The many voices of Veronic DiCaire

The Niagara Falls Review - - ENTERTAINMENT - JOHN LAW jlaw@post­

It’s one thing to do an im­pres­sion of Sha­nia Twain. Try do­ing it when you spot Sha­nia Twain in the au­di­ence.

Veronic DiCaire laughs re­call­ing that night in Las Ve­gas, per­form­ing

Man! I Feel Like a Woman as part of her im­pres­sion­ist show Voices. On the right side of the stage, she was stunned to see Twain in the front row. Much to her light­ing guy’s dis­may, she soon bolted for the left side of the stage.

“He was like, ‘What is she do­ing?’ I was too shy. But af­ter the show she came back stage and we talked about how I was work­ing the voices and ev­ery­thing. She was very cu­ri­ous. She took it very well.”

Hear­ing feed­back from the peo­ple she’s im­per­son­at­ing is one of the perks for DiCaire, who plays five shows at Ni­a­gara Fallsview Casino Re­sort start­ing Wed­nes­day. Most times, it’s trial and er­ror pay­ing tribute to her idols.

Like Tina Turner. Think she’s easy to do? So did DiCaire, at first.

“I don’t have that raunch­i­ness in my voice, so when I tried to work on her I was so scared to ruin my voice,” says the French-Cana­dian singer. “It was so hard to pick up the de­tails.”

Grow­ing more frus­trated, she watched old footage and fo­cussed more on Turner’s phys­i­cal­ity on stage. That’s when she fig­ured it out.

“She was putting her shoul­ders high and bend­ing her knees, and it helped me a lot to cap­ture her voice,” she says.

An­other toughie proved to be Bar­bra Streisand. DiCaire found her first at­tempts bor­der­ing on car­i­ca­ture, which is not what a tribute should be.

“I was try­ing to pick up her voice, and I was like, ‘No, no, no … this is not good.’ Be­cause it’s com­ing too much from the nose. I don’t want to make fun of the singers I im­i­tate.

“Most of the show I’m do­ing is an homage to the singers I ad­mire. I was go­ing, ‘There’s no way I’m do­ing Bar­bra Streisand like that.’”

Work­ing with her vo­cal coach, she even­tu­ally found the lit­tle de­tails that set Streisand apart.

Now, Babs is a reg­u­lar part of the reper­toire, join­ing Whit­ney Hous­ton, Adele, Madonna, Glo­ria Este­fan, Cher and her big­gest in­flu­ence — Ce­line Dion.

Not just in­flu­ence, but men­tor. In 2008, Dion asked her to be the open­ing act for her Tak­ing Chances tour. Dion and her late hus­band/ man­ager Rene An­gelil would prove piv­otal to her ca­reer, help­ing bring DiCaire’s show Voices to the Ju­bilee Theatre at Bally’s Ho­tel & Casino in Las Ve­gas in 2013.

An­gelil died in early 2016, mak­ing the Dion por­tion of DiCaire’s show much more emo­tional th­ese days.

“He had such an im­por­tant role to play in my ca­reer,” she says. “I’m not only pay­ing homage to my idol and pro­ducer, in a way, but I al­ways have this thought in the back of my head. I al­ways think of him.

“When I im­i­tate Ce­line and sing one of her songs, he’s there.”

While she has two folk rock al­bums of her own, DiCaire’s im­i­ta­tions usu­ally lead to sold out tours. She just wrapped two months in Europe, and heads to Paris for six shows af­ter the Ni­a­gara Falls run.

The show con­tin­ues to evolve, with clas­sic vo­cal­ists like Billie Hol­l­i­day and Edith Piaf to go with Lady GaGa and Brit­ney Spears.

“The peo­ple com­ing to see my shows are from dif­fer­ent back­grounds mu­si­cally. The gen­er­a­tions are so wide, I have to make sure I touch ev­ery­body.”

Which makes mod­ern acts a dilemma, adds DiCaire. Not that she can’t prop­erly im­i­tate them, but the mu­si­cal land­scape is so dif­fer­ent that even the top singers may not be fa­mil­iar to much of the au­di­ence.

“I have to make sure that if I in­te­grate a new singer into my reper­toire, I have to make sure the song I pick, and the singer I choose, is known to ev­ery­body. It’s al­ways hard to add new singers, be­cause lately I find a song is so quickly thrown away by an­other song.

“That’s why I aim for clas­sics.”


Veronic DiCaire con­jures some of mu­sic's great fe­male singers for five shows at Ni­a­gara Fallsview Casino Re­sort.

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