As a pioneer, a performer, a radio and television host and artist, Lucille Dumont has served and personified Quebec popular music throughout her long career. With integrity and passion, she has lent her voice to countless emerging Quebec songwriters, often being the first to sing their songs.
Before embarking on a musical career, Lucille Dumont worked under pianist/organist/composer Léo Le Sieur, making her professional debut on October 16, 1935 on Sweet Caporal, a radio show he was then producing. She was 16. The same year, she became host of Linger Awhile, and then of Two Messengers of Melody with her mentor playing the great organ of James S. Ogilvy’s Tudor Hall, a remarkable instrument that sounded at its very best when Le Sieur broke into jazz.
Then came the CKAC period with Chantons en Choeur, which she cohosted with Jean Lalonde; Paris Swing, where she explored jazz; and the long lived Sans cérémonie, Café Concert Kraft and Qui aura le dernier mot. Radio-Canada soon followed suit, inviting her to participate in, and frequently to host, variety shows such as Variétés Françaises, Rêverie, Sur les boulevards, Le moulin qui jazze, Le p’tit bal des copains, Connaissezvous la musique, Tambour Battant and Hier, aujourd’hui.
Gifted with a warm and caressing voice, Madame Dumont turned to the French repertoire from her early professional years. In April 1945, as part of a War Loan Drive concert, she gave the Quebec premiere of Insensiblement, written and composed by the renowned French songwriter Paul Misraki, under guest conductor Ray Ventura. Insensiblement met with astounding success. Ventura, who was not only a major musical star in France, but also a producer, expressed interest in taking the young performer on a French tour, but Dumont had to decline the invitation as it came only two months before her planned wedding to Radio-Canada sports commentator Jean Maurice Bailly.
In 1947, the readers of Radiomonde elected Lucille Dumont “Miss Radio,” making her the first singer to carry that title. In 1950, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of her musical career, she was named “Grande Dame de la Chanson” by CKVL’s Jean Baulu. The title stuck with her audience although the artist herself never acknowledged it in spite of the fact that she symbolized an entire era of Quebec song.
A subtle performer and always a class act, Lucille Dumont was at the birth of Quebec television, being part of Radio-Canada’s first Variété, Café des Artistes in 1952, followed by Feux de joie, Frères d’Armes and À la romance through three consecutive hockey seasons.
The twentieth, fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries of her career were marked in Quebec media by special programs highlighting her enduring career.
In 1957, Dumont won Radio-Canada’s National Canadian Song Competition for Le Ciel se marie avec la mer, written by the underrated singer songwriter Jacques Blanchet. In 1962, with another Blanchet song, Tête heureuse, she won second prize at a competition sponsored by the Brussels program Chansons sur mesure. From then on, Dumont continued to promote the Quebec songwriters she strongly believed in and to perform their songs with unshakeable faith and conviction.
From 1961 to 1974, Dumont hosted Intimité, Entre nous et moi and Histoire d’une étoile, where she welcomed French luminaries such as Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Gilbert Bécaud and Charles Trenet, to name only a few. Her next show, Le temps d’aimer, was a meeting place for actors, singers and variety artists who provided a wide range of entertainment for a diversified audience.
In 1968, Dumont turned to a new passion—teaching. At Atelier de la Chanson, a school she created, she began teaching the essential arts of voice, elocution, performance, gestures and positioning, a role she continues to play with unabated interest 37 years later.
Through her career, Lucille Dumont played Comédie Canadienne, Place des Arts, the “boîte à chanson” music clubs and selected cabarets while being a frequent guest artist in various Maisons de la Culture.
Dumont wound down her career in 1999 without regret or bitterness, thanking her lucky stars for having been born under the Capricorn sign.
Lucille Dumont was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999 and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2001.