Many musicians claim that they were inspired to pursue music as a career thanks to their upbringing. In the case of French musician Alexandre Poulin, it was clear that both upbringing and destiny were going to help push him towards a career in music.
“I was surrounded by music in my household,” Poulin says. “My father played guitar, my mother played the accordion and my brother played the violin. So not only was I surrounded by my family playing music but we also listened to a lot of music in our house.”
Asked what music could often be found playing as he grew up, Poulin recites a laundry list of artists and genres that would go on to fuel his own creativity many years later:
“My father was into a lot of country music but also really enjoyed Bob Dylan and a lot of the American folk musicians of the 1960s. My mother, on the other hand, was into a lot of French music, bands like Beau Dommage and Harmonium.”
Poulin can further trace his musical inspiration to when he started playing the guitar at the age of eight. He says that after endlessly bugging his father to show him how to play the guitar, his father sat him down one day and showed him three chords. Poulin recalls his father telling his son that he would be able to play a wealth of songs by knowing these three specific chords. At that point, the seed was officially cemented.
“My father bought a lot of guitars when I was growing up and he eventually graduated to playing 12-string guitars, so he loaned me one of his old six-strings and it was on that which I learned how to play.”
Just before starting university in 1997, Poulin released his debut CD independently and followed that up with a second disc in 2000. Balancing school commitments with the desire to pursue music full-time, he ended up touring throughout Quebec, eventually landed a weekly residency at the Chateau Bromont in Bromont, Que. where he was fortunate enough to be playing for new crowds on a weekly basis. Poulin’s hard work would pay off and help him to sell an impressive 5,000 compact discs as an independent artist before jumping on board with Montreal record label Disques Victoire.
Two records later, Poulin’s career is showing no signs of slowing down. This past October, he released his newest record Une lumiere allumee, following up his self-titled Victoire debut of 2008.
“So far, my new record has been very well received. I am quite pleased with how things have been going. It can be a lot of pressure to follow up a successful album but luckily for me, it has been both critics and my audience that have received the album so well. I have never written songs specifically to please critics but it is always nice to have them on board with what you are doing,” he says.
Alexandre Poulin will be performing at the Université de Moncton’s Café Campus on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. The show is open to UofM students as well as the general public.
Article published in January 21, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript