Yvan Dufresne was a central figure in the Quebec record industry as early as the 1950s. It was in 1957, at the Hotel Central, in Chomedey, Laval, that he discovered a young singer that would become known to Quebecers as Michel Louvain. As manager, he suggested the recording of Louvain’s first song entitled Buenas noches mi Amor. From 1958 to 1962, Yvan Dufresne was named Artistic Director at Apex Records and, a few years later, he spotted another young Quebecois talent who would impact the music scene.
Working at first as an acrobat, followed as a lighting technician and finally as a bodyguard for Michel Louvain, a young Donald Lautrec was already gravitating towards the Quebecois artistic scene when Yvan Dufresne propelled the young man towards a brilliant career as a pop singer.
Yvan Dufresne produced records for many of the top artists of the day, playing an active part in shaping the era’s cultural panorama. Ginette Reno, Pierre Lalonde, the Hou-Lops, Jacques Michel, Tony Roman and Chantal Renaud are among the many artists who would benefit from Yvan Dufresne’s valuable guidance, reputation and shrewdness.
A pioneer in the promotion of his protégés’ talents, Yvan Dufresne recognized the possibilities offered by the new and exhilarating medium of television. Excited by the success music was experiencing south of the border, he encouraged Quebec artists to record French adaptations of American pop songs and cultivate the many new jazzy, frenzied and lively, soft and undulating rhythms of the current musical styles.
As a result, Quebecois artists began a great ascent and created, thanks to numerous appearances on television, a craze worthy of the Beatles or Elvis! Crooners, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, all the North American musical styles were now being adapted to the Quebecois market.
Yvan Dufresne remained a figurehead in the record industry for several decades. He was President and General Manager of Jupiter Records from 1963 to 1970, Director of London Records from 1970 to 1979 and General Manager of DISCOTEL from 1979 to 1983. That same year, he became director at Éditions Beau Rivage and Bleu Rivage, a position he held until 1987. In 1981 and 1982, he also acted as Chairman of the Board of Directors of l’ADISQ.
Yvan Dufresne is also well known for his contribution to the fight against AIDS. In 1994, two of his friends died from the disease and Yvan was deeply affected. He was actively to research and created the Fonds de recherche pour l’étude sur le Sida Québec (FRESQ).