The late Quebec musician Karim Ouellet has an award named in his honour

Karim Ouellet

Karim Ouellet was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1984. He was adopted by Canadian diplomats at the age of one. When he was 15 his family returned to live in Quebec City. Ouellet learned to play the piano, percussion, and guitar as a child. He composed his first song when he was seven. He took up the electric guitar as a teenager, and began playing with local bands. He met Claude Bégin in around 2005; Bégin co-wrote the lyrics and music for Ouellet’s first three albums.

Ouellet was the leading representative of an intellectual kind of pop music that included elements of soul, reggae, folk, and electroacoustic features. Because of his silky voice, and infectious refrains, he established himself as a highly unique performer. Ouelett died in 2022 at the age of 37. He was a diabetic.

Le Grand Théâtre de Québec recently announced a new prize in memory of talented musician. The award is earmarked for emerging Quebec artists.

The value of the prize is $7,500. The winner will also be able to put on a show at le Grand Théâtre de Québec the year after being awarded.

Rapper Sarahmée, Ouellet’s sister

The news of the prize comes just a few months after le Grand Théâtre de Québec staged the show Bye Bye Bye Karim, in memory of the singer.

“It’s really a prize to commemorate the memory of Karim, his musical values, his pride for being from Quebec and of living in his neighbourhood, in the Basse-Ville, so our family is very proud and very touched,” rapper Sarahmée, who is Ouellet’s sister.

Sarahmée will be on the selection committee. To be eligible the artist must be at the beginning of their career, living in Quebec City or Wendake, and able to put on a live show of at least 30 minutes.

“Karim was always an artist who supported emerging artists and he was, right to the end of his life, proud of living and evolving as an artist in his city of Quebec,” added Sarahmée.