Autobiography of Yves Duteil: Of love and freedom

At the dawn of his 50-year career, the French singer Yves Duteil wanted to write his autobiography. He talks about the importance of freedom, his love for his profession, the encounters he had over time that made him grow and above all his unfailing love for his wife, Noëlle.

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“I wanted to send a declaration of love to my wife, Noëlle”, the singer-songwriter Yves Duteil immediately confides. “She is at the center of all my songs. “

Noëlle Léonore Mallard is the one he married in 1975 and with whom he had a daughter, Martine. From the first pages of her book, written at length, like a long poem, we understand all the love he has for her.

Suffering also did not get the better of these two kindred spirits. Also, the trigger was the great ordeal that wife went through: a cancer diagnosed in 1999. If he got out, she would write a book to show her love for her. Why should we wait for people to die to honor them?

Then in 2013, after a fall and a hospital stay, the singer learned that he had a heart defect and had to undergo open heart surgery; he had to stop everything. Of course, there will always be people who will be able to show resilience and benefit from difficulties. “He brought us together and made us grow,” admits Yves Duteil.

For the singer, deprived of presenting shows, the pandemic was an opportunity to write this book and to revisit some songs as well as compose new ones. Driven by balance, even if music is omnipresent in her universe, he also prefers silence.

“It’s the cradle of inspiration,” says the 72-year-old singer. I am very intuitive in writing. ”

The importance of choices

Yves Duteil talks about the importance of making choices in his book That’s True Freedom.

“I chose the best work in the world,” says the man who received his first guitar at the age of 15.

In addition to professional choices, there are also the choices we make on a daily basis.

“I chose sweetness, not cruelty, not cynicism, but kindness which for me is a crucial choice, even if I am rebellious and resistant”, considers the singer who specifies that we must be very resistant even when we choose sweetness. The choice of softness is everywhere, even to say things.

He also chose to cultivate respect and humility, although 30 schools in France bear his name and in 1988 he received the recognition of the most beautiful song of the 20th century for Take a child by the hand.

He also chose to enter politics to become mayor to defend projects that were close to his heart, even if this represented challenges for the man with an artistic soul, far from the Cartesian profile with which most politicians. He has also put his energy into helping the freedom of the Tibetan people and sponsors many causes such as the Little Princes that make the dreams of sick children come true. It’s kind of like all these paths to freedom.

Love of Quebec

Yves Duteil carries Quebec in his heart, like a beautiful love story, and he talks about it in his book. There are fans of him from Quebec, his audience from Quebec that he considers an extremely sensitive audience to the limit, and there are also the singers from Quebec who made him vibrate, the ones who, as he puts it so well, allowed him to grow. . These include Gilles Vigneault, whom he considers a master of the pen like Félix Leclerc, whom he met in his house on the Île d’Orléans. He keeps precious memories of the times when he sang with them, accompanied by Jean-Pierre Ferland and Claude Léveillée.

It was before going to print, rereading his manuscript, that he realized that virtually every page of his book brought out a song in him. “The songs complete the book,” says the singer. So, he decided to release four CDs in the name of his book.

Yves Duteil has no intention of stopping, he is still passionate about what he does. He likes to create emotions with his songs about him, a job he has developed over the course of his life to bring out beauty.

“As long as there is life, there will be subjects for the songs,” he concludes.

Yves Duteil

Photo courtesy of Éric Venazobres

  • The singer will tour Quebec in Montreal on March 23, 2023 at the Outremont Theater and in Quebec City on March 19, 2023 at the Salle Albert-Rousseau.
  • For all dates:
  • To accompany his book, he published, Paths of Freedom – Songs from the booka box set of 4 CDs, 75 tracks.
  • You can follow him on his blog:

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