Voisine, Roch

Roch Voisine, singer (born 26 March 1963 in Edmundston, NB). A talented junior hockey player with the Quebec Ramparts, Voisine eyed a professional hockey career until a knee injury ended his playing days at age 18. Voisine went to the University of Ottawa, where he began to write songs. He appeared on Québec TV as the host of a variety show for teenagers, Top jeunesse, but he gained his first real exposure on the TV series He Shoots, He Scores.

He recorded his first album in 1989. Hélène was a big success in Québec and a major success in France. It sold over 1 million copies and Voisine was awarded the Victoire trophy for the best album in the French-speaking world. Double, released in 1990, made Voisine one of Europe's biggest pop stars and earned him another Victoire trophy. Voisine recorded I'll Always Be There, his first all-English album in 1993. The album sold more than 400 000 copies across Canada and landed him the role of host at the 1994 JUNO AWARDS, where he was named Canada's top male vocalist. Following an extensive tour in support of the French-language Coup de tête album, released domestically on the Select-distributed Star Records label, Voisine signed a multimillion-dollar deal with BMG International with the intention of elevating his status in the United States to the same levels he enjoys at home and in Europe. The first album under the new arrangement, Kissing Rain, was released in late 1996 and earned Voisine Juno nominations for male vocalist and album of the year. It sold more than 100 000 copies in Canada.

When the Kissing Rain tour came to an end in December 1997, Voisine started work on his first French album in 5 years, Chaque Feu, which came out in Canada and France in 1999 and was supported by a European tour. The singer recorded two Christmas albums, one in English and another in French, the next year. A self-titled release followed in 2001 and Higher came out the next year. Another French album titled Je te serai fidele, featuring 6 new songs and 9 revamped versions of past hits, was issued in 2003.

While Voisine's popularity in English Canada may have declined somewhat in recent years, he remains a major star in Québec and Europe and his overall record sales are well into the millions. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received numerous international awards and honours. Voisine has done a considerable amout of charitable work on behalf of UNICEF.