Émile Bilodeau: daring to speak up to make things happen

Opening the dialogue without having to be perfect: this is what Émile Bilodeau is aiming for.

Émile Bilodeau: daring to speak up to make things happen

Opening the dialogue without having to be perfect: this is what Émile Bilodeau is aiming for. The desire to see things move thrills the singer-songwriter who has almost as many upcoming projects as ideas for a better life in our beautiful Quebec.

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We can say that Émile Bilodeau had a very creative pandemic. The one who turns 26 on June 28 first launched Petite nature in October 2021, an album produced and enhanced by Philippe Brault. He then returned to the studio in May 2021 to create All Alone Like a Big One, an album on which he alone takes care of all the instruments he will present this fall. Then, in March 2022, he recorded Au bord des espoirs, a very dense opus – comprising 20 songs – which will be released in the fall of 2023.

“The idea was simply to get up to work, explains the artist who wanted to keep busy during the pandemic. I created an environment, a kind of laboratory to have fun. »

Many projects

The singer from Longueuil is certainly busy as he resumes his role as spokesperson for the Festival Go vélo Montréal for the third time; a great series of cycling events to be held from May 29 to June 5.

“I ride a bike because I am eco-anxious, explains the man who moves as much as possible on two wheels in everyday life and on tour. I feel really good between the two ears when I can get around on my bike. I don't have a driver's license. Then there are a lot of “little” beers to music... Cycling allows me to keep in shape and invest in my future self. With this project, we can encourage people to get around Montreal by bike. »

Accustomed to festivals, the musician is also happy to resume a tour of outdoor shows across Quebec this summer. Among these, the Festival d’été de Québec with Ariane Moffatt, the Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée with Paul Piché and the famous Francos de Montréal during a free outdoor show on June 13. He will share the stage with his friends Scott-Pien Picard, the Innu music group Maten, Elisapie Isaac and Laura Niquay.

If a certain music festival in the Gaspé has been removed from its schedule, it will be remembered that it is because Émile had voluntarily withdrawn from an all-male program last March.

"I found it unfortunate that in 2022 out of 13 groups, there are 13 groups of guys," he explains. I took steps, I was offered solutions that were too weak in my opinion. We talk a lot about the place of women in all fields, and in music there are studies that explain the lack of confidence of women artists because of systems like that. I felt bad and complicit in this, so I decided to leave. »

As it was France D'Amour who inherited her place in the program, Émile says he is happy to have contributed to changing things, in his own way. Because models of women on stage, it takes a lot for young musicians to believe in them, he insists.

go write somewhere else

The singer-songwriter has another big project. A tour called Last Call in 2023-2024, a sort of farewell tour highlighting his last year of festivals. Because Émile has desires elsewhere. In 2025, he will move to France for two years and wants to use this European pied-à-terre (his production house is in Lyon) to travel around the world.

"I wonder what I'm going to be able to write abroad, alone," said the man who learned that the song When men will live with love had been written by Raymond Lévesque in France. "Could I write my When Men Live on Love? For that, I think I have to change my environment. “For the moment, it is the piece Fleuve which will act as a farewell song.

The author also wants to try to write without time limits. Perhaps a Pierre Falardeau-style pamphleteer's book that would include chronicles and songs that are certainly committed... Because at the dawn of his 30th birthday, he wants to point out the things he has done and the why of his militant choices of recent years. He also wants to question his goals and what he could have done better.

Does he see himself as a revolutionary? "I think people ask my opinion because I have something to say, but I don't feel like being made a model to follow," he replies. I'm a very involved guy and if someone calls me to talk about ecology, Quebec sovereignty, minorities and the place of women in music, I'll do it. »

Émile Bilodeau will be at several festivals this summer, including the Francos de Montréal on June 13 and the Festival d'été de Québec on July 10.