Erik Mongrain taught himself guitar from the age of 14. As a boy, he was mostly interested in sports but picked up an interest in the guitar and began to teach himself to play by ear. Erik started out playing the electric guitar, but developed an interest in classical and acoustic guitar after hearing the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. He taught himself to read music and began composing.
Erik Mongrain was inspired early on by the work of Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. When he was 18, he heard the work of guitarist Don Ross and he thought: "This was a new revelation to me. I finally found my niche." After that, Erik was heavily influenced by the work of Michael Hedges. Erik also began to experiment with a technique known as lap tapping, in which the player lies the guitar across their lap, and taps the strings on the fret board with both hands.
Erik Mongrain plays live shows in the United States, Japan, Germany, Canada, and England. He started out busking in the streets, before he was discovered in Spain; Erik's music is featured in a documentary produced by Lance Trumbull for the Everest Peace Project. He was featured on the cover of Guild Guitar Company Magazine. Erik was featured in Le Journal de Montréal and many other acoustic guitar magazines. Erik released his first full-length album, Fates, in December 2006 on his website as a series of individually buyable/downloadable songs. The physical CD was released in June 2007 (May for Japan).
In 2007, Mongrain went on a tour around the world, particularly in Europe, Asia and America. He performed also at the famous Montreal International Jazz Festival and at the "Studio-théâtre" of the Place des Arts of Montreal where the live performance was recorded. Mongrain was invited for the premiere of the « World Music Heritage », a drive by Gontiti on the national Japanese network (NHK). The broadcast started last May 2007 and the footage used for the broadcast is filmed in Montreal's streets and in Saint Joseph's Oratory, reputed for its acoustics.
The iVideoSongs company have filmed four clips including Equilibrium, a recent composition. The clips are tutorials of Mongrain's lap tapping style, downloadable on the company's Web site.
His "AirTap!" video has been viewed over 6 million times on YouTube.
On Friday 6 November 2009, Erik appeared on Later... with Jools Holland in the UK on BBC2.
On October 21, 2008, Erik Mongrain launched his second album "Equilibrium" which contained 9 new compositions. The title track from the album is an ode to the balance between humans and the planet. The album was recorded on July 2008 in "The Dragon Crossing studios", the personal recording place of Paul Reed Smith (PRS Guitars), located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States. On this new album, Mongrain plays with musicians such as Michael Manring on fretless bass and Bill Plummer on synthesizers.
The album was launched live on Mongrain's official website (streamed broadcast) on 21 October 2008. The event called "Equilibrium Experience" will broadcast an exclusive live concert from Montreal and interviews with the artist directly from his living room.
In August 2012, he released an 10-track album called Forward. Once again, Michael Manring makes a guest appearance on fretless bass. The album has songs with a more melodic and optimistic mood compared with his previous album Equilibrium.
Since 2016, he's held live guitar sessions on Twitch every Tuesday and Sunday. He's asking for donations to help funding the recording sessions of his new album called Tempo, which will be released sometime in 2017.Fates (2007)
Tempo (TBA, 2017)