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Concordian astonishes on La Voix

A grad’s moody folk song rendition charms Quebec reality show judges
February 25, 2015
By Scott McCulloch

Mathieu Holubowski performs on La Voix.

It took all of 44 seconds for Concordia graduate Mathieu Holubowski, BA 12, to win over four celebrity judges on Quebec’s popular reality show La Voix (The Voice).

The 26-year-old’s rendition of folk singer Ray LaMontagne’s mournful tune, Burn, swiftly charmed the show’s panel, including veteran Montreal pop rocker Éric Lapointe.

“I thought the song would reach the hearts of the audience,” says Holubowski. “I didn’t know what the judges’ reaction would be at all.”

Holubowski says his January 18, appearance on La Voix was a first. “I decided to do it for the heck of it.”

His goal was to promote his band, Ogen, and its debut album Old Man. “I felt it would bring some exposure,” says Holubowski.

It has. Yet the Hudson, Que., native’s rise to prominence is unusual. Holubowski, a political science graduate, took up guitar at 17 and “got serious” about singing at 21. “It coincided with the travels I did one semester.”

Mathieu Holubowski WATCH: Mathieu Holubowski's stunning performance on La Voix | Photos courtesy of TVA

That was in 2012 as a participant on Concordia’s Volunteer Abroad Program in Uganda. Holubowski says the African journey shaped his music and his life goals.

“My intentions are to go back to school, get a master’s degree and become a teacher,” Holubowski says. “That still holds whether or not this music thing pans out.”

Where La Voix brings Holubowski next will come down to its judges. Yet Holubowski says he intends to steadfastly pursue his folk-song ambitions.

“People have started to appreciate lyricism in music. I have this dream to bring back the Bob Dylans and Leonard Cohens of the world.”

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