Sher­brooke boys in Searchlight con­test

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Sher­brooke

Ayoung Sher­brooke band that is burst­ing with mu­si­cal tal­ent is a con­tes­tant in CBC Ra­dio’s an­nual Searchlight – The Hunt for Canada’s Best New Artist con­test, an on­line vot­ing con­test that is just wrap­ping up its first phase of vot­ing to de­ter­mine the re­gional

fi­nal­ists. To ad­vance to the fi­nal five, contestants have to make it through sev­eral rounds of public vot­ing. The one sole win­ner will be an­nounced on CBC Ra­dio’s Q pro­gram on May 15th.

Or­ange O’Clock, a three man Al­ter­na­tive Rock band con­sist­ing of broth­ers Mick­ael and Raphael Fortin and An­thony Si­moneau Dubuc, started play­ing and writ­ing mu­sic to­gether about five years ago, a move that has since taken them on an in­ter­est­ing ride.

“We all grew up in Sher­brooke and were in the mu­sic con­cen­tra­tion pro­gram at Mitchell-Mont­calm high school,” said Mick­ael Fortin who stud­ied clas­si­cal pi­ano in both el­e­men­tary and high school, and is now the lead singer and key­board player in the group. “An­thony and I started play­ing to­gether af­ter school. We of­ten played the game “Rock Band”. Then one day my brother, who was tak­ing vi­o­lin and pi­ano at school, said he could play drums. So we all started play­ing to­gether just for fun, but it quickly got se­ri­ous,” ex­plained Mick­ael.

The boys, still all in high school, en­tered a mu­sic video that they shot at their school in an in­ter­net com­pe­ti­tion. Af­ter their video, as Mick­ael put it, “got a crazy num­ber of views”, the band was con­tacted by a big pro­ducer to play their song live at the Bell Cen­tre. Mick­ael and An­thony were only six­teen at the time, while Raphael was only twelve!

That ex­pe­ri­ence en­cour­aged Or­ange O’Clock to en­ter two more mu­sic com­pe­ti­tions, “I’ll mu­sic” and “Sher­brook­lyne”, both of which they won, claim­ing hefty cash prizes. “Now we had money so we in­vested in the mak­ing of a CD, last year, called Crazy Car­ni­val, and we cre­ated a mu­sic video with a pro­fes­sional,” men­tioned the singer. The band launched Crazy Car­ni­val at Sher­brooke’s fa­mous Granada Theatre and, later in the year, opened for Marie-Mai at the Fete du Lac des Na­tions. “That was great and it re­ally helped us to grow our fan base.”

Of course, it wasn’t just their chance to play big venues that grew their fan base, but also their mu­sic. With Bri­tish Rock in­flu­ences like Ra­dio­head, the Arc­tic Mon­keys and the Black Keys, their mu­sic has a unique and pro­fes­sional sound, from fast dance num­bers to the oc­ca­sional slow bal­lad, all sung in the lan­guage of Shake­speare. “I’ve al­ways sung mu­sic in English. I found it was eas­ier to write mu­sic in English, too. Both my par­ents are Fran­co­phone but I’ve been watch­ing English tele­vi­sion and lis­ten­ing to English mu­sic since I was about five,” said the Fran­co­phone mu­si­cian.

“I even work with an English coach now so I can get the ac­cent right.” Hope­fully, his coach won’t com­pletely erad­i­cate the slight hint of a French ac­cent that comes through when Mick­ael sings his English lyrics; it cer­tainly makes Or­ange O’Clock sound dis­tinctly Canadian.

When asked what it was like to be in a band with his lit­tle brother, Mick­ael an­swered: “It’s a big ad­van­tage – we can work to­gether all week long. Since play­ing mu­sic to­gether we’re even closer. We think the same way and we have the same goals. He’s still in high school, so that’s a bit of a prob­lem, but he’ll be grad­u­at­ing in a few months from Mitchell-Mont­calm. It’s a great school, an inspiring school.”

Af­ter spend­ing sev­eral months in the stu­dio work­ing on new mu­sic, in­clud­ing their new sin­gle “Can’t Fight the Feel­ing” that they en­tered in the Searchlight con­test, the band will soon be hit­ting the road to tour Que­bec.

“The con­tests can make all the dif­fer­ence for new bands, not just by win­ning, but also with the con­tacts you make. The Searchlight con­test is the big­gest con­test we’ve en­tered. We had just fin­ished pro­duc­ing “Can’t Fight the Feel­ing”, so the tim­ing was good. Since Crazy Car­ni­val, we’ve grown up and now we know where we want to go,” con­cluded Mick­ael Fortin.

Visit the CBC Searchlight con­test web­site where you can lis­ten to Or­ange O’Clock’s new sin­gle and vote for them. The con­test ends on May 14th and the win­ning band or mu­si­cian will re­ceive $36,500 worth of prizes.

photo cour­tesy

The mem­bers of Or­ange O’Clock are

(l. to r.) Raphael Fortin (Drum­mer), An­thony Si­moneau

Dubuc (gui­tarist), and Mick­ael Fortin ( song-writer/singer/

key­board player).

Photo cour­tesy

Mem­bers of the Sher­brooke band Or­ange O’Clock, (l. to r.) An­thony Si­moneau-Dubuc, Mick­ael Fortin and Raphael Fortin, all at­tended Mitchell-Mont­calm high school’s mu­sic con­cen­tra­tion pro­gram.

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