Clément Jacques

Singer-songwriter
Montréal

I’m going to give a beast of a performance, I can’t help it! I’m always stressed out before going on stage or at the beginning of a show. I don’t always know what the stage, the venue and the crowd will look like. Still today, there are venue managers who book me having only heard my name or one of my songs on the radio without knowing who Clément Jacques really is. There are also people who have a membership at a specific venue and who show up without even knowing what kind of music I play. They’re in for a surprise!

"Then I quit everything and dropped out of school to focus on my career as a musician."

Because even though I always try to adapt to the crowd and the atmosphere of the venue, I’m going to give a beast of a performance. I can’t help it. My albums are not just slow, romantic tunes, the crowd also deserves to rock a little.

What you don’t know is that, I used to play a lot of rock and punk music. In high school, my friends and I were all in bands. We used to listen to Pennywise and play Red Hot Chili Peppers, that’s what we thought was cool. After that, I studied music at Cégep d’Alma and at Université Laval, while continuing to play small gigs here and there. At that time, I was more into lighter folk music.

Then I quit everything and dropped out of school to focus on my career as a musician. I’ve never stopped recording albums and going on tours ever since. But even now, I’m still doing other jobs on the side. I have a cabinetmaking workshop where I like to help out friends who have manual work to have done. Working with my hands keeps me calm. I need that balance deep down.

"We laugh together, we party hard together, we’re exhausted together."

After four albums and a lot of time spent on the road, touring, I realize that I’ve been in this business for a long time. Yet, I think I’ll never get tired of touring. When you spend that much time together on the road in a van, you get to sense how the others feel, on stage and when joking around (no one else gets our inside jokes, by the way). We laugh together, we party hard together, we’re exhausted together. There’s something magical about doing it from city to city, for weeks on end.

This reminds me of a show I’ll never forget. After driving for several hours, we got on a little boat to a small island at sea. We knew we had a gig there, but we didn’t know what to expect. Once we got there, there was a crowd of maybe 70 people who were waiting for us outside, on the beach, right before this large lighthouse. We played a very intimate show right there. It was so spectacular yet cozy at the same time.

We’re not living like rock stars, but we still have fun. And besides, we’ve got so many funny and weird stories. I can’t even think of one in particular. It’s weird to get back to the rat race, it takes a few days to get used to it and feel like “normal” people.

"I try to come up with lyrics and a few songs, but when we get to the studio, that’s when the magic happens."

Even though touring and playing shows is an awesome life, nature will always be a part of me. It’s in my DNA. I was born in Saguenay and I often go back there to hang out with my friends. We go riding ATVs in the woods, work on our cars, laugh. I’m not that complicated.

It’s different from when you’re recording in a music studio. I like to go to a hunting camp on a lakeside with my bandmates. There’s no electricity, no running water. Just a generator, a cooler and lots of beer. That’s it. I try to come up with lyrics and a few songs, but when we get to the studio, that’s when the magic happens. Inspiration comes when it’s time to record. Just like that.

Even though the business side of things, going on live radio, awards shows, interviews, magazines, is not what I like the most, it’s still something we must do. At the end of the day, what I want is to go on tours, record albums and play shows so people can enjoy my music!

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