Year Inducted: 2017
Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Stéphane Venne made his mark as one of the most brilliant songwriters of his generation.
He started as a songster in the mid sixties while also composing a few movie soundtracks and writing for other artists, notably Renée Claude. He also adapted a sizeable number of French versions of American hits for pop artists. Indeed, he was the first to break down the barriers between songsters and pop artists. His destiny changed when his song Un jour, un jour was chosen as the official theme song of the 1967 Universal Expo, and from that point on, he devoted all of his energy to being a writer, composer and producer, quite a feat at the time.
Stéphane Venne writes various styles of music, often using quite rhythmic pop arrangements, yet with “songster” lyrics. And he knows how to pick the best artists for his songs. He wrote over 50 songs for Renée Claude, including classics like Le tour de la terre, Le début d’un temps nouveau and Tu trouveras la paix. He also penned over a dozen songs for Isabelle Pierre, including Les enfants de l’avenir and Le temps est bon. He also contributed nearly thirty songs to Emmanuelle’s repertoire, notably Le monde à l’envers and Et c’est pas fini. Beside his go-to artists, Stéphane Venne also wrote for his friend Donald Lautrec and even penned an entire album for Pierre Lalonde, a pop idol of the ’60s.
In parallel, he created the Sol-7 record label in 1972 with a few partners and was also at the head of many memorable events such as the Super Francofête in 1974 and Chant’Août, the following year. In April of 1977, he launched the radio station CIEL FM, entirely dedicated to Francophone music and he presided of SOCAN in 1977–1978. His songs have won countless awards in Québec and Canada.
In the mid ’80s, he left music behind to work in various private and public communications roles. His famous song Et c’est pas fini was picked as the theme for the televised talent contest “Star Académie” in 2002, and this kick-started his music career again. He wrote for the contest’s winner, Marie-Élaine Thibert, a whole album of songs including the hit Le ciel est à moi. Then in 2010, he started writing again for Brigitte Marchand, once more demonstrating his originality and profound understanding of the feminine sensibility.
Stéphane Venne is a true goldsmith. Even his lesser-known songs are little lyrical gems wrapped in fine-tuned and polished arrangements and melodies one has to listen to over and over to fully appreciate. They are unlike anything else and earned him a well-deserved place in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.