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Music

Soleil Launière wins the Francouvertes: “It means a lot to me as an Indigenous artist”

Meet the Innu artist, big winner of the 2024 edition of the showcase-competition, who is the first Indigenous artist to win since the Quebec music competition started allowing submissions in Indigenous languages.

Soleil Launière

Soleil Launière

Jaime Antonio Luna Quezada

Soleil Launière has won the 28th edition of Francouvertes, becoming the first Indigenous artist to win the Quebec-based music competition.

The multidisciplinary Innu artist from Mashteuiatsh, Quebec won the grand final of the musical showcase on Monday, May 13. The Montreal-based artist edged out rapper Sensei H and maximalist rock singer-songwriter Loïc Lafrance.


Soleil Launière was able to convince the jury — made up of professionals from the Quebec music industry — and the public. They voted after a grandiose and eloquent performance where French, English, Innu-aimun, and a language invented by Soleil Launière were combined.

Soleil Launière's performance during this final, co-hosted by Isabelle Ouimet and Mantisse, was monumental. It was the first time an Indigenous artist has made it to this final stage, let alone win. Projects in Indigenous languages have only been accepted at Francouvertes since 2022.

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Soleil Launière’s first album Taueu, which could be translated as “in the centre,” was released last fall. She tells the story of femininity, gender identity and matriarchy to the rhythm of soul, roots, pop and experimental melodies in a process of reappropriation of cultural identity and language.

Billboard Canada spoke to the artist about what the win means.

How do you feel after this victory at the Francouvertes? How do you view this adventure which has just ended after two months of competition?


I am stunned, but also really moved and proud, full of joy! Now we have to let it all go down and realize that we have just won. There are a lot of positives to take away. I found the wait between the semi-final and the final a little long, but I am happy to have been able to meet some great people. I had great discussions with incredible artists and also received incredible support from the communities.

Could you tell us a little more about what happens behind the scenes during the Francouvertes?

There is a great energy and we don’t really feel the competition, at least I didn’t feel it like that. On the contrary, I had the impression that we supported each other and that we were there to put on a good show. Ultimately, all the projects that were part of the Francouvertes deserved to be there and could have deserved to win just as much. I respect each artist and their work and everything we accomplished during the whole process. I'm very happy to have more people around me now.

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What do the Francouvertes represent artistically for you?


It means a lot to me as an Indigenous musical artist in Quebec. Three years ago, I would not have been able to take part in the competition, so winning the Francouvertes means a lot. I say to myself “OK, we’re here” and I hope that this will open the doors so that we can participate in other competitions, because we have our place in these competitions. I didn't win just because I'm Indigenous, but because we offer something very interesting that affects everyone.

There were a lot of emotions at Montreal's Club Soda during your performance in the final. Did you expect such sharing with the public?

Yes, it was really intense and very beautiful. I felt so supported, like I was in a cocoon. People were receptive, present in the moment with me. I felt so much love during the show. It was magical. I had never played at Club Soda, but on stage I realized that you could see people clearly everywhere, the lighting was made for that. To see everyone, to feel surrounded, that we are together, I really liked that.

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How do you prepare for a Francouvertes final?


We said to ourselves that we were going with our hearts. The group I play with [the musicians from CHANCES and Simon Walls], is family. We give everything we have. It's funny, because after the finale, I came home and my baby was crying so I gave him his bottle and put him back to bed. Reality is catching up with us in a good way. Before leaving, we had great discussions with my family and that’s also what Francouvertes is about: preparing the whole family for what’s happening. That’s why it’s also in the heart. It’s part of a whole and it’s bigger than us.

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Is the end of Francouvertes the start of something new for you?


Yes, it's the end of the shows, but now it's time for the interviews that come with victory. Afterwards, there are several shows coming up. With all the awards we've won, I think there's going to be a lot of movement. We are super receptive and open to what comes next, to see how things will unfold. Things have already started to move. I think the Francouvertes really made it possible to reach people outside of Montreal. I've been traveling to Montreal for a long time with my other performance and theatre art projects in particular. As music affects the public differently, I would say that the Francouvertes has opened doors, that’s for sure. I can already see the excitement around the project.

What's next for you?

In addition to the concerts planned for this summer, there is a mixture of art forms that continues to unfold for me. And then as we gained studio hours with the Francouvertes, it’s certain that there will be new music. Ideas are flowing through our heads, we have to discuss what we want to do with it. There will eventually be an album coming. There might be some surprises!

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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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