“Clémence DesRochers is our Joni Mitchell”

She has sung some of the greatest repertoires, from Starmania to Les Misérables , including Le blues d'la métropole . The immortals, the so-called untouchables, Sophie Day knows them. And they don't intimidate him. As proof, she is now revisiting the repertoire of the great Clémence DesRochers … in her own way.

It's been a long time – almost 20 years, in fact – that the project has been sleeping in Sophie Day. While participating in the singing competition of Petite-Vallée, in Gaspésie, the singer had to take a song by Clémence DesRochers.

But why choose just one? Sophie Day, then known as Sophie Tremblay, selected a handful, which she rearranged into a medley . And it is clear that our national Clemency will have brought her good fortune: the young singer won the competition that would propel her career.

A “huge” heritage

Then the years passed, bringing Sophie Day to the world of jazz and musicals. Full day of melancholy finally came back to her, at random, while she was giving a concert in Old Montreal. Quickly, it was the entire repertoire of Clémence DesRochers that resurfaced in her memories.

“I felt really inspired by all of his work. I have been strongly influenced in my career by Joni Mitchell – I cannot deny it -, and I realize with hindsight that Clémence DesRochers is her Quebec equivalent. She doesn't compose her melodies, it's true, but in terms of writing, she's our Joni Mitchell, ”says Sophie Day.

The singer is also of the opinion that the musical heritage of Clémence DesRochers is particularly neglected today.

“His contribution to Quebec culture is enormous. Huge. She influenced Michel Tremblay, Luc Plamondon, Yvon Deschamps … She was a pioneer on many levels and I find it unfortunate that her contribution is not better recognized, ”she says.

This may be about to change with the album Clémence , launched yesterday. Sophie Day revisits 10 titles there, sometimes solo, sometimes in the company of voices such as Bruno Pelletier, Étienne Dupuis or even Catherine Major.

Modernize without altering

The words of Clémence DesRochers are therefore now accompanied by a very different – more modern – musical coating, tinged with the jazz inspirations so characteristic of the universe of Sophie Day.

Risky, as a bet? Certainly. Some purists might object to seeing the works of Clémence DesRochers transformed in this way. But Sophie Day never sought to distort them.

“I changed the coating, but not the melodies. In fact, I didn't see the point in remaking these songs exactly as they were; Clémence DesRochers is a great performer, very touching, so there was no point in trying to recreate what she did. I wanted to take the songs into my world and revisit them in my own way, ”explains the singer.

Even before arriving on the market, his initiative had been well received by Clémence DesRochers herself. Although she did not hear the album in its entirety, the 86-year-old grande dame shared on social media her appreciation of It smells like springtime , the Sophie Day and Étienne Dupuis cover launched earlier this year. .

“I can't really say that this is his seal of approval yet. But it's a good start, isn't it? Sophie Day says.

The album Clémence is on the market now.

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