French-Canadian singer/songwriter Lynda Lemay has been a star in her native Quebec since the early '90s, and also has a large following in Europe, where her playful, poignant writing style is appreciated for its compassionate, literate, and often humorous approach to both the large and small requirements of contemporary life. With a novelist's eye for detail and an endearing ability to make light of her own phobias, Lemay writes melodic songs (almost always sung in French) that are fast becoming national treasures in Canada, and her popularity in France stems from her clear understanding of the French chanson tradition.
Lemay was born on July 25, 1966, and grew up in Portneuf near the St. Lawrence River outside Quebec City. She showed an early affinity for writing and poetry, and penned her first song by the age of nine. She learned to play the guitar in her teens and won the top spot in the Quebec en Chansons Song Competition by the time she was 18. Lemay concentrated on other literary pursuits (including a novel) after graduating from high school, eventually returning to music in the late '80s, soon becoming a regular on Quebec's "bars à chansons" circuit. She began to draw label interest after she won the Best Singer/Songwriter award in 1989's Granby Song Contest with her song "La Veilleuse." She released her first album, Nos Reves, in 1991. Her second release, Y, featuring music arrangements by Marc Perusse, followed in 1994, and was a huge success, eventually going double platinum.
Lemay married the Franco-Canadian comedian Patrick Huard in 1995. She toured Europe in 1996 and released an EP of mostly live tracks, La Viste, that same year. The release of her third album, Lynda Lemay, came in 1998, followed by a full-length live set in 1999. Du Cog à l'Ame appeared in 2000 and a second live set, Les Lettres Rouges, came out in 2002. A seventh album, Les Secrets des Oiseaux, appeared in 2003. Always a versatile writer, Lemay has also composed a folk opera, Un Eternel Hiver, which was staged in France in 2005. Un Paradis Quelque Part, her eighth album, was released that same year.
2006 saw the release both of a new studio record, Ma Signature, and the CD of Un Eternel Hiver. The next year she played a series of sold-out shows at Paris's famous Olympia venue, which were recorded and issued on the live disc 40/40. The studio albums Allo C'est Moi in 2008 and Blessée in 2010 were followed by her first Best Of compilation in 2011. ~ Steve Leggett