Sophie The Rock
Denis Villeneuve didn't call himself Dennis Newtown to break into the United States and direct films like Dune or Blade Runner 2049.
The late Jean-Marc Vallée was not called John-Mark Valley so that Nicole Kidman can pronounce his name better.
And Celine Dion only removed the accent on the E from her first name to pursue a career in the States.
So why did Jérôme Couture change his name to Jay Kutcher to pursue a career south of the border?
LA COUPURE COUTURE
Gilles Proulx had very harsh words yesterday for Jérôme Couture in Le Journal. For Gilles, changing his name is “a lamentable example”.
Discussing the other day on QUB radio, Benoit Dutrizac told me that artists have always used stage names to work and that he didn't mind the Couture/Kutcher name change at all.
It's true that Sting, P!nk, Miou-Miou don't did not have that name at birth.
It is true that Ivo Livi, a young Italian immigrant who fled fascism, changed his name to Yves Montand to pursue a career in France. Charles Aznavourian, the little Armenian, truncated his last name for Aznavour and swept under the rug his original name that was too “different”.
But this was at a time when immigrants wanted blend into a big “whole” and adopt the habits and customs of the country that adopted them.
Is that what Jay Kutcher wants to do: erase his Quebec origins to gain acceptance?
Couture, which we discovered on the show La Voix10 years ago, changed his musical style (he went from pop to new country), and it was to mark this break that Couture became Kutcher.
In an interview at QUB radio, Jérôme Couture told me loud and clear that his decision was 100% artistic, while I said it was 100% commercial.
On the other hand, he confirmed to me that he was staying in Quebec for the moment (and was not settling in the United States as some media have suggested) and he told me that he was going to continue to use French at home. And he clarified that his friends always call him Jay, anyway.
If we look at the recent history of Quebec musical successes, we think of Charlotte Cardin who is very successful in the United States: she sings in English, but she did not change her name to break through. Needless to say, Cirque du Soleil did not call itself Sun Circus to break into the international scene. Even after being bought out by foreign interests.
One cannot help but see in this approach by Jérôme a desire to blend in with the crowd instead of shining through his own identity, his specificity.
Barbra Streisand has always fought to not have her name spelled “Barbara”. She thus distinguished herself from all the other singers. That and his prominent nose…
Instead of changing his name to “pogner” in the United States, Jérôme Couture would have done better to bet on his originality, and his difference.
ROCKER IN FRENCH
Couture reminds me a bit of Jean-Philippe Smet who changed his name to make it look like a rocker character. Except that Johnny Hallyday had quite a talent!