Oli Féra: from volunteer to big winner at the FICG

In 2021, at almost the same date, Oli Féra was a volunteer at the Festival international de la chanson de Granby (FICG), his city of residence. She set up the stage structures and served soft drinks at the evenings of the Musical Showcases. This year, she once again took part in the event, as a participant in the Grand Concours. Of which she has just won the great honors, slew of scholarships in addition.

To say that a little earlier in 2022, the 28-year-old artist, bubbly and voluble, did not even plan to register at 54e FIGG! But a “you never know” crossed her mind, and Oli Féra successfully completed all the stages of the competition and, on Wednesday August 24, she was crowned the winner by a jury who hailed the audacity and the originality of his “emotive cinema-rock” and his “smoky indie-rock”.

“I am a woman who rocks, in short!” laughs Oli Féra when joined by Subwayearly in the morning the day after her victory, which places her as successor to Luc De Larochellière, Lynda Lemay, Isabelle Boulay, Dumas, Pierre Lapointe, Patrice Michaud, Lisa LeBlanc and others Samuele who also started their career with the trophy of FIGG.

Oli Féra during the most recent Festival international de la chanson de Granby (FICG)
Credit: Éléonore Delvaux / Courtoisie FICG

The lucky winner could not believe it, not only from her triumph, but also from the formidable playground that was the training weeks of the festival.

“I am overwhelmed by this experience. It was enriching. I learned so much and met people who have the values ​​in the right place, passionate about art and music. It gives confidence in the future!”

Nomadic, then sedentary

Oli Féra has been writing and strumming his electric guitar for a long time and had already carved out a successful career in the Quebec singing competition circuit before his stay at the FICG, starting with the cradle of talent that is Cégeps en spectacle, in 2016.

In four years, she has won not once, but twice the Ma première Place des Arts event; in 2017 (under her real name, Viola Ferrando) and in 2021, as a singer-songwriter. Nourishing “paying” passages, which allowed her to go play in Tadoussac, to afford writing residencies and even to go and shoot a music video in France, a trip that she will complete next week.

In between, this Montreal-born nomad, who has lived in Victoriaville, Gatineau, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Granby over the years, went backpacking for a year in Australia, in 2019-2020, before returning to her rooted in Quebec to fully invest in his musical project.

Oli Féra, whose real name is Viola Ferrando, feels like a fish in water on stage.
Credit: Éléonore Delvaux / Courtoisie FICG

His enrollment at the École nationale de la chanson de Granby in 2020 marked a turning point in his style and way of writing.

“When I entered the School, I was doing folk music that looked like Lisa LeBlanc or Émile Bilodeau, says Oli Féra. I got out of there and now it’s completely different. It’s rock, I write stories about completely imperfect, but true humans. Somewhat complex stories. I am fascinated by all that is human, all that pushes us to act as we act.

Go listen to his play The rent is cheap, where Oli Féra gently and cynically declaims the poem of discreet misery. The tone is there, but the facets of the singer are multiple and there will still be a lot to discover, assures this one.

“It’s representative of a small part of my art, but I cast a wider net than that,” she says, laughing. For me, the importance of my message is to be able to be yourself and accept who you are. I approach my songs as mini-movies highlighting beings in learning, who make mistakes, who look at themselves and who try to do their best.

On stage, I interpret these words fully and tell people: it’s okay, to be you! You are enough! (laughter)

Oli Féra, winner of the 54e edition of the Festival international de la chanson de Granby

here to stay

Now, what are the next milestones for Oli Féra? Simply, if his songs are played on the radio, “it will be a wow“, she dreams aloud. The lady is currently putting the finishing touches to her first EP.

However, Féra’s hobby is the shows.

“I’m really on my X when I’m on stage. I eat that. I tripe on the staging, the assembly of a show, living the sharing with the public and going to meet him afterwards. Authors-composers-performers, I find us privileged, because our job, is to go through the full range of emotions and put them on paper. People are given the right to take a break from their daily grind for an evening, to reflect on the world around them. For me, it is a real pleasure.”

“One thing is certain, I am here to stay. It is sure that we will hear about me in the next few years. I am herenew female representative of female rock in Quebec!” concludes Oli Féra.

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