Riding a wave of incredibly positive buzz, singer-songwriter Amélie Beyries ­– BEYRIES to the public – will release her first album in early 2017.

So why talk about it now? Because the self-taught musician will begin a tour in the coming days during which she’ll be able to fine-tune the fine tunes that will appear on that first album. Thus, BEYRIES is heading out West for a string of 10 to 15 small- and mid-sized concerts.

But other than that, why tour now? “Playing and sharing music, meeting new people and getting in touch with oneself through a healthy dose of nature and travelling,” says the young artist. “I’ve wanted to cross Canada for a long time. When we signed with Bonsound, earlier this year, we set up a schedule of what was coming until the album launch, and I realized I really needed stage experience. So crossing Canada seemed like a good way to get it. I also realized I had a lot of accumulated fatigue, and that now was the ideal time to embark on a long trip and take care of myself. It became an ideal project.”

In light of the vast amount of attention she got from the Québec media following the release of her first video, “Soldier,” in early June of 2016, it’s not surprising to see well-established names from the industry reaching out to help her burgeoning career as a songwriter. Such was the case of multi-instrumentalist, arranger, songwriter and jack-of-all-trades Alex McMahon – who offered to produce her album.

“I can honestly say that it’s because of him that there’s an album project underway,” says Beyries. “I wasn’t in top shape when we recorded my EP last summer. I was exhausted and lacked self-confidence, but he supported me and spurred me on. I’m so grateful. He’s got an uncanny talent for making songs shine. We really enjoy working together. I was also privileged to be able to work with my childhood friend Guillaume Chartrain (bass, mix) because he had just started working on other projects with Alex. I was really happy to see him in the studio; it meant a lot to me. Guillaume and I grew up together, he was my first friend. Alex offered to also work with Joseph Marchand (guitars). One could hardly have a better team,” says the singer, adding that she also got the chance to collaborate with Louis-Jean Cormier on the only French song on the album.

“When we finished the EP, we sent it to a few industry people and my songs made to Louis-Jean Cormier’s ears,” she says. “He liked the music and we offered him a new song to record, one I’d written with Maxime Le Flaguais, who wrote the lyrics. Louis-Jean agreed to produce and sing with me. I’m really touched that he accepted doing so; I really admire his talent. That song was my first team collaboration, and the only one in French. It moves me every time I hear it.”

For BEYRIES, this is one of many concrete examples that music can sometimes surprise the unsuspecting. She concludes, visibly happy to have been wrong about the following: “Making music my trade was never an option for me. It has always been something personal that I didn’t share much with the people around me. I chose a more conventional career. That’s what seemed the best decision for me in my early twenties.”

Here’s the latest edition in our series about songwriting collaborators. In this edition, we present one of the most efficient songwriting duos in the Québec pop music scene of at least the past five years, the partnership between songwriter Karim Ouellet and his sidekick, musician and producer Claude Bégin.

Karim OuelletAlways on time, like a Swiss train, Karim Ouellet already awaits us at the café where we’ve agreed to meet for our interview. But where’s Claude? On the road somewhere between his base of Québec City and Montréal. “Claude’s Claude…,” says Ouellet with a knowing grin. “I have doubles for the keys to his studio, so that when we’re supposed to work in the studio and he’s late, I can at least get in and start working on my own.”

OK, so the notion of being on time is widely divergent between those two creative minds, but when it’s time to get busy, Bégin and Ouellet operate as one. All three of the Ouellet’s albums – Plume (2011), Fox (2012) and the brand new Trente – were carefully crafted with the help of Bégin, who also recently launched his own solo career with a debut album, Les Magiciens.

In just five years, thanks to Karim Ouellet’s commercial and critical success, the creative duo has adderted itself as a dominant and rejuvenating force on Québec’s pop scene. Ouellet’s albums, just as Bégin’s album, have a distinctive, fresh and undeniably modern sound; bouncy pop music, with lush electronic colours that hint at their hip-hop upbringing. Karim was a fan of Accrophone, a hip-hop duo of which Bégin was half in the mid-aughts. Their first collaborations hearken back to Movèzerbe’s album Dendrophile (2009), a hip-hop/funk/world collective that also included Boogat and Alaclair Ensemble’s KenLo, also brilliant representatives of Québec City’s music scene.

“Movèzerbe was the first time we worked together on a common project that we really cared about,” explains Ouellet. “I’d worked on some of his songs before, and he’d helped with my first EP. I met Claude in 2005 or 2006 through common friends. Our friendship grew organically.”

“Our sound relies entirely on our method of building hip-hop rhythms and slapping songs written with a guitar on top of them.” — Karim Ouellet

The duo’s methodology is apparent in between the notes of Ouellet’s albums. “Claude has a unique style,” says Ouellet. “He can do many things, but they always have a tinge of hip-hop. It’s all in his technique for building rap beats, using loops, and very distinctive sounds, with layers of sonic elements. He’s been a beatmaker for a long time, and I’ve done my fair share, too. And that – doing rap music – is how we learned the tricks of the trade. His sound, our sound, relies entirely on our method of building hip-hop rhythms and slapping songs written with a guitar on top of them.”

Calude BéginTheir four-handed creative process was more apparent on Ouellet’s first two albums, while for the latest, Trente, “I worked in solo,” he says. “Claude is much more the arranger and producer than a co-creator.”

Dishevelled, with his long-haired mane in disarray, Bégin finally arrives at the café after trying to find parking in the construction cone-littered downtown area for awhile. He’s got a long day ahead of him; after our interview, he’s off to the Quartier des Spectacles to rehearse for the opening concert of the FrancoFolies, which will feature, among others, Alaclair Ensemble, a group of which he’s part.

“Karim is the guy I’m most used to making music with,” says Bégin. “The Alaclair guys have a group mentality, everyone pitches in, everyone comes up with ideas, a beat, a verse; we meet up in my studio and sometimes, I don’t even need to touch anything. With Karim, it’s a give-and-take situation: he comes with his song, his idea, and we know what we need to do, how to get to the final result. His type of tunes, of ideas, with my type of production and arrangements, it just works.

“What defines my style? First, I’d say my vocal harmonies, and then my arrangements. I add layer upon layer of sound elements to my productions, sometimes too many. It’s something I’ve been faulted with. It’s my style, but I’ve been trying to tone it down… Then it’s rap, rhythm programming, I’ve become quite proficient at that. I had a drum set-up in my studio, but I took it down because I barely ever used it anymore. We do pop, but with a big beat, and the tension of rap. Radio seems to dig it, anyways, it seems to be a trend in pop music.’

Karim Ouellet will play Montréal Métropolis on June 17, during the FrancoFolies, and following his concert he’ll spin a DJ set at the Métropolis’ Shag. Claude Bégin will open for him that night. Here’s a tip: check out the outdoor Rednext Level concert, the day before at 11 p.m.: there’s a very good chance you’ll catch Ouellet and Bégin onstage then, too!


From her humble beginnings in Bowmanville, Ontario, to her current position as a Canadian country/pop singer extraordinaire, it’s always been a musical journey for singer-songwriter Meghan Patrick.

Before starting out on her solo career, Meaghan fronted the popular Bowmanville new-country/bluegrass band The Stone Sparrows. She recently signed to Warner Music Canada and set to work recording her debut album. She focused on cutting her teeth as a songwriter, working with such varied top-line co-writers as Chantal Kreviazuk, Gord Bamford and Texas songwriter Rodney Clawson. “The whole process leading up to making this record has been amazing,” says Patrick. “I got to work with so many talented and wonderful writers down in Nashville, as well as Vancouver and L.A., who’ve become great friends.”

The resulting work payed off in a big way, producing her first solo album Grace & Grit, released in April of 2016. For the lead single, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow,” she even enlisted Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, who co-wrote and produced the song, as well as a number of other tracks on the album. “When you’re able to make a connection with another writer the way I did, they help you turn your stories into a beautiful song, and it’s a truly special experience,” says Patrick. Attracting even more high-profile collaborators, Patrick teams up with multiple Grammy nominee Joe Nichols to deliver Grace & Grits’ duet, “Still Loving You.”

“I’m just chomping at the bit to get my music out there to new audiences, and get back to my roots of playing as much as possible!” says Patrick. She’ll be doing just that on the country festival circuit this summer.


In this age of ubiquitous social media presence, a world of tweets and snapchats and YouTube clips, even most new artists already have a digital trail longer than some of the more established ones. In 2016, it feels almost more strange to have a difficult time finding any information on someone, especially a new artist. That’s what makes Toronto-born, L.A.-approved singer-songwriter Saya such a mystery.

She currently has only one track out on her Soundcloud, but the sexy, sensual, catchy, genre-hopping single “Wet Dreams” delivers a strong message; Saya is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. She’s only 21, but her sultry R&B/electronic sound, and the striking look of her Instagram and press shots, shows an artist ready to make some serious waves. The track has been receiving lots of love from tastemakers like Complex and tuned-in music blogs like Pigeons and Planes.

What’s she up to next? “This summer,” says Saya, “I’m developing my sound and pushing my limits as an artist. Trying to grow creatively and working with a variety of people in Toronto and L.A.” There you have it, a quote as mysterious as the artist herself. Keep an eye out for a new single. Soon you probably won’t be able to miss her.


Born in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Crissi Cochrane has the heart of an East Coast singer-songwriter with a twist of Motown soul. She started recording in her teens, moving to Halifax to begin her college and music career. Not only did she start releasing her own solo music including 2010’s independently released and critically well-received Darling, Darling, she started an indie band called Gamma Gamma Rays and contributed vocals to the album of fellow Halifax musician Rich Aucoin.

Relocating to Windsor, Ontario in 2011 her sound drew even more on her influences of jazz, country and smoky soul. And, with Detroit just across the river, the Motown sound as well. She released her latest solo album Little Sway in 2014. Soon she found her songs blowing up on Spotify, with her single “Pretty Words” getting more than 4.5 million plays and finding a placement in the hit ABC show Nashville. Soon after, she was selected as one of the Top 10 Artists nationwide in CBC’s Searchlight competition in 2014.

Working hard as a touring artist and behind-the-scenes songwriter since then, in 2016 she had an idea to write cute, personalized love songs for couples who contacted her for Valentine’s Day. The CBC picked up the story and it soon went viral, drawing her thousands of plays. Cochrane says she’ll work to make it an annual tradition.

“It’s a special joy to write songs for people to share with their loved ones, and to learn what makes each love so special and strong,” she says. What’s next for her in 2017? “Between filling song requests throughout the year, I’m pre-producing my next album and gearing up for recording this fall.”