● You’ve really got original vibes! Well done! You’re the former president of France AVC, after the stroke you decided to go for a music path?

Thank you so much !
First of all, I am not the president of France AVC, just the organization’s godfather. I actively support their action, and I am also proof of a possible recovery. This is very important for the patients, their families, but also for the medical staff.
No, I haven’t decided anything … The musical path came to me little by little, thanks to meetings and moments of sharing; my entourage was touched to hear me sing when it took me almost a year to be able to speak again. Time and a lot of work did the rest!

 

● What’s the story behind the nickname of the Dark Cooner?

It was a friend musician who first gave me this nickname.
I wanted to make happy songs, and he convinced me that even if the rhythm or the melody was happy, what I was saying was deep and dark.
The inspiration came to me mainly from my accident, and not to speak only of myself, I was also writing about the problems of others, but again, only serious subjects.
In addition, as I was very uncomfortable with the spot lights, I solved this with sunglasses, to protect my eyes, and finally, I added a hat to the outfit. This helped to strengthen that nickname.

 

● I’m amazed by the diversity in your lyrical topics. Do daily life issues provoke you to write about more?

I write and compose a lot at night. When all is calm, the strong images you have in mind are what prevail. But a glass of whiskey is my best friend for finding words and notes …
Also, I am no longer 20 years old … The experience and the years make that the subjects that I want to tackle are very numerous, and I have enough images in my head to illustrate each of them.

● Your stay in Liverpool had a great inspiration for you, was it for a specific record or for your songwriting in general?

This essentially influenced my second album, “to be AND to be”. At the Motor Museum Studio, I worked with musicians and a team at the top of this “so British” style. It is especially the drums and the guitars that defined the line, because otherwise, the album brings together different styles, from rock to reggae, from hard to ballad, from blues to pop …
There have been so many big names that have been there before me, it’s like a big slap on the back telling you, come on, give your best.

 

● Your 2018 and 2019 albums in addition to your 2021 releases, each deliver a different music flavour. Is this planned during songwriting to make such diversity?

No, there is no plan. It comes as it comes! I don’t care about putting out something uniform, homogeneous, smooth … I like opposites and diversity, and I don’t do it on purpose, it’s not a strategy.
It’s even difficult for me to manage : record stores no longer know in which bins to put my CDs, and marketing for a concert is a real headache.
For me, music serves my lyrics, so I use the styles most likely to reinforce the message I want to convey.

 

● Many artists try to avoid their original language and use English only, still, you were keen to sing in French and English. Do you believe that language cannot be a barrier with music?

Maybe, but I don’t write according to marketing criteria, it’s what I feel that forces my choices.
Many singers do not choose English, and speak in their language.
For me, it’s the French. However, some things are difficult to say in his mother tongue, perhaps for reasons of puritanism, or education; English then becomes a way to let go more easily, without any moderation.

● I loved “My Girl” filming style so much, also, I felt it’s kinda mysterious, what the song is about?

It is the eternal topic of a betrayed love.
The song is about a man crazy with love, who was cheated on by his wife, and who ends up dying in solitude.
In the film, I wanted to communicate this weight of disappointment in love, and link it to people believing and praying the virgin Mary (it’s a connection to my song “God lives in hell”).
It’s pretty blasphemous, but my personal opinion is that religion deceives men as much as women can do (-:

 

● Also, the music video is really nice. Did you collaborate in filming and directing the video?

Yes quite. I write the script, choose the sets, I explain to the cameraman the shots and camera movements I want, lights, effects….
In truth, I am often criticized for being very directive, but I try to render what I have in mind.

 

● You’ve got amazing singles and a stunning EP this year, are they part of an upcoming album?

Thank you, yes, the album will be released at the beginning of the year. There are three more unreleased titles that will be part of it.

 

● Although the website is very neat, still, many sections aren’t in English, like the discography section. Is this intended or will it be added in different languages later?

It is a French fan and friend who created the site and who updates it for free. She spends a lot of time there, and I can’t ask for more … She would love to receive help translating it into many other languages, maybe thanks to you, she will receive support!
In the meantime, Google trad is your ally.

 

● I won’t deny that you’re doing a great job with your solo project, still, are you planning to add members someday?

First of all, I’m not alone.
Matt Butler, whose reputation is no longer to do, accompanies me in musical production and arrangements. We work together from the single “The Game Is Over”.
Rob Butler (they are not brothers, just homonyms, and long-standing friends) leads vocal production and helps me a lot for English versions, he has also co-produced and and co-author “Today’s The Day”.
Florent Charles, Sandro Serra di Migni and Marie Michot are by my side for the videos, Sabrina Banfi, my vocal coach makes me progress song after song, and despite the restrictions related to the covid pendecy, my musicians are always ready to play.
But there is always room with me for passionate and good living collaborators.

 

● Finally, thank you for the chat and tell us more about your upcoming live plans.

Thank you for your interest !
In the immediate future, I focus on the release of the third album. There are still videos to produce and a pre-launch work important.
There is also a song recorded live that will go out for Christmas (off album).
I have to cancel many concerts due to sanitary restrictions. It’s a lot of work for nothing, so I no longer envisage a programmed tour, but only a few punctual performances, as I did at the Antibes Festival.
There are two big projects for 2022/2023, but I have not yet the right to talk about it yet (more info soon…).

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Mena Ezzat

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