Serge Fiori is a Quebec music icon himself, as lead singer of the retro art-rock band Harmonium. Now he wants to use his insider status of him to open a window onto the behind-the-scenes of the entire province’s art scene, and more.
Fiori is launching a series of web interviews with fellow Quebec artists. In it, he invites singers, actors and politicians to his home on Lac St-Jean, and then gets them to open up about their lives.
Despite having a successful career himself, Fiori says he always has lots to learn.
“I like listening to their lives and what they’ve done,” he said. “It’s a conversation, and I’m fascinated by what they did and how they did it.”
It’s not all about personal lives, but also about artists’ craft. That includes actors, such as Anne Dorval describing how she learned the ropes the hard way early in her career.
Some also discuss the milestones in their youth that made them crave the stage. And singers talk about inspiration, like Louis-Jean Cormier of Karkwa fame talking about his love for award-winning Canadian musician Daniel Lavoie.
Not only artists are included. The former mayor of Quebec City talks openly about his life, too.
“We went with the flow, let him go — it’s like after a hockey game and you have a beer and say anything to your friends with no fake[ness] and feel very safe to say anything,” said former Major Regis Labeaume.
The 11-episode series is called “Chez Padre” because Fiori has been part of the Quebec art scene long enough to be nicknamed “the Padre.”
Some of these conversations have a confessional quality. Actor Normand Brathwaite, for example, reveals a story he seldom tells about his time performing at the Moulin Rouge in Paris years ago.
He says Fiori gets these goods because he has an authentic approach to interviews.
“This was completely different. We do a lot of interviews as artists… but this was special,” he said. “Special and coming from a place of positivity.”
Fiori says it’s something else. “I genuinely admire these people – it’s just love,” he said.
The first season can be found online at chezpadreavecsergefiori.ca.