Press Interviews 1993 to Present

Étienne has done dozens of TV, magazine, newspaper and online interviews. Here are some interesting press interviews from the first 25 years with Étienne/DJ DELF.

Teaching Traveling.com

Travel By Performing Educational Songs: Educorock

Jun242014

 

Steven performing one of his educational songs.

Steven performing one of his educational songs.

Teaching Traveling: Welcome, Steven Langlois, the traveling education rocker behind Educorock! Steven, tell us a bit about your background.

Steven: My name is Steven Langlois and I am a Department Head of Modern Languages and a French Immersion teacher at Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada. This is my 21st year teaching. In that time, I have taught French (Core and Immersion), English, History and Spanish at seven different schools to students in grades K to 12. On top of my teaching duties, and those as a husband and father, I am also a full-time educational composer, author and performer of songs and music videos that help students learn French, Spanish and English. I have worked with most of the major educational publishing companies in North America and some overseas as an author, composer or consultant. I have presented workshops, sessions and keynote addresses around the world on topics from motivating students with music to current topics like Multiple Intelligences, Scaffolding and the Common European Framework. Under the stage-name “Étienne” (and now “DJ DELF”, as well), I have taken my “classroom” global having performed concerts for students in cities all over the world.

Étienne's screaming fans during a Windsor 2014 Concert.

Étienne’s screaming fans during a Windsor 2014 Concert.

TT: Awesome! Tell us more about your travels.

S: For the past 21 years, I have been blessed to have performed sold-out concerts in theatres and arenas to students and teachers literally all over the world. While most of my time is spent performing educational concerts throughout North America from Alaska to Florida and Halifax to Vancouver, I have had concert tours in New Zealand, Australia and I have performed in China and even at sea!

TT: Wow! How do you find your travel opportunities?

Steven with fans in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Steven with fans in Dunedin, New Zealand.

S: It found me. Being “Etienne” was NOT something that I ever purposed to become. It wasn’t even me that made up the stage-name. These two facts are intertwined in the same story of how it all started.

Back in 1993, like many teachers that didn’t have a job, I was a “substitute teacher.” At the time, I was covering a maternity leave that was about to expire, I asked Elaine Marentette, the French Consultant at our Board (known then as Perth County Board of Education), if I could address the French teachers of the Board at our next French meeting. Back then, teachers were responsible for phoning their own substitute teachers if they were going to be sick or away from class. I wanted to share some songs and activities that I did with my students (during that maternity leave job I was covering) so as to convince the French teachers of the Board that I would be a reliable teacher to call upon in their absence.

Bottom line, my mission failed. I never did get a single call to work as a substitute teacher. But, the teachers were so excited about the songs and activities, they demanded copies. And, the French Consultant was so excited that she said, “We have our own French rock star here. It’s ETIENNE!” (taking my name “Steven” and putting it into French: Etienne). From there, word of mouth spread about the songs and by the time the next year had rolled around, I was working full-time as an educational performer while starting my full-time teaching career.

His songs are catchy!

His songs are catchy!

So, music that I recorded in a tiny Church basement with a friend became the spark to music that spread like wildfire and allowed me to take my “teaching” literally around the world. Soon, I was teaching half the year and touring the rest of the year. I did that for years. Now, I take as many as 20 days scattered across the school year and fly in and out of cities performing two concerts at a time or spending weekends at conferences, sharing ideas and learning from my fellow colleagues.

People liken my life to that of Hannah Montana or Spider Man. On a Wednesday, I can be teaching in my classroom. That same night, I will catch a flight to a destination 4 hours away. The next day (Thursday), I perform two concerts and fly back home that night. The Friday, I’m back in the classroom as if nothing out-of-the-ordinary ever happened the day before. Even though I was busy doing this:

TT: What a life. How do you find the money to fund this travel?  

S: It is probably no secret that renting theatres and arenas can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars in advance. For most concerts, our company (Educorock Productions Inc.), funds the upfront costs to rent the venues. Then, schools purchase tickets to the shows. This helps cover costs for the venue, sound and light crews, flights, hotels and all other expenses. Not a simple undertaking. But, it is well worth the while to be able share the love of languages with so many students and teachers. Other times, school districts may receive funding to boost a love for languages and we work with those school boards and schools to help reach that goal. This video is an example of how this partnership works.

Fans scream for Steven!

Fans scream for Steven in Anchorage, Alaska!

TT: Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.

S: Wow. There are so many to choose from. “Powerful” is getting the same reaction from students (screaming, cheering and singing your songs word for word) no matter where you go. “Interesting” is going to New Zealand and having a Haka ceremony performed in your honour. “Funny” is taking for granted the impact we can make on people via our teaching. Case in point, though my music is used by teachers in France, I have not officially performed there to date. However, one of my songs was performed live on TV in front of millions in France by a fairly well-known artist named Justin Bieber. Though I never knew before that he was an “Etienne” fan, he chose one of my songs to sing live on TV when asked to sing a French song to the audience. Here is the video of Justin Bieber singing my song. You just never know.

Students love learning through Steven's songs.

Students love learning through Steven’s songs.

TT: So funny. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your current career?

Steven is a visionary.

Steven is a visionary.

S: Each and every place I go, I think I take a part of the people and their energy with me. Whether a crowd of 500 or 5000+ students, who wouldn’t get excited seeing everyone singing, dancing and having fun in the target language.

I try to bring that energy back into the classroom and into the workshops and sessions I share with my colleagues. And, of course, while travelling, I also scoop up items, menus and postcards along the way to show my students upon return.

TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?

S: Travelling has become a hobby for me and my family. When not touring as an artist, we are often touring as tourists. We have travelled all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Central America, and beyond.

Often, we take video wherever we are and it ends up in our music videos. Case in point, this song about “pronouns” that includes family footage of us at the Great Wall in China:

 

 

TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?  

S: To quote Ted Kirkpatrick, do not have “a microscopic view of a telescopic realm.” Think outside of the box. Life is short. Don’t be afraid of change. Those not afraid of change tend to travel! I have full respect for those teachers that impact their communities by teaching in the same classroom, in the same school for 30+ years. How rich that community is for your efforts! But, please understand that some of us were called to teach in a different way. Some of us become our own version of a travelling circus, edu-taining the masses. And, those shared moments enrich the lives of all involved.

TT: Thanks so much, Steven! What a story you have. Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this remarkable traveling, singing teacher? 

The stage is set... how will YOU perform?

The stage is set… how will YOU perform?

ENTERTWINE.NET

DJ DELF is the new stage-name for popular educational performing artist Étienne. Étienne is a two-time “Canada’s Artist of the Year” winner (CMW Awards, MuchMusic, MTV), who writes and produces music to help teach different languages to his audience. These languages include French, Spanish and English. He has performed sold-out concert tours in theatres and arenas worldwide. His music uses rap, rock, and dance music and has been recognized worldwide for his unique approach to educating listeners in a new way. Enjoy our interview with DJ DELF below!

Entertwine: When did you get your start in DJing? What attracted you to this style of music?

DJ DELF: DJing is relatively new for me. I have loved listening to dance and house music for years. But, I was so busy putting out rock and rap albums that I never thought of trying out a more electronic sound. When I did get into the DJing, I realized that I had to release this new album under a new stage-name. That’s why the artist name is “DJ DELF” instead of “Etienne” (which is the name most people know me by).

Entertwine: What led you to start creating educational music in order to teach listeners different languages, such as Spanish, English and French?

DJ DELF: When I was in Teacher’s College, I looked for music out there that I could use with my students to help them learn French. Most of the music out there was too childish. Most often, it was some guy that sat on a stool singing folk songs or kids’ music. I was teaching pre-teens and teens. I knew they wouldn’t go for that. So, without telling my students that it was me performing the music, I played them songs that I made up to help them learn grammar and vocabulary in French (and later, Spanish). Very soon, other teachers found out about it, word spread, and the music went worldwide.

Entertwine: What was it like winning Canada’s Artist of the Year award for TWO years in a row? What kind of preparation went into winning this award?

DJ DELF: That was an honour and a blessing because you have to first be nominated by a panel of your music industry peers (major label producers, record executives, etc.) and then the winner is decided by national voting. Fortunately, I was touring like mad for those two years. So, I was in the public eye enough to get votes. I was so busy in fact, that both years years that I won, I couldn’t attend the ceremony. And that’s weird, because I remember when I was growing up, that I absolutely hated when artists weren’t at award shows to receive their awards. But, one time I was in Edmonton and then the next year I was in Vancouver. The awards show is held and taped in Toronto. From Vancouver, though, I had my producer Jay Reihl accept for me and he put his phone to the mic, so I addressed the audience that way. It was fun.  But, I did finally get to go a few years later when I was nominated again. I didn’t win that year but I had a blast at the award show. The backstage VIP party was particularly memorable.

Entertwine: Your educational music uses a mixture of rap, rock, and dance styles – what encouraged you to use these styles, and what artists in these genres influence you the most?

DJ DELF:  I can’t play music styles that I don’t like. The diversity of music styles that I use are absolutely a direct result of the music I listen too. Truth be told, my favorite style of music would probably have to be death metal. I am in awe of the sheer complexity and musicianship of the craft of that style. If you ever listen to the complex operatic-metal of a band like Therion you’ll know immediately what I’m talking about. Of course, I can’t use the death metal music style for my educational music (although I have been known to inject some death metal growls and screams in choruses live in concert, much to the chagrin of my guitarist Roland Bibeau). But, that same kind of edge can be found in my rock, dance and rap songs, for sure. As for influences, on the rock side of things, I love to listen to a lot of bands that are appreciated mainly by other musicians. Bands like King’s X, Circle of Dust, Mortal, Bride, Tourniquet, Magdalen, and Veni Donime probably top my list.  On the rap and dance side of things, I love the tracks produced by artists like Stromae, Kamini and Lecrae.

Entertwine: What plans do you have for the rest of 2014? Any new releases, shows, tours, etc?

DJ DELF: I’m excited for what the rest of 2014 and what 2015 will bring. In the new school year, I hope to do some concerts in a few major cities. But, we hope to begin offering on-line concerts to reach any schools worldwide at the same time. Social media has made amazing things possible. Before, I had to tour Australia, New Zealand and the USA in separate years. Now, I can perform to anyone worldwide right on the internet. Hope to see some Entertwine readers in concert or e-concert soon!

Connect With Dj DELF:
www.djdelf.com
www.educorock.com
https://twitter.com/etienne2
https://www.facebook.com/Etienneonline
http://www.pinterest.com/educorock/

CrazyPellas.net

Interview with DJ DELF (Singer)

DJ DELF is based in Ontario, Canada. He has been in the music industry for 21 years and during that time has won numerous awards; 2x Canada's Artist of the Year (CMW Awards, Much Music, MTV Canada), several "Parents’ Choice Awards." He is also the youngest person to be awarded the 2003 Helen B. St. John Award for "outstanding professional contribution and leadership in the field of modern languages" from the Ontario Modern Language Teachers' Association. Akin to a 'lifetime achievement award.'

We recently caught up with him to talk about his career...


Thanks for taking the time to do this interview DJ DELF. Tell us a bit about yourself, your name, age, where you’re from and an interesting fact if you like...
My name is DJ DELF. Our record company (Educorock Productions Inc.) is based in Lasalle, Ontario, Canada. I’m probably better known under my principal stage-name “Étienne”. I’ve been producing songs and videos and performing for over 21 years now. My music ranges from hip hop, dance and rap to alternative and hard rock. What makes my music unique is that it is designed to teach the languages of French, Spanish and English.

MUSIC
How long have you been singing?
I started singing when I was probably about 9 years old. I remember being in the back seat of my parents car one day and saying "Hey Mom and Dad, I want to be a singer.” While most parents might say, “Ya, OK. Whatever son.” My parents said, “OK, but you’ll have to take lessons then.” And, from that moment on, I began training to be a singer.

What first got you interested in becoming a singer?
My Dad played in bands. There was always music on at home. I think I always loved music and singing along to songs on the radio, too. From a young age, I was able to remember lyrics after just hearing them once. And, I remember making up songs when I was really, really young and learning to recognize the structure in songs.

What/who inspires your music?
OK. Well, I know my talent comes from God. Might be the only one I have. So, I try to use it. But, my inspiration comes from music that I love and from my fans. In my niche of the music industry, I perform for students and teachers. So, they are my inspiration.

Do you see being a singer as a career, or as a hobby?
It’s been a full-time career for me for about 21 years now. But, it was never something planned or purposed. I’m just blessed enough to be the guy who, with support of my wife and family, gets to reap the benefits of sharing a love of music and languages with people from all over the world.

What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community? Are you trying to get rich? What is your goal for your music?
My music has a specific purpose. I perform rap, hip hop, hard rock and dance songs that help students learn French, Spanish and English. The goal of my music is to offer a real-life experience with languages. Students learn just by listening to and singing along with the tunes. Helping the community is what my music is all about. Growing up, I thought I was destined to be a heavy metal singer. But, as soon as I became “Étienne” and now “DJ DELF,” I had no time to write songs about cars, love, relationships or whatever. I’ve been too busy writing and performing songs about everyday aspects of life so students can learn vocabulary and expressions in other languages!

Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
I’ve been blessed beyond measure. I’ve performed live, sold-out shows in theatres and arenas to crowds as small as a couple hundred to as big as 7,500, all over the world. Stepping on stage in front of a crowd of students and teachers that are singing your songs so loud that you can’t even be heard is one of the most indescribably humbling experiences. The shows are loud often over 125 decibels. Not cause of the band or the music, but because of the fans screaming and singing along!

Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
I’ve learned to keep things simple. There are just three of us running all aspects of the business.

What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
I do not like talking about these things. I really don’t. I mean, you can list off the awards and such. But, at the end of the day, what really matters is family. I’m most proud of my wife, our son and our daughter.

Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
I’ve mixed and mingled with several popular artists over the years at awards shows, in the recording studio and even on vacation. But, probably the biggest artist that I’m associated with is Justin Bieber. About a year ago, on a popular TV show in France, he was asked to sing a French song live for the audience and for the millions watching at home. He chose to bust out singing one of my songs called “AVOIR II”. It was cool because he sang it the same way I do (with a bit of angst and edge). Take a look at the video and you can judge for yourself. I think he might even sing it better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6hKSl8FgBU

What one tip would you give to other aspiring independent artists?
Do what you do for the love of the art. Your passion is what people will be drawn to. I’ve recorded over 12 albums. And still 21 years later, people request songs from my very first CD at my shows. I think to myself, but man… those songs were so “bad” (in terms of recording quality). But, they like even the “oldies” or “classics”, I think, because they house the energy and intended purpose of my music.

What do you see is in the future for the music industry? How do you think it will evolve/change?
Totally interactive, virtual concerts, that’s where it’s at. We’re hoping to start doing things that way, ourselves. We already incorporate Twitter in our live shows. But, using social media to have people from all over the world together for a show LIVE from their home or classroom is something I hope teachers will be open to.

INTERNET
Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an independent artist?
Yes. No doubt. I’ve had a website since 1995. The same email address since 1995. The fans on the internet helped spread the word about my music and make it global.

How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
Too many artists complain about it. They say, look… there are too many millions of musicians already on the internet. But to me, that just means that there were always millions of musicians out there. It’s just that now, they have a chance to be heard. Personally, it gives me a chance to connect with fans (teachers and students). There are so many Facebook groups dedicated to the same passions as me. There’s this one group called “Ontario Core French Teachers” where you can interface and share with some of the most amazing human beings (not just amazing teachers) on the planet! I love hanging out there, on Facebook, and interacting with our thousands of followers on Twitter (@etienne2).

Where can we hear your music online?
You can go to our websites (www.djdelf.com, www.educorock.com), or our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/roggieV) or our Pinterest site (www.pinterest.com/educorock), or Facebook (www.facebook.com/etienneonline) . ITunes, Amazon and other sites too! Just search “Etienne” or “DJ DELF”.

IN CLOSING
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I’ve added a new hat with “DJ DELF”. I released this new project (CD, DVD and resource package for teachers) under a new name because it’s a new direction. I’m working with my fellow teachers to make learning French as real as can be.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
Always a good question. I hope and pray I will still be healthy. And, I trust I will still be happy.

Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
You know what. I always get great emails, tweets, DMs and posts from fans sharing how much they like my music. I would love to take this opportunity to say “Thank YOU!” I am motivated and energized by the students and teachers that listen to my music. Great people all over the world! Thank you to you all!

Thanks again DJ DELF for doing this interview.
Thank you.



Cited from: http://www.crazypellas.net/cms/interview-with-dj-delf-393/#ixzz35QF4VDoe

French concert a hit with students - Daily Herald Tribune - Grande Prairie, AB

French concert a hit with students

Local students converged on the Bowes Family Crystal Gardens yesterday for what was being called a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Grande Prairie played host to Frenchstock, a French concert providing students with an opportunity to experience francophone language and culture. Shows on the current Frenchstock tour are geared toward core French students in Grades 4-8, and French immersion students from Grades 1-6.
The event was headlined by Étienne and Beebo, two well-known children’s artists. Étienne, who is also a teacher, has twice been voted Canada’s favourite children’s artist of the year at the Canadian Music Week awards.
Beebo has produced nine albums and performs regularly for kids and families at concerts, festivals, schools and private engagements.
Also appearing with Frenchstock are Jacquot, Zoleo, Poutine and magician Marc Tardif.
Étienne has done a lot of shows throughout Alberta, but this was his first visit to Grande Prairie.
“We’re really excited to be here,” he said.
‘REALLY BLESSED’
“We’re really blessed. No matter where we go, all over the world, we get the same reaction, so it’s really cool.
More than 2,200 students showed up for two shows yesterday, a staggering number that Lesley Doell, the French language consultant at the French Language Resource Centre, was very pleased with.
“That’s just fabulous,” she said. “Two different shows and it gets them enthused for learning French as a second language and shows them it can be fun and educational at the same time.”
Schools from four different school divisions – and one school from B.C. – bused students to the event to get a taste of French culture and entertainment.
“Not every child can go to Quebec or New Brunswick or go to France, but what we can do is bring the culture here and let them know that it’s really enriching to learn a second language,” Doell said. “It gives you so much. I’ve never heard anyone who says ‘I regret being bilingual.’ ”
Étienne sang songs like ‘Pourquoi Take French,’ a rap song about a man meeting a French girl who asked him if he spoke French. Not knowing what to say in return, the man went and learned the language. The singer also did a song about verbs, something Doell found very beneficial.
“He teaches in French, but who does a song about verbs?” she said.
“He can do it and actually make it fun, and he’s got them moving and they need that. They need that tactile, kinesthetic stuff at the same time to get really enthused.”
It’s important that kids learn, but that they’re also able to have fun at the same time, said Étienne.
“Kids, ultimately it doesn’t matter who they are, they just want to have fun, so that’s what we give,” the performer said. “We give them a really good time and what they sometimes don’t realize is that they’re learning a lot.”
A lot of students said they weren’t sure what to expect, or that they expected something boring. At the end of the show, they were all raving about the performance and Étienne said that means a lot.
“We get that comment a lot, that students expect probably an older gentleman with a guitar, sitting on a stool and telling stories and singing folk songs,” he said. “And then they come here, and I’m labelled in the press as the Eminem of children’s music, and they come here and find out why. I’m loud and that’s what they like, so they get really excited.”
Scott Power, a Grade 7 student from St. Clement Catholic school, said the show was awesome. “I was expecting little kid stuff but it was pretty cool,” he said. “The best part was going up on stage and him choosing people.”
Power’s schoolmate, Ryan Cloutier, also in Grade 7, said he had a lot of fun and liked watching his friend go up on stage. “I liked going up (at the end) and doing that song, and watching Ryan go up on stage and do the Macarena.”
Garret Skarberg, a Grade 5 student from Robert W. Zahara public school, was one of those students with lower expectations.
“I was expecting someone playing a guitar, maybe a really big song that lasted 15 minutes, but there were plenty of small songs. It was amazing,” he said. “I liked when the clown came out and the last part where we started singing about directions.”
Doell said federal funding really helped and that it is important to have money to spend on cultural events for the students.
“It’s very important for them to come up here. It’s just taken off more than we ever thought it would,” she said. “The cultural side is so important. When you’re learning a language you also learn the culture and you’ve got to be able to bring the two together.”
Doell said it was clear a lot of students had done so and that it really added to the experience.
“It creates more of a passion and enthusiasm for learning French and actually for learning any second language,” she said. “It’s important that they see the benefit of it and they see also that they’re part of a much larger group. They’re not the only ones learning French here in the Grande Prairie area.”
Ultimately, the goal is that the students take the energy that was created at the event back to their classrooms, said Étienne.
“Hopefully they will ask their teachers to sing, ‘can we do that song or that song,’ and that can be infectious,” he said. “They’ll start to learn more and feel more comfortable with the language of French.
For more information, check out www.frenchstock.ca
cmills@bowesnet.com Article ID# 1543632

Promoting A Global Community / Language Students Treated to International Performer - Anchorage, Alaska

Promoting A Global Community / Language Students Treated to International Performer

From: News Views Magazine
How many students do you think would willingly attend rock concerts that focused on French and Spanish grammar and vocabulary? On Friday October 6th... students did just that and the performances were far from boring! Steven Langlois (aka Etienne) is a teacher from Ontario who is regarded in Canada as the "Eminem of Children's music." His loud and energetic shows use compelling beats and various musical genres to repeat and reinforce grammatical structures...
It's no wonder he was honored with Canada's Artist of the year.
Many world language teachers have used his CDs and videos in their classrooms. The audience (grades 7-12) was easily engaged with both Etienne's music and charismatic styles. Within minutes the students were jumping around yelling out and singing. The only reported downside to the concerts came from those who had Etienne's songs stuck in their heads days after the concert.

Eminem for Children Educates and Entertains - Mississauga News - Mississauga, ON

Eminem for Children Educates and Entertains

Teenagers have the uncanny ability to sniff out a phony, especially one who uses a hip and stylish package to push education on them.

Teenagers are a sly bunch and they know when they're being had. So, Windsor singer/songwriter Steven Langlois knows he has to be straight with teens if he wants them to keep turning up to his educational music concerts.

"I can't explain it," said Langlois, 34, who goes by the stage name Etienne. "I'm honest with who I am, so maybe that's why the kids respect me."

An award-winning musician, Etienne brings his blend of hip-hop and rock music rife with educational lyrics to the Living Arts Centre for a concert this Monday. Tickets to the Hammerson Hall show cost $6. Call 905-306-6000. Show time is 1 p.m.

A high school French teacher, Etienne began using music as a way to get through to some of his more reluctant students 12 years ago. Claiming he's no Weird Al Yankovic, Etienne writes all his music and lyrics that teach grammar skills in English, French and Spanish.

"I knew music was a heavy motivation for teens," said Etienne, who said he has been described as the 'Eminem of children's music.' "

The kids go absolutely nuts at the shows. It's the craziest thing. But the music does have an edge and it's in your face."

A staple at the Canadian Music Week's The Indies Awards, Langlois was nominated for Favourite Children's Artist this year (which he lost) but won in the same category in 2004. In 2003, he took home the trophy for Children's Album of the Year.

Rapper and Teacher - Maple Ridge Times (Warning: Tabloid Article!!!) - Maple Ridge, BC

Rapper and Teacher

All the Fairview homies, the Albion, the Highland Park, the Garibaldi and the Maple Ridge homies, they were all down with Etienne. And they don't play around.

If you stink, they'll tell you. If your rhymes are wack, they'll let you know.

Etienne, which translates into Steven in French, gyrated his hips and maneuvered his lips in a way that made all the girls scream. Even the boys let loose.

"I love your towel," yelled several different girls.

The pink, purple and turquoise beach towel played the role of handkerchief at the beginning of the show and graduated into a bath robe of sorts by the time Etienne finished.

There are very few performers who sweat as much as Etienne but it goes with the territory when your game is keeping young kids interested. It's gotta be high energy when you're an edu-rocker.

Keeping them interested all the way through an hour-long performance is tough. Who wouldn't be skeptical if their teacher told them they'd be listening to a French rapper from Windsor Ontario?

He's even been dubbed by media as the children's version of Eminem, but only because of his skin colour.

Although it's nothing but a nice floury lie to think that these students Etienne - aka Steven Langlois - is performing for aren't familiar with the violent, over-the-top lyrics of mainstream rappers, they all seem to appreciate what he's about.

"Kids like the fact that I have that edge," said Langlois. "They come to the show expecting some guy sitting on a stool."

After one of his shows in West Philadelphia, Langlois was told by a teacher that the kids were blown away his show.

"To them you're as cool as Snoop Dogg and Notorious BIG, and these kids know their rap," said the teacher.

An Etienne show is all about interacting with the audience. Mostly it's high-fiving the kids or getting the crowd to jump around but sometimes he throws in a little something for the teachers.

On Tuesday he performed in Burnaby and as usual he did a tribute to the Backstreet Boys, a sappy, French love song that at a normal show would make even the most romantic woman hurl.

Only this time he was invited onto the lap of a teacher who decided that she was going to be the one making the moves. He played along for a few seconds of awkward intimacy but then cut the act and went back to the show.

That must have been kind of nice, right?

"Personally, no," said Langlois. "But I would never tell her that."

Langlois is a happily married man with two kids who has taken a sabbatical from his teaching job at Herman Secondary in Windsor to embark on a world tour as Etienne.

The tour started in the beginning of February and will end in August with stops in New Zealand and Australia.

Although he's sold tens of thousands of CDs in three languages - English, French and Spanish - and admits he could have left his teaching job two years into it (financially speaking), he's been able to balance both the music and the classroom work.

After all, the two go hand-in-hand.

The 34-year-old Langlois, is a trained vocalist (Royal Conservatory) who has been singing for most of his life. He started using his music as a teaching tool back in teacher's college and now that he's taught for 12 years he still uses music to educate his students.

Grammar, verb conjunction, prefixes, suffixes, adjectives, vowels, he teaches it all through music. But not all the time.

"Contrary to what people may believe, I don't use music all the time," said Langlois.

His music has been recognized by the Canadian Music Week Indies Awards - he won favorite children's artist last year and won children's album of the year in 2003.

And apparently he's also changed a few lives, or so he's been told. Although he uses the comments on his promotional kit, he laughs after pondering the thought.

"God can change your life," said Langlois. "I don't know about some French educational rapper."

We'll just say he's good at what he does.

French Lesson With A Beat - Otago Daily Times - Dunedin, New Zealand

French Lesson With A Beat

Twelve years ago Steven Langlois was a teacher in Ontario, Canada.

Today he is an award-winning hard rock/rap artist, named Etienne.

Never heard of him?

It’s probably because he performs in French, using music as a motivational tool to help spread the language.

Etienne took to the stage in Dunedin yesterday in front of an audience of 350 high school French pupils, punctuating his performance with cries of “come on” and “you guys are great”.

The mostly female audience, lapped up his antics as he postured, rapped and howled around the Bayfield Auditorium. Some screamed, some gave him high fives and others simply waved placards towards the stage.

Etienne said in North America they call him the children’s Eminem but there were no swear words, no dwarfs and no drug-taking at this show.

“I’m loud and obnoxious but that’s where it ends,” he said.

An educator rather than an aggravator, 12 years ago the languages teacher wrote songs for his pupils, in an effort to help them understand verbs.

“A teacher found out about these songs and encouraged me to record them. I released an album, sold tens of thousands of copies and got concert requests from all around the world.

“I’m pretty blessed.”

He has won two Canadian MTV awards for his music but manages to stay grounded during his globetrotting lifestyle.

Backstage debauchery is out.

“I’ve brought my wife and kids with me this time – and I go back to being a teacher when I return to Canada. I’m lucky the school board is so supportive.” Using music appealing to today’s youth goes a long way to helping them remember French, he said.

“You go to most education shows and there’s a guy sitting there on a stool with an acoustic guitar.

“That’s not me. I like loud, in-your-face stuff. I grew up listening to metal and that’s what I like.

“They seem to like it too. It sticks in their head.”

Edmonton Journal

Students from the Windsor area french schools were treated to the award-winning rap, rock, club dance, reggae, and world beat music of Étienne at the WFCU Centre in Windsor on Wednesday, November 25, 2009. Étienne is the stage-name of Steven Langlois, a teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board who performs educational french music.

 

Students from the Windsor area french schools were treated to the award-winning rap, rock, club dance, reggae, and world beat music of Étienne at the WFCU Centre in Windsor on Wednesday, November 25, 2009. Étienne is the stage-name of Steven Langlois, a teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board who performs educational french music.

 
 
 
 
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In The News - Pittsburgh, PA

In The News

Over 1,000 students from the Pittsburgh area were on their feet, dancing, clapping and singing in French... Concepts that many students find difficult to grasp with traditional teaching methods are more easily learned through Etienne’s music.

CTV News - Winnipeg, MB

CTV News, Winnipeg

"Étienne was wowing Winnipeg school kids at Pantages Playhouse Theatre today... His music is unique because while students are being entertained they are also learning literacy and language skills."

That's A Rap - Hamilton Spectator - Hamilton, ON

That's A Rap (French Star Etienne Visits Hamilton)

"Charismatic... unbelievable.... students are actually excited about learning grammar."

High School Teacher Wins National Award for Kids' Music - London Free Press

High School Teacher Wins National Award for Kids' Music

“Parents are impressed and grateful to see their children enhance their language skills, but have fun doing it.”

Etienne Wins Music Award - Windsor Star - Windsor, ON

Etienne Wins Music Award

"He is dubbed the Eminem of Children’s Music because his unique blend of music wins over audiences."

Star Phoenix

 

Gallery: National photos of the year