In the late sixties, singer, songwriter, poet and guitarist Jim Corcoran studied
Philosophy and Theology in Boston and New Jersey. He returned to his native
Quebec in 1970 and attended Bishop's University in Lennoxville. His career as
a musician and songwriter began almost by accident when he played guitar in
local watering holes to help pay for his tuition and found himself in growing
demand as an entertainer.
He graduated from Bishop's with joint honors degrees in Philosophy and French,
and in 2005 his alma mater awarded him an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law for
his outstanding contribution to contemporary Quebec culture.
Jim's first language is English but he has spent most of his career singing
and writing in French. He founded the folk duo "Jim and Bertrand"
with Bertrand Gosselin, and their album "La tête en gigue" (My
Head's in a Whirl) won the prize for Best Folk Record at the Montreux Jazz Festival
(Switzerland) in 1978. In 1981 he embarked on a solo career and his first record
"Têtu" (Stubborn) won the Félix Award (Quebec) for Best
Folk Album that year.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Jim recorded several albums in French with friends
and great musicians in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. In 1984 he took part
in the International Francophone Song Festival in Spa (Belgium) where his composition
"J'ai fait mon chemin seul" (I Made My Way Alone) won the award for
In 1988 Jim began hosting the CBC radio program 'À Propos,' a national
showcase for music from Quebec and he continues in that capacity to this day.
In 1990 he became an actor for the first time, playing the role of David, the
father of tragic poet Émile Nelligan in the opera Nelligan, written by
Quebec's leading playwright Michel Tremblay and composer André Gagnon.
That same year, he was given the Félix Award as Songwriter of the Year.
He has since won two Félix awards as "scripter" of the year.
He received the Félix for Folk Album of the Year again in 1996 for his
"Portraits" album, and in 2006 his CD "Pages Blanches" received
the coveted Juno Award as Best Francophone Album of the Year in Canada.
Wintuk is not the first Cirque du Soleil production Jim has worked on. He also
contributed to the music of Quidam and KÀ. Jim's song "Let Me Fall,"
from Quidam, was popularized by Josh Groban on his multi-platinum debut CD.
"Wintuk is the biggest challenge," says Jim Corcoran. "I haven't
been asked to write only a few songs but all the songs that will be sung on
stage. I was immediately fascinated and inspired by the storyboard of Wintuk,
and excited about having to write lyrics that must be understood by adults and
children. Maybe now, thanks to Harry Potter, children have a surprisingly extended
Early in the process of working with composer Simon Carpentier, Jim likened
their partnership to that of Bernie Taupin and Elton John. "Lyrics are
my first and main responsibility in Wintuk," he explains. "Simon is
writing the music and directing the singers. It's been a great work in progress
and he and I have bounced off each other really well."
"There's chaos and even anarchy about the creative process," he adds.
"I've always had - and insisted on - an acute sense of discipline
and hard work. Moments of inspiration are fleeting and unpredictable -
it's best to be prepared to catch them when they come by."
Jim Corcoran was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1949.