Éric LapointeView in iTunes
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With his 1994 breakthrough single "Terre Promise," Éric Lapointe emerged from virtual anonymity to become one of the most popular Francophone singers of his generation. Born September 28, 1969, in Pointes-Aux-Trembles, Quebec, Lapointe acquired his first guitar at age nine, and a year later wrote his first songs. By 15, he was playing local clubs, ultimately capturing the attention of Yves-François Blanchet, president of the Quebec record industry association ADISQ, who agreed to become his manager. Lapointe continued touring clubs and colleges while supporting himself via odd jobs including swimming pool technician, garbage collector, and credit card salesman. An industry showcase at Montreal's Club Soda resulted in a record deal with the Disques Gamma label, and in 1994 he issued his Aldo Nova-produced debut, Obsession. Although radio programmers initially dismissed the album on grounds that Lapointe's rich, gravelly vocals and two-fisted rock sensibilities clashed with the prevailing mentality of folk-dominated Francophone pop, the music video for the debut single, "Terre Promise," nevertheless emerged as a major fan favorite and vaulted the singer to stardom. Obsession was later certified platinum, and he earned two Félix Awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and for Best Rock Album. After opening a pair of Paris dates for the Rolling Stones, Lapointe finally issued his 1996 follow-up. Invitez les Vautours was another smash, claiming another Félix for Best Rock Album and launching the hits "Loadé Comme un Gun," "Le Screw," and "Les Boys." À l'Ombre de l'Ange followed in 1999 and proved Lapointe's biggest hit to date, earning five Félix Awards and generating the chart-topping "Mon Ange." In 2002, he returned with his first live album, the two-disc Adrénaline. He spent the next two years a fixture of the headlines, first for a 2002 drug arrest and then for a 2004 domestic violence charge. Ironically, the cover of the subsequent LP Coupable features Lapointe with his hands against a stone wall, facing arrest. In 2005 he turned to acting, co-starring as criminal Johnny "Le Chat" Charland in the TVA television series Le Negociateur. A year later, Lapointe contributed the smash single "Tatoo" to the film Bon Cop Bad Cop. ~ Jason Ankeny