As Canadian vocal impressionist Véronic Dicaire brings her stage show to the UK, with dates at the London Hippodrome, guest blogger Caroline Hanks-Farmer was lucky enough to catch up with her, grab a coffee and see her in action. You may have seen her in such shows as Chicago and Grease ... But now Veronic is taking to stage to give us an impression of all our favourite performers - have a watch...
Whereabouts in Canada are you from?
I grew up in Ottawa and move down to Montreal and have lived there for 20 years now. Montreal is great, very multicultural and actually, it looks like here. The culture is the same, we eat bacon, eggs and beans in the morning. So when I come here it doesn’t seem so different. I feel like I’m at home here, the humour is even French Canadian or Canadian.
What’s it like to be performing at such an iconic venue?
I’ve performed in a casino before. (That was at Bally’s Las Vegas wasn’t it?) Yes but this is a lot smaller and more intimate. It’s like when I started in France, you know slowly but surely I built up my act. I like it, you feel closer to the people. It’s going to be a very intimate soirée which will be nice. The best way for me to meet the people is a small venue like this. From the O2 in the summer with Céline to this it’s perfect (laughing). It’s the perfect way for me to start, to get known here.
The show itself, tell me about it?
To explain what I do – I pay homage to the people I’m imitating. Of course, people will laugh because I put everything of that person in a minute and a half or so. People will see the whole person, you know if I am Tina Turner I’m all of Tina Turner as homage to the person. Not to make you laugh but to feel her through me.
The late great Judy Garland performed at this venue – does Judy make an appearance?
She does at the end of the show a number that explains what it takes to be a diva. The rhythm of Ella Fitzgerald, it takes the glamorous life of Barbara Streisand and of course the energy of Judy Garland. She had so much energy. I end the number with Céline and Whitney Houston. This is such fun and I love this number. I go through all these voices, to explain what it takes to be a diva. All these voices in one number – wow I can’t wait to see that!
When did you discover you could do this?
Well, I’m a recording artist and around my second album I started to talk to people and imitate Céline Dion and French Canadian artists. People came up to me after the shows and said your stuff is good but your imitations are great. I was working with Céline’s son-in-law on my third album and he was saying let’s try this song and imitate that singer. And we were having fun, then at the end of that session, he said do you know what I’ve been kind of auditioning you. So I said why? He said I think I’m going to suggest your name to Céline and René, because they are looking for an opening act for her world tour in Montreal. They had asked Mark to look for someone. He said I think you should do it but as an impersonator not an artist. I said ok!
I got back in my car and I was so nervous I only hadn’t 5 voices. But we took a year out to work on my voice and that’s when I found out with my vocal coach that I had this ability to reproduce many voices. I worked very hard for this and I still work hard to make sure the voices are as accurate as I can. It was in 2008 and yeah 10 years now I’ve been doing it.
My dream was to travel the world with my albums but life took me on a different journey.
Have you got a favourite voice?
Oh my god – that’s like asking a mum if she has a favourite child? Well, of course, Céline because she was one of my first voices I did. I like voices that are very removed from mine like Tina Turner. I love the reaction I get from doing Mariah Carey’s voice. Well, I push the comedian part, so I love the reaction. Also when I get into the emotion of doing voices like Amy Winehouse or Karen Carpenter, I like to go there too. So it’s so hard to choose.
Who has been the most challenging to perfect?
Tina Turner definitely because her voice is raunchy. I was afraid to hurt my own voice so it took a long time and work. One day I thought I’d go get my highest heels, bend my knees put my shoulders up and I started to do it. Oh And Adele – Adele is like a good wine you have to keep going back and checking it is still ok?
If you could duet with anyone alive or dead who would you want to duet with?
I would love to duet with Adele because I think she is fun, but unfortunately, she isn’t singing. Hopefully she’ll come back at some point. I would’ve loved to sing with Edith Piaf. I’ve sung with Céline, as her, that was a lot of fun. She’s got a great sense of humour so that was so much fun. I think all the great singers who are gone, even just chat with them? People like Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse.
And finally my usual three quirky questions...
If you could go back in time to any era when would you go back to and why?
That’s an easy question – I would go back to the era of people like Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holiday and all those great singers. To hear them and chat
If you could choose any three dinner guests who would you choose and what would be the theme?
Oh, that’s hard! I think I would stick to my first question answer? But from different eras like Janice Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and someone around now? The theme would be very loungy and relaxed and we’d talk. I’d be curious to hear their paths and their journey.
If you could have a superpower what would you have?
I don’t want to sound tacky but I’d want to heal the children. I have my foundation back at home to support young artists and I just feel without good health? So I’d want to heal the children and I’d have a crazy outfit.