A main key to the somewhat unfathomable world of Québec pop music is one that just a handful of artists have in their possession: a Number One song on the charts. Everybody agrees that there’s a “before” and an “after” when a song reaches the pinnacle of popularity, whether it’s the fact that the whole province sings your song, or the non-negotiable fact that your royalties skyrocket.

The newest member to this Number One “Hall of Fame”, King Melrose has only just begun to take its full measure: “It’s crazy how everything’s changed,” he says. “Used to be I would call the concert promoters to introduce my project, but since the end of the summer, they’re the ones calling me!” A few shiny power chords, a bit of whistling and a bona fide earworm melody: that’s all it took for this 25 -ear-old songwriter to climb to the top of the pops, with the first single from his second album, Bleu.

The title of that single? « Ne me laisse pas tomber »; haven’t you heard? You have, you just don’t know it. It was played… everywhere.

Born and raised in a quiet suburb of Montréal by a Beatles-obsessed dad, the young man (better known as Sébastien Côté, to his loved ones) rapidly realized that he was destined to a life onstage. He cut his teeth at 16 as part of a soul and Motown cover band, but it was a few years later – when producer and manager Toby Gendron (Céline Dion, Éric Lapointe, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Jean Leloup, etc.) saw him perform onstage – that the stars seemed to align.

“Used to be I would call the concert promoters to introduce my project, but since the end of the summer, they’re the ones calling me!”

“Initially, I didn’t believe it,” says Melrose. “You meet a lot of people who make a lot of promises throughout you career, and I thought he was just another one of them. But then he got back in touch with me a year later.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

Guided by the wise advice of his new mentor, the budding artist decided to try his luck at the 2010 edition of the Festival de la chanson de Granby. “On the day of the finals,” he recalls, “I’d done a lot of shows, I was exhausted and I remember thinking to myself I have to give it all I had.” Good thinking, obviously, because it earned him the People’s Choice Award. After that, everything accelerated at breakneck speed: a second place win at the Festiblues Ahuntsic, sharing the stage with Grégory Charles at the Mondial Choral Loto-Québec, a role in the movie Les Boys, which hit the screen in December 2013, and that’s just the beginning. The culmination was the release of his first, eponymous album, early in 2014, chock-a-block with soul and pop songs that were popular with radio and music-lovers alike.

King MelroseWhich leads us to the here and now. His second album, Bleu, is, in his own words, more concise and closer to his roots. “I wanted to create something more intimate and personal instead of doing some kind of musician’s ego trip, which is often the case on sophomore albums,” he says. “My first album was all over the map, but on this one, I’m establishing my sound. It’s more mellow, more soulful and more sunshiny.”

And as much as he clearly knows where he intends to go, he’s also learned a thing or two after the whirlwind of the last few years. “I have no problem asking for help, which is a big change from my early days,” he says. “Knowing how to surround myself with the right people brings me a lot of good and I find it very rewarding. Letting people help me is one of the most important things I’ve learned in life so far. I’m serious.”

This happened in parallel to his tightening up of the King Melrose project. “I’ve also learned to trust my instinct, my intuition, a lot more,: he says. “The more you write, the better the odds of hitting the jackpot. I’m not making music to play alone in my basement, so yeah, obviously, I want to reach out and touch as many people as I can,” concludes the young man, totally transparent about his goal.

‘Nuff said.