Canadian Singer-Songwriter Karim Ouellet Dies At 37


Canadian music artist Karim Ouellet was found dead Monday in Quebec City. He was 37.

The Quebec Coroner’s Office confirmed an investigation into his death is underway. Ouellet’s body was found inside Place Unisson, a music rehearsal space.

“It is with deep sadness that we, the family, announce the passing of our dear Karim; a son, a brother, a friend and an exceptional musician,” read a message, in French, posted on Facebook.

“Karim will have left his mark in our hearts forever and we will continue to celebrate his life, his talent and his legacy … To those who have been touched by his words and his melodies, let's continue to make his music resonate.”

Ouellet was born in Senegal and was adopted as a baby by a Canadian couple who worked as diplomats. He moved to Quebec with his family when he was 15.

Ouellet’s debut Plume was released in 2011 but his breakthrough came a year later with sophomore album Fox, which spawned the hit single “L’amour.” It was named Francophone Album of the Year at the JUNO Awards and earned Ouellet three nominations at Quebec’s Félix Awards.

Ouellet released his third album, Trente, in 2016.

“I write a lot of sad songs,” Ouellet told La Presse at the time. “I can't see myself writing happy tunes and musically, I like the counterpoint that a sadder text gives to lively music.”

He stepped out of the spotlight for several years but, in August 2020, tweeted “I’m back baby” and was said to be working on new material.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media, including from singers Ariane Moffatt, Patrice Michaud and Salomé Leclerc.

“You showed them that you were the best,” wrote frequent collaborator Claude Bégin. “We were a great duo. I loved you … Be at peace now my friend.”

Quebec City mayor Bruno Marchand tweeted: “His songs will continue their journey from our hearts to our ears for many years to come, carrying with them all the passion of a local man who will have left his mark on our culture.” Quebec premier François Legault said Ouellet was "a young artist who brought a new style to Quebec music."

A tweet from the Quebec City Summer Festival remembered Ouellet as “a singular artist” who “will never be forgotten.”

Musician Jérôme Minière wrote on Instagram that Ouellet was “really nice, funny and sensitive, who casually moved lines and modernized Quebec popular music a lot.”

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