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Bruno Pelletier | balance time

“In my head, I’m the biggest impostor alive,” Bruno Pelletier sings in the first excerpt from his album. …because the time has come, to be published in the fall. “I knew that phrase was going to make people react,” he confesses to me, when I meet him in a hotel in Old Montreal.

Posted yesterday at 7:15 am

Does Bruno Pelletier suffer from impostor syndrome? “You have to understand it in second grade,” he said. But I pretended to be strong. Much. Today I can say it. »

Pelletier turned 60 on Sunday. The hour of balances for those who take up again this Tuesday night, in the Wilfrid-Pelletier room, the famous role of Gringoire that he created 24 years ago in the musical Notre Dame of Parisand that gave him his greatest success, The time of the Cathedrals.

“I’m anxious,” says the singer. A very simple phrase, which she utters publicly for the first time in her 40-year career. Because she comes from a generation, from a time, from an environment – that of the bar circuit – where these things were minimized.

“It’s unsettling to go on stage and say to yourself: ‘I don’t think I can’, when everyone behind you is convinced that you are going to shake the house. I said I was nervous, but it was anxiety. »

He fell ill, sometimes without sleep for days at a time, for fear of disappointing the public. “He’s calmed down a bit over the years,” he said. I’ve been through it my whole life through preparation. »

Although he has played the character of Gringoire hundreds of times and knows the repertoire of Notre Dame of Parishe rehearsed the role alone, in his living room, for months, before returning to the Moncton stage in late July (he missed the New York premiere last month).


bruno pelletier

I put pressure on myself, because I’m made that way. But it was clear that he did not want people to buy a ticket to see Bruno Pelletier again in our lady and that I am less good than 24 years ago. I am happy to have done it. He had seven shows to get ready for the return to Montreal. It is not a luxury!

bruno pelletier

We suspect it from the start when we meet him, the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” diet is not part of his day-to-day life as an artist. He keeps fit, watches his voice, avoids air-conditioned places as much as possible. After our interview on Monday morning, he told me he wouldn’t speak until Tuesday’s show.

“I trained for six months to our lady. A possibility that there will be a physio in the program because everything hurts me! I feel like I’m 25 years older. At 35, I was pumping much less! he laughs. In contrast, at age 35, he was less open to the comments and opinions of others. “I was a control freak! “, he admits.

Pelletier is particularly happy to be reunited with Daniel Lavoie – the young people in the company call them the “originals”, as they were in the first version of the show – and to resume the ping-pong match between his Gringoire and Frollo characters, experience, wrinkles and gray hair giving them even more depth, according to him.


Daniel Lavoie and Bruno Pelletier are the “originals” of the cast of Notre Dame of Paris.

“Today people know what they are buying when they come to see me or there. There are those who love you and those who don’t. It’s not serious. It slides off me like water off a duck’s back. »

I point out to this loquacious singer that there is a paradox between the serenity he exudes at 60 and the performance anxiety that has been secretly eating away at him for 40 years. This discrepancy, he tells me, is at the heart of the book of interviews with journalist Samuel Larochelle, The time has come…which will be published in the fall with Libre Expression.

This biographical book, in which he shows his vulnerability more than ever, he says, has inspired a new album of original songs, titled…because the time has comethat he designed practically from scratch. During the pandemic, he saw young artists creating songs themselves in his living room, with his computer, and he said: why not me?

I set up a studio at home. And how I play all the instruments, badly, but all the instruments! – I took my time and made a whole album on my own. I arranged it, directed it, wrote it, composed it, 95%. I’m pretty proud of it!

bruno pelletier

This is the first time that Bruno Pelletier has invested so much in the production of one of his albums, he who has spent four decades stumbling on the highway of entertainment.

“I worked in bars for 10 years, remember. I did all the competitions: The Empire of the Future Stars, Rock Envol, all that, without winning anything. I sent demos to record companies and didn’t even have a receipt. I was in my thirties, had a son, and wondered if I was going to be able to continue. I was not discouraged. »

In 1997, his third album, Miserere, All changed. A year later, with more than 200,000 records sold, a Félix for Pop-Rock Album of the Year (as well as Male Performer of the Year), and the phenomenal success of Notre Dame of Paris, the proposals skyrocketed. France and the United States were interested in him.

“I always say that I managed on my own, because I wasn’t prepared to be in France as often as my record company would have liked. I did not have the success of the post-our lady that Garou knew, for example. Or that of Isabelle Boulay and Lynda Lemay. »

He still filled the most prestigious Parisian salons, including La Cigale and the Olympia, “but one night, not four”, unlike the others, he says. “The biggest stars made other sacrifices that I wasn’t prepared to make. The most modest success is more like me, ”says he, a philosopher.

For 25 years he has been making “sausages” at an international level, as he calls them. One week in South Korea, one week in France, two weeks in the Ukraine, Russia or Poland when possible. When he performs, he has interpreters translate his speeches into the local language. “ Notre Dame of Paris The world opened up for me,” he admits.

Pelletier, whom many knew in the early 1990s in starmaniaprepares to participate in the musical Al Capone by Jean-Félix Lalanne, which will be presented at the Folies Bergères in Paris in January.

the Updown

The change of the sixties, the time of balances, is also the opportunity to take a lucid look at the most hollow periods of a career that endures, but that has known its setbacks, its hard blows and its bad years. . “I’ve seen places with 4,000 people and festivals with 40,000 people, then places with 200 people and festivals that don’t engage you anymore. I have known all this. »

“What do you call it, when you’ve reached the limit of your abilities? Oh yes: the Peter Principle! “While preparing in the mid-2000s the musical draculawhich he co-produced, of which he was artistic director and in which he played the main role, lost his savings, a victim of the swindlers in the Mount Real affair, revealed shortly after the Norbourg affair.

He had invested $240,000 over six years in Mount Real products, at the suggestion of a friend and neighbor who was a financial advisor. He was unaware that the organization operated according to a Ponzi-style pyramid structure. Like 160,000 other investors, he lost everything. ” One year later dracula, it was still burned. I, who cycled 4,000 km in the summer, had barely managed to do 800. I’m not fat and had lost 25 pounds. It was not healthy. »

He often told himself that he was going to leave everything, because the anxiety made him suffer too much. “I am not independent of wealth, but I do not need much to live well. I have always lived like this. Maybe because he was tabarouette poor in his twenties, playing in bars. When success came, the money I had set aside, I lost it to a fraud! »

Today, he is grateful for the opportunity to meet with his audience after the pandemic-enforced hiatus. “There are things you have to accept when you hit 60. If you’re still here, you’re lucky. If someone asks you for an autograph or a selfie, you say thank you. And you accept that you are part of the nostalgia. As Ginette Reno often says: the important thing is to last. »

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