Daniel Bélanger

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Electro-folk singer/songwriter Daniel Bélanger emerged from obscurity in 1992 to become one of the most acclaimed and popular Québecois artists of his generation. Born in Montreal in 1962, Bélanger first attracted attention in 1983 with the group Humphrey Salade. Despite a fervent following on the local club scene, the band never recorded, and after its demise he mounted a solo career, competing in the Rock Envol de la SRC contest with limited success. Bélanger remained a fixture of the Montreal club circuit throughout the remainder of the decade, finally landing a record deal in 1991 — his debut effort, Les Insomniaques S'Amusent, followed a year later and vaulted its creator to overnight fame on the strength of the lead single “Opium,” which spent seven weeks atop the Québecois charts. Drawing on influences spanning from alternative rock to electronic music to traditional folk, Les Insomniaques S'Amusent ultimately sold more than 100,000 copies on its way to claiming France’s coveted Prix SACEM as well as four Félix Awards. Bélanger’s follow-up, Quatre Saisons dans le Désordre, was four years in the making — the lead single “Les Deux Printemps” nevertheless spent more than six months on the Québecois charts, while the album itself went gold in its first week of release. Bélanger’s next project was 1999′s three-disc live set Tricycle. Its 2001 studio follow-up, Rêver Mieux, was his most experimental effort to date, channeling inspiration from contemporaries including Radiohead and Air, but still achieving platinum status. Déflaboxe was even more challenging, embracing sampling, jazz, and even a bit of rapping. Finally, in 2007 Bélanger returned to his folk roots with L'Échec du Matériel. ~ Jason Ankeny