From Montreal, Quebec, this well-loved duo plays original jazzy-nova songs along with classic and contemporary covers. Over the years, their music has been internationally released on various CD's, soundtracks and compilations, winning over music lovers from Toronto to Tokyo.
Their background shows an early love of music. Bet.e studied psychology and communications in college. She dabbled in theater, radio and studied modern ballet. When she decided to become a singer, Stef opened doors by introducing her to bossa nova. "I fell in love with it. I just immersed myself in the language, rhythm, and styles. I was bowled over by how beautiful this music was," recalls Bet.e, whose musical roots include '60s-style R&B and Psychedelic Rock as well as bands like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and Einsturzende Neubauten. Stef, a born music enthusiast, played and sang in various jazz and rock bands from a young age. At 21, he traveled to Paris and studied vocal jazz and musical arrangements under Christiane Legrand, former lead singer of Double Six and Swingle Singers, and sister to Oscar-winning French composer and pianist Michel Legrand.
In 1997, combining their first demo cassettes, the duo released Jazz/Bossa Nova. Independently-created, it went on to break records with Gold sales, a rarity for a self-promoted and distributed indie jazz album. In 2002, Bet.e & Stef signed with Universal Music Group and launched Day by Day, which quickly went Gold and got nominated for a Canadian Juno Award. During this period, the duo also signed a deal with Toshiba-EMI in Japan, releasing slightly different versions of these albums and beginning their travels in that part of the world, notably during a Blue Note Club tour, in 2003.
This Quebec indie band remains one of the most compelling artistic and commercial success stories in the Canadian music business. Their exceptional case served as an example at the renowned HEC Montréal Business School because in addition to being musicians, Bet.e & Stef successfully took on the daunting tasks of doing their own booking, producing, marketing and distribution. Through steady work and careful planning, they smoothly worked their way up from restaurants and lounges to smaller clubs and ultimately, to larger concert venues that eventually took them across Canada, to Japan and Brazil.
After a period of time away from the band to complete other projects including solo albums, Bet.e & Stef have reunited to pick up the trail and continue the creative work that launched their early association. “This hiatus gave me the chance to advance both my production skills and overall music knowledge by producing several other styles of music, from industrial metal to North African Gnawa music, Canadian folk singers to electro-jazz or Romanian gypsy,'' says Stef. ''Each one of them opened my eyes to new musical frontiers.'' Adds Bet.e: ‘’We now have more to offer because we came out of this hiatus enriched, both personally and musically.’’
During this time, Stef got involved in the electronic music world and thus the idea of a Bet.e & Stef remix project was born. Thrilled for a chance to hear unexpected new sounds in their material, Bet.e and Stef teamed up with DJ and producer Mike Fresco to reel in a stellar team of international DJ's including Louie Vega, Nicola Conte, King Britt, Buschemi, Nickodemus and Dorfmeister. In June 2013, they released a double CD with Universal Music in Canada called ''Remix Deluxe''. It was also released with rave reviews in Europe under the title ‘’All Is Well,’’ by German electronic-music label Compost.
The affection the public feels for this band has only deepened over time as seen in many sold-out shows across Québec since their return in 2013. Accompanied by guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Australian producer and singer Jay Atwilll, Bet.e and Stef revisited the public’s favorite songs by crafting brand new arrangements. This got their creative juices flowing...
‘’New ideas emerged. Playing for audiences allowed us to find our natural groove. Over a few months these sounds became the backbone of our new album. We’re playing guitars over world beat rhythms with vocal harmonies and adding a new touch of electro-folk sound,’’ explains the duo.
Universal Music Canada and Bet.e and Stef have thus chosen to continue their collaboration with this new album, called ‘’Seeds.’’ Composed entirely of original songs, this latest creation comes as the result of a period during which the band reunited and renewed its connection with adoring fans.
‘’We are privileged to discover a whole new generation of fans whose parents listened to our music. They grew up hearing it! That connection grew stronger over time and it’s an honour to have witnessed it since our return, playing to full houses filled with listeners who’d forgotten nothing at all,’’ say Bet.e and Stef, taking in the scope of the contribution they left behind during a career spanning over twenty years.