France is isn’t known for its rock music. Enter M.Soul the bilingual singer-songwriter who is bringing good old American rock ’n’ roll to an eager European audience. Currently settled in Strasbourg, France, M.Soul (Marcel Soulodre) has played music all over North America and during his three-decade career he has created a sound that is truly unique but widely recognizable.
M.Soul was born on September 1, 1960, in Saint-Boniface, Canada — the historic French district of the Prairies. He is the seventh of eight children born to a French fiddle-playing father and an English-American expatriate mother.
Music was a constant during M.Soul’s childhood and at age six he started tickling the keys of his grandmother’s piano. He was a teenager when he bought his first guitar and growing up in the 60s meant M.Soul was inspired by musical legends like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
A near-fatal car crash at the age of 21 left M.Soul confined to a hospital bed, which stimulated his desire to play music seriously and learn his fathers native tongue.
His first group, The Ministers of Soul, became popular in Winnipeg clubs and when they disbanded two-years later M.Soul was bit by the travel bug. He fell into a job as a carny and made his way to Louisiana where he met Cajun fiddler Hadley J. Castille, who would become a longtime friend and collaborator.
His first two albums, Marcel Soul (1986) and Gates of Heaven (1990), were produced in English, but thanks to Castille’s encouragement M.Soul began focusing on writing new French music.
During this time, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) took notice of M.Soul’s talent and offered to produce an album with him. His third album J’Avais Dans les Yeux (1995), is the only French album the CBC has produced to date and many of those early songs still make their way onto M.Soul’s setlist.
M.Soul is a celebrated Canadian artist. In 1997, M.Soul performed his song Giddy Up on national television during the Canada Summer Games and in 1999, he sang at the opening ceremonies of the Pan Am Games. In 2000, his album Que Je Recommence won a Western Canadian Music Award for outstanding francophone album.
In 2003, M.Soul was inspired to celebrate the life and songs of Johnny Cash with a tribute show he called Wanted Man. That same year, the Man in Black passed away and M.Soul went on to play more than 300 Wanted Man shows for adoring North American audiences.
Now he has taken the tribute show across the pond to the delight of European Cash fans. M.Soul has been nominated by the Country Music Association of France for Male Vocalist of the year and for Album of the Year for Don’t Take Your Guns to Town, his most recent recording consisting of 16 tracks originally recorded or written by Johnny Cash himself.