Teen comes out of shell to find musical success

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 04, 2014 - 9:04 AM |
Grade 12 École secondaire Macdonald-Cartier student Martine Fortin, 17, has won multiple awards for her original French-language compositions. Photo by Arron Pickard.

Grade 12 École secondaire Macdonald-Cartier student Martine Fortin, 17, has won multiple awards for her original French-language compositions. Photo by Arron Pickard.

Singer-songwriter Martine Fortin has won multiple awards

Martine Fortin admits to being a shy girl who doesn't really like to draw attention to herself. 

That's why it came as a bit of a surprise to her family when the 17-year-old started playing keyboards and singing her own original French-language songs on stage, winning multiple awards in the process.

“She was never one to be saying 'Listen to me sing' when we had family gatherings,” said her mother, Michelle Prevost-Fortin.

Fortin, a Grade 12 student at École secondaire Macdonald-Cartier, said she's fought her nerves by creating something of a persona for herself on stage.

“There's me at school, and there's me on stage,” she said. “I feel like they're two completely different people. I don't often like attention. I don't like being pointed out.”

When you look at Fortin's skills, though, the keys to musical success were always there. She's always enjoyed writing, and has been playing piano since she was five years old.

As a teen, she started taking vocal lessons, and because she enjoyed that so much, in Grade 11 she transferred from École secondaire du Sacré-Coeur to Macdonald-Cartier, which has a strong music program.

It was there that Fortin learned the art of songwriting.

As most of her songs — which have a jazzy pop vibe — are about sadder subjects, she jokes they're definitely something a “typical teenage girl” would write. “I'm trying to get some more upbeat ones going,” she said.

Fortin took to becoming a singer-songwriter so well that her teachers encouraged her to start entering music competitions. She's seen remarkable success so far.

At the 2013 La Brunante — a competition for young musicians put on by La Nuit Sur L'Etang — she won the Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique (APCM) prize.

This prize gives her the opportunity to compete in Ontario Pop 2014, a music contest put on by APCM.

She also entered this year's La Brunante, and ended up taking home the grand prize, entitling her to perform at the 2015 La Nuit Sur L'Etang.

In February of this year, she won the APCM prize at the La voix du Nord competition, entitling her to compete in the Ontario Pop 2015 contest.

Fortin, who is Métis, also took home the grand prize in the June 2013 Aboriginal Idol contest put on by the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre.

She said she's planning on putting out an album, and just has to perfect a few more songs before doing so. Upon graduation from high school, she hopes to study music performance at Cambrian College.

Prevost-Fortin said she's really proud of her daughter's accomplishments.

“We said to Martine, if that's your passion, that's what you need to pursue,” she said. “Life is short. You've got to get up every day and hopefully do something you really like.”
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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