Interview with Marie Minet

marie minet

The remix of Marie Minet single ‘Hanoï’ is out now 

Lately, I had the chance to interview  Marie Minet, great French singer-songwriter, and talk about her single Hanoï and how the city of Lisbon and her producer Jon Luz had a major impact on her music.

HELLO MARIE, CONGRATS ON YOUR LAST SINGLE ‘HANOI’. TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS NEW SINGLE AND YOUR STORY UP UNTIL NOW.

Thank you! Hanoi is actually the first song I wrote. I was with my brother in Vietnam, sharing dreams about being an artist, leaving from my passion. We were on the roofs of Hanoi, with that panoramic view, and started to wonder, imagining a story with that vibrant city as a background. We wrote song that were both meaningful for my brother and I,  at different levels: a ballad about a Parisian woman’s desire to leave everything behind. The next day, I heard some soft guitar lines in a restaurant and started improvising on it. I recorded it on my phone and the music came to life. 

IN YOUR SONGS THERE ARE OFTEN MULTIPLE GENRES MERGED TOGETHER AND DIFFERENT INFLUENCES. USUALLY, HOW DO YOU DECIDE THE DIRECTION OF A SONG DURING THE WRITING AND PRODUCTION PROCESS?

I have started my musical journey in Lisbon among a new wave of artists bridging the gap between the African and Portuguese culture and in which I try to bring my vision of French music. The fusion of influences is part of my history here in Lisbon and I cultivate it, being open to travels, new encounters and experiences.Those influences are part of my history,  integrating them into my music was a natural process. 

I composed Clair Obscur in lockdown in Portugal, where I crossed paths with Jon Luz, a genius guitarist and central figure in world music, who was able to cradle my melodies with Cape Verdean and African influences, creating a beautiful synthesis of world music and French song.  Jon composed for Cesaria Evora for a long time and accompanied her during her career. He once told me that producing this album, which takes its roots in Luso-African culture and links it with French songs, was a way for him to thank France, which had welcomed Cesaria so well and contributed to making Cape Verdean music known throughout the world.

THE TUNE THAT SEEMED THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ON YOUR STREAMING PLATFORM IS ‘PRETE A TOUT’. WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE SINGLE AND WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS WITH THIS RELEASE?

Prete a tout is the second single from my Album Clair Obscur. 

It is a song about the abyss of love, about the intense passions that make us give up reason, perspective, even our inner voices of caution, the alarms that sound in our heads. The passions that leave deep marks and forever inhabit our memories. These are the passions that inspire the best songs and Jon Luz,  in his arrangements, found space to transmit the pains and delights of those loves.

I wish that song could live forever, and be seen in a few decades as a standard of french chanson, timeless and universal. 

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BE A SINGER-SONGWRITER AND START A PROFESSIONAL MUSIC CAREER?

I have always had a very strong emotional bond with music. An ultra-sensitivity to this direct language that passes through words or thought to touch us in the depths of our being. When I listen to Bach’s suites, seized by this mysterious and intimate universe, I instantly connect with the music, the feelings become mine, and carry my truth, my story, my emotions. When Nina Simone sang “Ain’t got no, I got life” I felt by the sheer force of her voice that she tells us everything, she carries within her the despair and hope of a whole world. For me, music is simply pure beauty. It contains a truth that is both intimate and universal, graspable and elusive, that we all carry inside ourselves.

Surprisingly, music has allowed me to discover my own truth and to accept it. It has always been present and has marked important moments in my life. I secretly dreamt of being an artist, composing without finding the strength and the confidence to give myself fully, body and soul and transforming this fantasy into reality. I remember long evenings in my family home in Brittany listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations on a loop on an LP. I grew up in this environment where music and the arts were omnipresent. In Paris I composed my first songs with my brother Paul, but progressively denied this impulse in favour of a normative and standardised life in which I was engaging for the wrong reasons. 

I think I really took that step in Lisbon, during an evening in Tejo Bar ( a unique place in Lisbon held by Jon Luz the producer of my first album) carried away by the magic of the moment, I let myself go and indulged this need to express myself through music. I realised at that moment that this repressed, fantasised passion was finally my reality. I was finally ready to blossom in music and to commit myself fully to it.

HOW’S THE INDIE MUSIC SCENE IN PARIS AND WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FRENCH ARTISTS? 

I have a profound respect for Yseult as an artist and a woman. Yseult is putting her own take on traditional variété française, changing the face of pop in France with a sensual and introspective music. She is a pure talent, breaking codes and fighting hard to gain his freedom and independence. 

Overall, I am glad to see artists embracing change and cultural diversity in the French music scene redefining what ‘French music’ means.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REST OF 2021? 

I am full of projects. After a month trip in Ghana I have now opened my work to artists of the new electronic generation (Kelp-vibes, Killbeatz, Two Bars, Possegee, Pedro da Linha…), notably from the afro-fusion and afrobeats movement, to create a new remixed version of each of my songs. 

The first track Hanoi Kel-p Remix has just been released. Kelp-vibes is a young Nigerian producer, who made a name for himself by producing last year’s Grammy-nominated album African Giant. He carries the acoustic tradition of Afrobeat, which he elegantly blends with more electronic rhythms. A perfect balance to rethink an album, already marked by this fusion between African melodies and French songs, by adding a more danceable and electronic touch.

We are working on a very exciting project together … stay posted !

Artists Links:

By Romeo Ciarla