of the most respected and admired writer-composer-performers in the Province of Quebec.

 In 2007, Michel Rivard was inducted into the Music Stars section of the CAB Hall of Fame.

Written by Pip Wedge - October, 2007

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