Great moments of clarity |  Inside the mind of Jean Leloup

Great moments of clarity | Inside the mind of Jean Leloup

Within great moments of clarity, journalist Olivier Boisvert-Magnen explores Jean Leloup’s creative process in depth. An exhaustive journey in ten discs, in which the main interested party did not participate, but which offers a fascinating light on the character.

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joseph lapointe

joseph lapointe

The project


Jean Leloup performing in 1990

It was the editor of Les Malins, Marc-André Audet, who asked the journalist Olivier Boisvert-Magnen to write a book on Jean Leloup. The project was to make a biography, but given the silence of the singer in the face of his repeated requests for an interview, he had to change his angle. “I decided to start at the beginning of his musical career, his first contact with the public when he won the Granby International Chanson Festival in 1983. Thus was born the idea of ​​a kind of hypersearched musicography, in which the birth of each record is subject of a long report, practically song by song. To do this, Olivier Boisvert-Magnen spoke with dozens of Leloup employees, both early and recent. They feed a story that will delight the addicted who like to know what kind of microphone was used for one song or how another was mixed. However, through all these details emerge the contours of the creator and of man. “I learned to discover him more, in his doubts and questions and also in his moments of genius and madness. We understand the humanity of him, what it is to be an artist. »


Author Olivier Boisvert-Magnen signs the book great moments of clarity

The portrait


Jean Leclerc announcing the end of Jean Leloup in 2005.

“There are personal anecdotes I didn’t want to go into, unless they were helpful in understanding an event or a song,” explains Olivier Boisvert-Magnen. Family and love relationships are addressed, as well as bipolarity and addictions. But since creation and life are intimately linked for Jean Leloup, the stories surrounding albums and tours, often epic, reveal both his strengths and his weaknesses. We see an eternal dissatisfied person who likes to work in chaos and who fears like the plague being swallowed by the system. And we discover an artist as stimulating, unifying and stimulating as he is demanding and unpredictable, who demands absolute availability from those who work with him and who has the annoying habit of abandoning people along the way. “There are also stories of loyalty, but it is true that there is a leitmotif. He makes music with someone for a while. He then gets a new trip, goes into the studio or goes on tour, and the person disappears from his life. “Painful breakups, but most have been forgiven because the singer took them out of their comfort zone and changed their lives. “I wanted testimonials from him because they are an integral part of his work. And that breaks the myth of the singer-songwriter. »



Jean Leloup during a photo session in 2008

Choosing an album-by-album analysis, the journalist did not think the vein would be so rich. “He was always reacting to his previous album. Each one is a musical universe, sometimes poetic, even if the themes are repeated. And each one is colored by different musical encounters. He didn’t think it was right now. But if he feeds on others, Leloup also has “a depth” to which he always returns. “His essence of him is always the same: a guy with his ‘guit.” The author asked artists from all walks of life to testify to the influence he had on them, from Klô Pelgag to Loud to Dumas. It is also Hubert Lenoir -no, it is not an innocent choice- who signs the preface. “He transcended generations and musical styles,” observes Olivier Boisvert-Magnen. How does he explain it? “He never fit the mold. But also because of his songs, which had a pop structure and allowed him to reach the whole world. His irreverent side, he recalls, was more evident in his public appearances: you can see it in the many quotes that dot the book, drawn from interviews given over the last 30 years. “His songs are his famous great moments of lucidity, where he is able to create something concise and structured. »

The wolf


During the acoustic concert the ghost of paradise city at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in December 2015

It is inevitable, Olivier Boisvert-Magnen’s book makes you want to listen to Jean Leloup again. All Jean Leloup. And he is very happy with it. “Beyond his greatest hits, there are pearls on all of his albums,” says the author, who noticed that the five most listened to songs by Leloup on Spotify come from five different albums. “It’s crazy to see how this is not the story of just two albums. Of course, he would like to know what he thinks of the book: the singer was in Costa Rica during the entire writing process, but he would have returned to Montreal when he was putting the finishing touches last spring. “He’s not a nostalgic guy and I feel like he really doesn’t like people who love him too much. The book is basically two things that don’t trip him up.” Three and a half years after the release of the strange country, can we expect something new? “I think so. We know what usually happens when she’s been gone for a long time. When she came back with Paradise City, we knew that it was not going to end, that he was always going to be able, until his death, to come looking for us with good songs. »

Jean Leloup – Great moments of lucidity

Jean Leloup – Great moments of lucidity

the smart boys

312 pages

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