“Métèque”, Renaud’s new album comes out this Friday 6th May. The 69-year-old singer, who gives few interviews, has agreed to receive “La Voix du Nord” in a Parisian bar.
– “La Tendresse”, “Le Métèque”, “Nuit et brouillard”… cover thirteen great French songs, was it difficult to choose?
“No. I thought about the songs of my childhood, of my adolescence. The most recent is Hollywood by David McNeil, sung by Yves Montand. The oldest is Chuck’s wail, 18, which I sang during rehearsals at every concert: I love the Robin Hood side of this song. “
Another old song is “Le Temps des Cerises” …
“I was 8 years old, I used to go to the suburbs, to Saint-Denis, to visit my maternal grandfather, a former miner, who worked in a factory. I found myself in a bistro, I see a herd of offspring leaning against the counter. A charcoal burner arrives, his face black with coal, the moment we delivered the coal to Paris. They tell him charcoal burner, he sings for us The cherry season. She sang it a cappella. You shocked me. “
-You are nostalgic for your happy childhood, did you go back to it while recording this album?
“Sure. 1969, The Metec by Moustaki, for me it was a revolution. I chose it as the name of the album because it is the title that most distinguishes the soul. It’s a well-known song and I’m a bit wog in my own way: I’m out of the ordinary. “
“Brassens was more shy than me”
-No Gainsbourg song, which you love …
” Mouth watering, Prevert song… There will certainly be one in the second volume. “
– You play “Bonhomme” a little known song by Brassens. Why this?
“According to friends of Georges, whom I was dating, it was his favorite. What surprised me because there is The storm, Courage Margot and many others. I had not included it, erroneously, in Renaud sings Brassens. The version is more current, different from the original arrangements. I hope I haven’t betrayed Brassens. There are others that I could have collected. But it’s a song for an artist. Maybe I’ll get another one in volume 2. “
–Brassens you said: “Your songs are well constructed …”
“Wonderfully well built. I remember it like it was yesterday. “
-We remember this sentence but are there other things?
“No, I talked to him for a minute on a television. I muttered a ridiculous compliment to say I’ve listened to it all my life. Brassens was more shy than me. He came towards me slowly, across the room, lowering his eyes. A handshake. An unforgettable moment. “
“I dream of going to the Braderie de Lille”
– You are attached to the North, what do you like to do there?
“Rue des Bouchers, the comic shops. I dream of doing the mixed sale. I like the atmosphere and the people. I experienced the fans singing the Corons at the Lens stadium: a great emotion. There is a mutual love between the people of the north and me. “
-There is a song by your friend Hugues Aufray, “The day the boat will come”… Why this choice?
“She is less known, I wanted to introduce her. It is rhythmic, it gives joy. We call each other regularly. I admire him, he’s 93 and he’s still a young man, a cowboy. Sometimes I don’t like the reactive side of him. “
-The arrangements of the songs are magnificent …
“I gave Michel Coeuriot carte blanche. An excellent arranger who in particular has made sentimental crowd. “
-Have you worked on your voice?
“No. I reduced my cigarette. I went from four packs to one or two a day. Otherwise no, I’m not very kind to my voice.”
-Is there still stress before releasing a new album?
“Obviously, the record is no longer sold today. I don’t expect surprising results. It’s a shame because it’s an album that I really like. “
“I am shy”
-Before returning to the stage you said “I am a folk hero”. Why do people like you Renaud so much?
“Because I’m kind. Because my songs sound like people. “
Do you want to go back to the stage?
“At the same time I feel like it, at the same time I’m tired: the rehearsals, the make-up, the interviews, the fans… And above all, I have vocal problems. I don’t think I’ll do it again. But I really want it for this audience. They are like crazy, it is exciting. “
Do few interviews, does it bother you?
“Yes, it bothers me. I don’t like giving up my soul. I reveal myself in every interview as being modest. When I talk to a reporter I feel like I’m talking to my best friend, so I say bullshit. I regret later. “
Why did you support Philippe Poutou?
“I supported it even if it means cutting the branch I’m sitting on by voting for Poutou who is against capitalism, money, excessive salaries: I’m on the wrong side of the fence. I could have made him lose his voice … “
His latest album, Children and children first of all (November 2019), had been disappointing. Renaud is back this time with an album full of tenderness and poetry that will seduce those who love the French song. Renaud just sings REAL to use an adjective he uses regularly. He plays with emotion titles that he loves deeply and it shows. Michel Coeuriot’s arrangements are wonderful and give new impetus to the great classics of French song. We are shaken alive Night and fogmoved by listening Tenderness Where Company. With If you pay me a drink, we find the Renaud di Manu, a friend who has always known how to find the words to console us. Only disappointment The Metecin which the rock rhythm takes over the lyrics and the tired voice of the singer.