There was a pleasant sense of normalcy in Montreal’s Lion d’Or on Monday night as jury members (including myself), the Francouvertes team, online recording technicians, and a few fans of the three finalists gathered for the final stage of this year’s 25th Anniversary contest.

Etienne Coppee, Francouvertes,. 2021On the program, a musical menu as diversified as can be, true to the core mission of this Francophone competition that includes all musical genres. But since a decision had to be made (the ultimate decision at the Francouvertes is shared equally between the specialized jury and the public, who vote online), the third place prize went to Ambre Ciel’s soothing offering that straddles the border between classicism and modernity; second place went to Calamine and her groovy-jazzy-electro-feminist-queer rap from Hochelag’; and the top honours – along with a plethora of prizes, including a $10,000 grant from Sirius XM – went to Étienne Coppée. His contagious smile, his ease for communicating empathically with the audience, and especially his undeniable qualities as a melodist and lyricist, won the hearts of the people at the venue, and online, as well via a broadcasting platform specifically designed for the occasion.

Coppée’s formula – a vehicle for hope and sunshine, thanks to music very much inspired by his Québec idols of the ’70s (one inevitably thinks of Harmonium) – also won him the $1,000 Paroles & Musique cash prize offered by SOCAN during the semi-finals, along with a writing residency at the SOCAN house in Paris, or Nashville.

The evening began with the final performance of the Skatné series, co-presented by SOCAN and Musicaction, and featured Shauit, a First NationS singer-songwriter whose folk sound is tinged with reggae.

For the complete list of the prizes given out to the 2021 finalists, visit the Francouvertes website.

The Francouvertes finals were broadcast live online, but you can hear the entire evening in a special broadcast on Influence Franco – SiriusXM 174 – on Wednesday, May 26, at 12 noon ET, and on Friday, May 28, at 6:00 p.m. ET.