I’ve never been sung to in an interview before.
I didn’t think that would ever happen, until André-Philippe Gagnon picked up the phone to talk to me about his upcoming comedy show in Kingston.
Suddenly, I was on the phone with Barry White serenading me with snippets from a Michael Jackson medley.
Gagnon, also known as the “man of 1000 voices,” will be showcasing his talent imitating voices from Elvis Presley to Adam Levine of Maroon 5, mixing together the old and new.
“The ones that are into classic rock, they will recognize different eras of the 70s and 80s, 90s. The younger folks will [enjoy] the Black Eyed Peas, Kid Rock and others.”
Towards the end of his unique show, two giant iPods are projected onto screens at the front of the stage for the man with a library of music all in his head.
Gagnon then pulls up an audience member on stage to impersonate their voice.
Another audience member will be able to come on stage and browse one of the “aPods” for a song.
At first, I thought “aPod” was Gagnon’s French accented version of “iPod,” but really it was a play on words of Gagnon’s first name.
Having travelled all over the world with his talents, including a stint with country superstar Keith Urban in Las Vegas, Gagnon said Kingston reminds him of his hometown Loretteville, QC.
“It’s a small big town,” he said. “It’s very different from other cities that we’ve toured … the audience becomes part of the show with their reaction and when people react that well, it’s much easier for me.”
It was in Loretteville, at the age of six or seven, that he first learned to do impressions of Tweety Bird. “I realized that it was a form of humour to do impressions,” he said. “It makes you more friends, but you also become friends with the bullies because they like to laugh.”
Using this universal quality to his advantage, the members of his youth hockey team and their parents became Gagnon’s first audience. Post-game huddles became his stage to impersonate coaches, managers and trainers.
When the teachers at his Quebec college went on strike, Gagnon entered amateur contests, which led to him getting noticed by a manager.
In 1983, he performed in the “Just for Laughs” tour and even garnered the attention of comedy show hosts like Jay Leno.
Nowadays, you can find him conquering stages from town to town, one “aPod” at a time.
André-Philippe Gagnon performs at the Grand Theatre tonight at 7:30 p.m.
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