The “jukebox woman” of the metro

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mainly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

She is always there, in front of the Côte-des-Neiges metro station, singing from 6 a.m. until around 1 p.m., seven days a week. Even in winter.

Some call her the jukebox woman. She knows more than 200 songs by heart with a predilection for Edith Piaf and Marjo.

In the absence of a ticket or a coin for a specific title, she sings what she wants.

When I arrived yesterday morning, she interpreted, with accuracy, the song Dry your tears by Daniel Belanger.

“I would have liked my career as a singer to take off and for a producer to notice me, but that didn’t happen, so now I sing in front of the metro,” Thalie Norac immediately confides to me, all smiles.

A good article

“I come to listen to her during my walk: she sings well and she’s nice,” said a passer-by, Gilles, a retired STM bus driver.

When he realizes that I am a journalist, Gilles gives me a stern look and makes me swear that I will write “a good article” on Thalie.

During the interview, a few passers-by leave a coin for her or greet her as they pass.

“I don’t really know these people, because I’m too busy singing to talk to them, but I thank them when they give me something and I recognize them,” breathes Ms. Norac.

Thalie Norac is the stage name this Ville-Émard native chose for herself in her early twenties, around 1990, to pursue a career.

“I requested and obtained from the court in 2007 that it become my real name. »

She was a waitress for a long time in Coras, Mikes and Giorgio’s, she tells me.

“I also did sung telegram for Party Productions in the 1990s.”

She studied music, not far from there, at the Vincent d’Indy school and jazz at Lionel-Groulx College.

“I also paid for singing lessons, I invested everything in it. »

Attendance

In the mid-2000s, with the intention of propelling herself forward, Thalie bought herself three large road signs: one at the corner of Jean-Talon and Saint-Laurent, one on the 15 and one on the 20.

“It didn’t work, it was expensive and it put me on the street,” she says.

She wants to make it clear that she has a roof over her head.

“Yes, I have an apartment, I’ve been in an apartment since I was 18. »

During our discussion, an STM employee came to offer her a nice suitcase, but Thalie refused.

“I work hard and I want to buy my things myself with the money I earn: I don’t want donations of clothes or equipment, that annoys me. »


Photo Louis-Philippe Messier

She writes down her recipes in a notebook and, if she sings as planned today, that makes her 133 days in a row.

Since May 15, as evidenced by a notebook where the singer notes her recipes, Thalie has sung here seven days a week… 133 days in a row today.

“I’m diligent and reliable, I would like to get contracts, but life has broken and changed things… I never thought I would sing outside a capella like that. »

Three seconds after the interview, Thalie Norac began to sing again.


The article is in French

Tags: jukebox woman metro