Red carpet, TV appearance, concerts, new song, album release…Three years after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman and slipping away from the big circuits, Éric Lapointe is slowly but surely returning to the spotlight in 2023 A fragile operation and not without possible pitfalls.

The rocker will launch a new piece next month, confirms his press relations agency, Roy

Earlier in the winter, on Facebook, the 53-year-old singer posted a short video in which he was seen in the studio, recording a song that described his inner demons: “You don’t want it / J I have a beast to feed / She follows me day and night / She wants to hear me roar. »

This launch will mark the final stage of a gradual return for the singer-songwriter who never completely ceased his activities during this period, giving a few scattered concerts, but always far from major centers.

His plan to get back into the media space went into second gear last December, when he revived his (once) traditional Holiday Party in Montreal and Quebec. Then, in February, the rocker walked the red carpet for the animated film Katak, the brave beluga at the StarCité cinema in Montreal. A rare public appearance during which he lent himself to the game of photos with his two sons, Édouard and Christophe-Arthur, putting forward an image of a good father.

For Bernard Motulsky, professor in the department of social and public communication at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), this outing allowed the singer – as well as his team – to “take the temperature of the water”.

Things continued to evolve at the beginning of April, when the man nicknamed “Ti-Leather” found himself as a speaker in Quépop, a TVA documentary series on the Quebec musical universe of the 1990s, broadcast on prime time.

Finally, last week, he appeared on the cover of the magazine Echos Stars.

Neither Éric Lapointe nor Instinct Musique, his record company, wished to comment on his upcoming return. The artist should consider interview requests next month, when he begins a promotional tour, we are informed.

Like any other artist who has attempted a comeback after having made reprehensible gestures, Éric Lapointe will have to overcome certain obstacles if he wants to win his bet.

According to communications and brand image strategist Jean Gosselin, the showbusiness veteran will have to surround himself well, be patient and show humility. “He has to accept being confronted with what he has done, in interviews, for example. »

As for the factors that will influence the reception he will receive, they remain the same as for anyone in this position, explains Mylène Forget, president of the consulting firm Massy Forget Langlois public relations. These criteria include the seriousness of the behavior complained of, the notoriety of the people involved, the number of victims, the length of the period during which the news made the headlines and the attitude of the individual concerned.

The difference between the public image of the artist and the act he committed can also “aggravate the case or not”, adds the expert in crisis management, who says, without revealing names, having accompanied personalities “splattered” by various scandals in recent years.

“If he’s a bad boy, the shock is less than if he had exemplary behavior before the incident. »

Will Eric Lapointe make a successful comeback? It’s still too early to decide. Certainly, the decision rests with the People’s Court.

“It’s always the public who decides”, emphasizes Bernard Motulsky.

“It’s a good old principle of consumption, and it’s also true in culture: the public votes with their wallet”, adds Jean Gosselin.

Without being overloaded, the professional agenda of the singer of Marie Stone and Tendre fesse includes half a dozen concerts over the next few months. Three festivals have even retained his services.

According to Jean-François Thorn, president and CEO of UPROD, the event management company behind Les grands crus musicals de Chicoutimi, which will host Lapointe in July, his popularity rating remains very high. After a conclusive participation in the Festicam of Saint-Honoré last September (4500 people attended the show), the promoter did not hesitate to hire him again. “The reason festivals produce Eric is because he sells tickets. And during his show, you sell beers. It’s all about profitability. »

Jean-François Thorn claims to have “been called all names” when he unveiled the programming of the Grands crus musicals. Some festival-goers also demanded to be reimbursed. But in the end, the “positive” largely supplants the “brass-comrade”.

“If Eric Lapointe’s story hadn’t been settled or he hadn’t yet gone to court, we would never have dared. But we live in a society of law. In Canada, we advocate rehabilitation. So when it’s settled, it’s settled. »

Same story with Yves Côté, vice-president of Price en Fête, where Éric Lapointe should attract 2,000 people next summer. “We separate the man from the artist, and we know that the artist still gets a lot. When he gives a show, it’s always full. »

Although a judge has rendered a verdict and Éric Lapointe has admitted his wrongdoing, the return of the rocker poses difficulties, believes Melpa Kamateros, executive director of Bouclier d’Athéna, a community organization that offers services to women victims of violence.

According to Ms. Kamateros, the victim must remain at the center of concerns. “We let people come back and take their places without mentioning the violence, without recognition, without responsibility. When we do that, we minimize violence against women. We are sending the wrong message. »

The events that led to Eric Lapointe’s conviction occurred on September 30, 2019, the day after a party to mark the singer’s 50th birthday. According to the joint statement of facts presented to the court, the singer, still intoxicated from the day before, put his hand against a woman’s neck and leaned her against the pantry. The victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, then called 911.

According to Sandrine Ricci, doctoral researcher in sociology and feminist studies and lecturer at the University of Quebec in Montreal, the return to the public space of the rocker can be difficult to live with and rekindle wounds, not only in his victim. , but in other female victims of male violence.

Same story with Melpa Kamateros: the psychological scars can last a long time. “At the Shield of Athena, you can see women for 10 years. And it’s not just female victims that need to be examined. We must also look at the impacts on children [when there are any], who may have witnessed it. Violence against women is not just a women’s issue; it’s everyone’s business. »

Sandrine Ricci regrets that Éric Lapointe obtained a conditional discharge. Thus, his criminal record will be erased next fall. “Here, we see again an individual who, after pleading guilty to having subjected a woman to violence, continues his life as if nothing had happened”, she underlines.

However, Sandrine Ricci cherishes the hope that with his new songs, Éric Lapointe will show a “form of empowerment”, and that he will question the “hypervirile bad boy masculinity which he has made his trademark”. “Or, like many aggressors, he will take advantage of his platform to victimize himself, returning to his journey as an alcoholic rather than a violent man,” she concludes.

Support group for impulsive people with violent behavior (Quebec): 418 529-3446

Action on violence and family intervention (Montreal): 450 692-7313