Par le 19 July 2017
Singer Diane Dufresne was born in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood. She became a major star and certainly fulfilled all the dreams of her mother, who died at a young age when Dufresne was only 15 years old. In the song Hollywood Freak, she sang “Maman, si tu me voyais, tu serais fière de ta fille (Mommy, if you saw me now you’d be proud of your little girl)”.
After studies in singing and acting in France in the early 60’s, she began her career in the cabarets of Rive Gauche in Paris in 1966. However, her career really took off when she returned to Québec in 1972 with her prophetically titled album Tiens-toé ben j’arrive (meaning “hold on to your hat, I’m coming back”), and performing her first show at Place des Arts in 1973. Her fame then expanded to other French-speaking countries. In France she was a popular and respected singer, but in Québec she promptly became a living legend. In 1978/1979 she took part in the first theatre production and recording of Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon’s rock opera Starmania, in which she played the character Stella Spotlight.
She returned to her old neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve for the show Magie Rose, presented at the Olympic Stadium in 1984. For the occasion, she had asked the 55 000 ticket holders to dress completely in pink. Her career at this point had reached dizzying new heights as she was the first, and to this day, the only Québec artist to fill the Montréal Stadium.
Thanks to the diva’s early collaborations with Luc Plamondon and her eccentric costumes, such as her pink dress with a 200ft train for her Magie Rose show, she quickly became a gay icon and returned that love to her fans with another show at the Olympic Stadium in 2006, as part of the opening ceremony of the first international OutGames. In the last few years, she returned to the stage with the Violons du Roy, contributing to a benefit event for an LGBT organization. Dufresne is also committed to her career as a painter. Her work can be admired on the walls of the cultural centre that bears her name: the Centre d’Art Diane Dufresne, in the city of Repentigny.