Backed by a solid team, the winner of the 2017 edition of La Voix (the Québec franchise of The Voice TV singing competition) has landed exactly where we expected him to, with a second album as pulsating as the neon at the top of the poster.
On 2, Ludovick Bourgeois proves he can stand on his own two feet, and run toward the irresistible affection of the masses. With the help of producer Fred St-Gelais, Bourgeois, now 27, co-wrote nine of the 11 songs on the project. The pop singer was propelled to centre stage, but you’d be remiss to think that he’d turn his back on his fans by becoming a songwriter.
“This album is doubly important for me, and I’ve no intention of leaving my heritage behind [he’s the son of the late Patrick Bourgeois of Les BB fame], or to deny that I was launched by a TV show, but I want people to know I make music for the right reasons,” says Bourgeois. “The music comes first. The first song I ever wrote [among the three that appeared on his 2017 eponymous album] is a hymn to freedom titled ‘Desert Song.’ It was a pretty big hit. That boosts your confidence.” But to him, the real proof of success is when crowds sing along to every word. “We can play the first riff, and stop playing right away, and people just carry on; it’s incredible.”
To avoid such daily distractions as the dog barking, or the phone ringing, Bourgeois and St-Gelais decided to hit the road and head West, between the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park, to create a closed environment for their songwriting.
“We started from scratch, with just our guitars and Fred’s laptop, and a tiny MIDI keyboard,” says Bourgeois. “Right there in our hotel rooms, we created demos that were good enough to play on the radio, quality-wise! Fred is one hard-working guy. He was up at 8:00 every morning. I’m sloppier, I get up around noon… He made sure our work schedule was just as tight as our leisure schedule. Fred trusted my ideas when it came to melodies that touch people. Within that framework, I could just go and have fun.”
“Grief is the beginning of a lot of things”
The return of Nelson Minville (“Bonsoir Solitude,” “Sans Repos”) and Ingrid St-Pierre – on “Le saut de l’ange,” a song about grief that serves as a follow-up to “Sur ton épaule,” on the first album – and their respective talents as lyricists, was clearly beneficial.
“Ingrid doesn’t really know me, yet she managed to put the best words on the situation with this line: Ton départ/ Le saut de l’ange/ Je brille plus fort/ Par ton absence (Your departure / The leap of an angel / I shine brighter / Because of your absence). It’s like Patrick leaving us made everyone shine brighter,” says Bourgeois. “Her phrasing and melodies, when she sends me a piano-voice demo, are just perfect. She is unbelievably soft-spoken, and I’m the complete opposite. Ours is an improbable meeting that works out.”
The contribution of Steve Marin (2Frères), who wrote “L’Écho,” also comes to life in this unifying universe. “We invited him to the studio to listen to our songs, and he liked that one,” says Bourgeois. “Steve is a storyteller, and he’s spot-on when he says that ‘every day is a new life.’ Grief is the beginning of a lot of things.”
The album hosts more than one potential hit, chiefl among them (thanks to an irresistible melody) “Je le ferai,” a message of hope co-written with Marc Dupré and St-Gelais. “We sang it as a duet,” says Bourgeois, “because I really liked the song so much, and it shows how generous he is to appear on the album of an emerging artist, and this song will touch everyone! I always try to bring a silver lining to a sad story, and it’s even more fun because Marc and I aren’t from the same generation.”
One of Bourgeois’ favourites on 2 is “Figé dans le temps,” which was written by Jeffrey Piton and Québécois duo Kingdom Street. “It’s often when you didn’t write a song that you like it most,” says Bourgeois. “The lyrics are powerful. It’s incredibly good!” As for “Que sera ma vie,” the video of which was launched in September 2019, it was written in an hour, says the artist.
Bourgeois does high-level pop with killer choruses – just like his dad before him. What about that BB medley he plays on stage? “I’ve inherited those hits, in a way,” he says. “I have to make them live on. I’m not saying no one else can play them, but it’s only logical that I play them.”