Joëlle Rabu made her debut at City Stage in April, 1983. She found herself caught up in a whirlwind of publicity and praise. A casual remark by her brother was the first link in the chain of events that was to propel her from waitressing to the stage. The late Ray Michal, director of Vancouver's City Stage, had expressed his desire to remount his original play, 'Piaf, Her Songs, Her Loves', but was frustrated in his search for a bilingual singer/actress dynamic enough to play this special role. An audition was arranged and Joëlle sang the three Piaf songs she knew.
Within a month, an incredulous Joëlle began rehearsals. Her transformation from unknown waitress to singing star caught the attention of the media and her thrilling voice and presence won the hearts of all that heard her sing. Audience demand extended 'Piaf' past its initial six week run for month after month. "A star is born" was the unanimous consensus of the media and public.
The show finally closed on its first anniversary after over 400 performances. Joëlle's performance won her two Jessie Awards (plus a third Jessie for Dodd's musical direction) and established her reputation as a chanteuse extraordinaire.
'JOËLLE RABU IN CONCERT' marked her debut as a singer/songwriter in her own right. Powerful, original, storytelling songs, written in collaboration with J. Douglas Dodd, soon became her new trademark.
Joëlle was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, shortly after her parents emigrated from Brittany, France. She grew up in Courtenay, BC, and, at the age of 16, ran away from home to see for herself the faraway lands of which her parents often spoke. After travelling for three years through more than 30 countries, she returned home to Vancouver Island where she now resides. Joëlle's fervent love of life, language and travel comes to life in her stage performances, making her a unique Canadian singer with a cornucopia of emotions and styles upon which to draw when performing a song.
"I enjoy sharing the 'moment' with an audience. My songs are a part of what I witness in my daily life. Every song is a story. It's rarely my own, as I prefer to remain an observer, an interpreter for others. Sometimes it is a celebration of life, sometimes a declaration of fury. Music, for me, is a canvass upon which one can apply strokes of colour and texture which can in turn enhance, provoke, offer release. The final result should be interpreted solely by the viewer, the listener. The feeling should not be dictated, as everyone sees and hears things differently. This difference is the magic of song." Joëlle Rabu