Born in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Norman grew up in the small town of Shawinigan, located in the beautiful region of La Mauricie. He received his very first piano lessons from his mom, who would play for them at night before bed.
Norman in Shawinigan, 1965
While studying graphic design in 1980, Norman had the chance to meet British musician Gary Numan on two different occasions, and it had a very positive impact on him. Norman recalls, “Despite all the success and hype about him, and the cold futuristic persona he projected on stage in those days, Gary was an extremely kind, friendly person. I remember telling him that making music was also what I wanted to do, and he was very supportive, giving me the stimulation to just go for it. That opened a lot of doors within me.”
With Gary Numan (left), 1980
After graduating from art school, Norman bought himself a synthesizer. He would work as a graphic designer during the day, and would write songs at night. “My primarily intention was mostly to have fun expressing my creativity with sound.” When he accumulated enough material, he started performing in small venues, adopting Norman Iceberg as his stage name and an androgynous look. “Putting make-up on was a very 'in' thing to do for guys back then, especially for musicians. I guess the statement we were all trying to make was that we, men and/or women, all are equal; well, that’s what I was trying to do.”
With Claudine Mercier (left), 1984
Norman had the pleasure to work with a lot of great musicians and vocalists through his gigs. Some of them happened to be synth wizard Mario Spezza (who was a member of Rational Youth), and stand-up comedian Claudine Mercier. It was around this period that dance music producer Tony Green, who had had a lot of success with France Joli's big hit 'Come To Me', offered him a record deal in 1985, with distribution by RCA (who eventually became BMG in 1987). A decision to give Norman's material a more commercial and danceable sound was then made. 'Be My Human Tonight' was the result of this new direction.
Then came 'Person(a)' released the following year, with more emphasis on synthesizers (and featuring superb performances by keyboardists Mario Spezza and Lenny Pinkas from Men Without Hats), 'Gotta Move', and the cheerful and upbeat 'Kiss the Beauty' who got a good response on the dance floors in 1989. A fun, catchy and colorful music video was also shot by young film director Erik Canuel for the title track. The follow-up 'We Act' was Norman’s very last dance project under the banner of Norman Iceberg.
With Erik Canuel (left), 1988
1992 began with a series of performances with a much more spontaneous approach. Norman started introducing some brand new acoustic songs sometimes along with actor/musician Robert Consoli, and sometimes accompanied by a five-piece band. “Pierre Lareau (Pete Lareau) blew me away with his amazing drum performance on 'His Own Story'. We played in front of wonderful audiences. I remember people being very receptive, smiling, and really enjoying the sets. Unfortunately, after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2004, my good friend Robert Consoli departed on March 5, 2005 at his house in Silver Lake, California surrounded by loved ones. I loved performing with Rob. He was very creative, generous, dedicated and fun to work with. He added a very warm and theatrical touch to the shows. I only have fond memories and a lot of gratitude when I think of him. I believe we all are eternal, and that we always get reunited with our loved ones. I'm looking forward to that day.”
With Robert Consoli (right), 1992
In 1993, Norman was joined by dancer Viktor Manoel from David Bowie’s 'Glass Spider' Tour, with whom he performed notably at Prince’s Glam Slam along with Luca Tommassini and Carrie Ann Inaba, both from Madonna’s 'Girlie Show' Tour. “Viktor was such an outstanding performer. His stage presence was so fabulous I asked him to open the shows.” In 1994, Norman recorded 'The Man Who Never Was' in California as Norman Joseph. He was then accompanied by the talented musician and composer Roberto Deus, with whom he had been collaborating with ever since the recording of the album "Person(a)", and with Ron Everett. After this project, he would also eventually decide to finally come back to Norman Bedard, his birth name.
With Carrie Ann Inaba (right), 1993
Back in Montreal, Norman reunited with a few longtime friends and collaborators such as Roberto Deus, and Kevin Komoda, who had worked with Pest 5000, Rational Youth, and Sarah McLachlan. “Our intention was just to come up with some new material that would sound good, at least to us. I wrote lyrics around the themes of today’s global village, love, and harmony. We recorded these new stripped-down songs in various locations. Sometimes we’d record the guitars over at Kevin’s place, and I would then record the vocals at my place, and if needed, the keyboards, the cello, the piano, and percussion at some other studio. At some point, we also tried to recapture just for the fun of it the sound of the eighties’ synthpop while at Men Without Hats’ home studio. We couldn’t dream of a better place!”
These recordings would eventually culminate in a series of pre-production albums not available commercially in record stores: 'Fuel' in 1998, 'Light' in 1999, 'Home' in 2000, 'Born' in 2001, and 'Prana', a collection of some of the best demo songs, in 2005.
With Kevin Komoda (left), 1998
In July 2007, Norman was embarking on another beautiful artistic adventure as he started working on his next musical project 'Vital', with co-producer Jean-Sébastien Brault-Labbé. “My main goal with this new album was to infuse all of the songs with as much light as possible. The result ended up being a nice collection of laid back grooves and heartfelt songs, which I’m very much satisfied with, and totally fond of. I'm so grateful, and so proud of all the wonderful and talented people I've had the chance and the pleasure to collaborate with on this album.”
The digital version of 'Vital' was released on July 15, 2009. It featured 2 exciting and exclusive bonus tracks: 'A Day With My Self (Return Of The Bumblebee)', as well as 'Space (Zak B Remix)', a fantastic remix by Osaka-based producer Zak B. A remastered version of 'We Act' was also released on the same date… Don’t we all love double features!
In March 2010, two new singles were also being simultaneously released: 'Wonderful' the first single off the new album (featuring a fabulous remix by Mike Waring from an amazing new British electronic band named Kiss The Beauty), as well as 'Crawl (Alternate Version)', a Norman Iceberg favorite recorded in the 1990s and newly remastered!
It was followed with another double release in June: 'A Day With My Self' and '1+1=2'! The next singles included 'Thank You' in October, 'Sleepytime' in December - to coincide with the holiday season, and 'Space' on the 8th of February, 2011.
This is the story so far…
“I want to thank you all for your amazing support and messages! I'm always looking forward to keep creating with musicians who also see music as a way to spread love and make people happy, and see each of us as a work in progress trying to make the world a better place. So, my main goal is simply to keep doing my best, and to bring as much light, hope, joy, and love as possible! Let's all have some fun while we're here!“