Interview with Benjamin Biolay


Benjamin Biolay released last Monday his first Best of and, because of that he was invited to a talk at the Fnac Ternes, in Paris.

During the last summer, I was lucky enough to see John Lasseter in one of this events promoted by Fnac and because of that experience I knew that I should arrive really early to guarantee my seat in the front roll.

So I left home 3 hours before the begining of the event and I arrived at Fnac aroud 4p.m. By the time I arrived, there was only one woman seating on the front roll and I soon joined her ready to wait the 2 and a half hours that separated me from seeing Benjamin Biolay in person for the first time. 

So it happens that waiting in a Book Shop is way better than waiting in the bank and I soon dove into the shelves of books and took advantage of the amazing heap of books they sell at Fnac got myself a copy of one of the adventures of Astérix, the famous gaulois hero.

Little by little, other people joined me, mostly women, and my neighbor, a woman of around 35 seemed super excited about seeing Biolay. When she set down, she instantly turned to me with bright eyes and asked: Tu penses qu’il va jouer? and I answered that no, I didn’t think he was going to play because the piano wasn’t in position and there was no one taking care of the sound system. I noticed with curiosity that she called me tu, and that was funny since I was a stranger to her and hadn’t given her any liberties to be so informal, but soon I understood that the bond that connects fans dismiss the use of formal treatment like vous. She had all Biolay’s records in her hands and I thought to myself that I was probably seating next to his biggest fan.
Around 6:20 p.m, Benjamin arrived and cross the stage in front of us waving and smiling.  The room, at this point crowded, gave him an ovation and the woman next to me was at the point of having a stroke. 

The interview didn’t take too long and I had the impression, even though I didn’t understand a lot of the stuff that was being said because of my poor French, that Biolay was a very nice person, good humored and incredibly polite towards the audience.

The man that was leading the interview opened it with a rather controversial question about the fact that the release of the Best of wasn’t really Biolay’s idea but EMI’s, and the the label was going to make the CD either he liked it of not. The singer answered that in a very political manner saying that yes, that was true, but knowing that he made sure to be involved in the project and he was happy with the result. 

After that he gave quite an interesting piece of information. As everybody knows, Biolay was involved in the record Chambre avec vue, by Henri Salvador and probably because of that connection, he was invited in the production of a record posthumous with new songs composed by Salvador. Apparently, Salvador recorded a bunch of songs that he really liked a capella, but for some reason, the songs never made it into any of his albums and now, 3 years after his death, the label decided to make something after this amazing material. The record will be released next year and I just can’t wait for it.

After the interview, there was a brief moment for the questions from the audience and I really wanted to ask the name of the Henri Salvador project, but there was so many people willing to ask Biolay something that I just didn’t find a chance. After that, it was time for the autographs and the line in front of the stage was huge and disorganized. When my turn came, I had the chance of telling him I was Brazilian and I had a blog dedicated to the chanson française, to which he reply politely asking me the address and even made small talk asking me where I was from in Brazil. When I said Belo Horizonte, he repeated the name of the city with a smile and the most charming French accent.


About Author

I’m Gabriela Mudado, a Brazilian girl who has been in love with French tunes since… well, ever! I started a blog about French music (in Portuguese) in 2008 and recently decided to create an English version of it.

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