Lee Benoit
2014 Cajun Music Hall Of Fame Inductee

 

Lee was born (Bradley Dale Joseph Benoit) in 1959 to Neva Touchet and Ozone Joseph Benoit Jr. Lee was subsequently raised in Crowley LA by his Grandmother, Cidalise Mayer Benoit. He now lives in the town of Rayne LA. After graduating from high school, Lee joined the United States Marine Corps from 1976 to 1979 where he became proficient in Automated Data Processing. In 1978 he married his childhood sweetheart Valerie Ann Guillory and they raised two children, Damien Lee and Maegen Ann (all talented musicians in his family Band). They also have a Grandson, Xander Cruz born to Maegen in 2012. Lee returned to school in 1981 and became a Nationally Registered Paramedic. He worked as a medic on an ambulance for seven years and thereafter worked in the medical/safety department for the offshore oil industry for another seven years. He started playing Gospel music at the age of five on an organ given to him by his Grandmother. At the age of twelve, he learned the guitar and formed a band playing Country and Southern Rock influenced by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Hank Williams. He also learned to play the bass guitar in his teens. When Lee was 29, he was inspired by Wayne Toups, learned to play the accordion and henceforth added Cajun music to his repertoire. J.D. Miller signed him in 1993 as a recording artist with the Master-Trak  label in Crowley LA where he recorded his first three Cajun albums. "Avec Amis" in 1994, was nominated for "Best First Album" and the song "Valerie" was nominated for "Song of the Year"."Live at Vermilionville" in 1998, was nominated in five categories and won "Song of the Year" with the song "La Visite". Then in 2000, he recorded "Dis 'n' Dat", also winning "Accordionist of the Year". In 2002 he earned the CFMA's "Presidents Award". Lee produced, recorded, mixed and mastered his fourth album, "Ma Petite Femme" at his home studio in 2005 containing 12 songs, 8 of which are originals. The CFMA awarded him "Male Vocalist Of The Year", "Accordionist Of The Year" and "Song Of The Year" with the title song "Ma Petite Femme". Lee also received nominations for "Best Recording Of The Year" and "People's Choice in 2006". At subsequent Le Cajun Festivals, Lee was presented with the "Heritage Award" in 2011 and the coveted "Award of Excellence" in 2013 for promoting the use of proper Cajun language and for assisting young musicians in their recordings of traditional Cajun music. Lee Benoit always manages to bring unique melodies and lyrics into his songs as he strives to produce new Cajun music. His 2014 release "For The Generations to Come", contains all new original songs and also includes a new version of the song he wrote for his wife. "Valerie" has been one of the most frequently played love songs on Cajun Radio. In 2015, Lee won "Male Vocalist Of The Year", from the Cajun French Music Association on August 21st, 2015. He also received nominations with this album for "Best Recording Of The Year", "Band Of The Year", "Song Of The Year" (with the song "Le Garsoleil") and "Peoples Choice". Lee has been performing Cajun music five nights a week since 1994 and is very passionate about presenting his music and culture with pride, dignity and professionalism.