Born in Montreal, John Labelle has been a jazz fan for as long as he can remember. From an early age, he listened to the great big band vocalists, including Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney; and, of course, Frank Sinatra, who would later become one of his greatest influences.
To be close to the music he loved, Labelle landed a job at the famous Biddle's Jazz and Ribs nightclub, an institution in Montreal for the last twenty years. Working there, Labelle came into contact with some of Montreal's finest musicians whom he listened to and learned from. He quickly gained a reputation for knowing all the lyrics, and could often be heard singing along with the evening's performers