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interview and giveaway: camille

Making a living out of music is hard enough, but cracking the English-speaking market when you’re from a non-English-speaking country is another ball game altogether.

Camille is one such artist who has managed to find a following here in Australia as well as in her native France. A born and bred Parisian, new mother, and apt musician, Camille has just released her fifth album, Ilo Veyou, and lip was lucky enough to have a chat to her!

Could you tell me a little bit about how you got started in music?
I’ve always liked singing, my dad is a self-taught musician and he would write songs for the family and I would sing along. I always liked to imitate other people’s voices, I’ve always been sensitive to sounds and when I was a teenager, I started liking Ella Fitzgerald and identifying with this world. And I thought well, let’s become a singer!

What were you going to study if not music?
I studied literature and politics.

You grew up in Paris, and it’s a city that is romanticised a lot. Do you actually find it a very inspiring place to be?
I find all places inspiring. Paris is not inspiring maybe for the reasons an outsider would think of, like the magic of the Eiffel Tower and the monuments and all that, that’s not what I find true about Paris. What I like about Paris is that it’s multicultural. There is a huge North African community, lots of Chinese now … it’s a great occasion to meet people with lots of different backgrounds, that’s what I really like about Paris and it’s also a great intellectual scene, people think and talk a lot. The cliché about cafes really is real, like people will just talk, talk, talk and that’s very inspiring. And also, there’s a lot of tension in the city, lots of traffic problems, a lot of stress, I think we are in between, the Latin kind of relaxed attitude towards time and a more Western capitalist way of rushing, so in between the two, people are very stressed and I think that stress is inspiring in a way, because you need to find a way to get out of it.

Did you find it very difficult to break into the English speaking countries with your music?
People I think are charmed by the French language and I think the problem is that markets are very protective, either the record companies or the media or whatever, they kind of protect their own music, and it’s very hard for other types of music to break through. I think it’s not a problem of audience, I think that the people themselves, they love music and they love to listen to new sounds, and if everybody got to listen to my music, I think people would relate to it much more … I don’t feel the people are reluctant, I think it’s more a problem of market.

Have you found that balancing music and now being a parent is difficult?
Not at all. It’s all a question of places and spaces, it’s just … things are taking a different place in my psyche and in my life organisation, but it makes each thing more powerful and more, let’s say, organised and intense, but to me, my life is just more colourful now. Music has taken a different place, it’s just more like a celebration of life than the centre of my life now.

A lot of female musicians seem to still experience a lot of sexism in the music industry, what has your own experience been? Do you think you’ve been treated differently to your male peers?
In my experience in France is that a creative woman is very often seen as hysterical or crazy. A woman that directs people is seen as bossy or authoritative, you know what I mean. A girl that goes out with lots of men … no no that’s something else! I’m getting carried away. But in the creative world, it’s a little bit the same, when you’re very creative, “oh you’re a little … yeah she’s crazy!”, and I think women are afraid of that too, it’s not only the men judging women, I think women are women’s worst enemies. Because women who refuse their creativity hate and are afraid when they see it in other women, you know … we all need each one of us, women, need to work on that and to accept our great creativity. Each woman is a creator, you can give birth but for that same reason, even if we don’t give birth, we need to create, we need to express that source of energy.

I think we can all be creative in our work, whatever work it is, and express your imagination and the respect for life, and I think we feel even more than men because we can give life, I think we need to impart society to take care of life than this buying and selling all the time.

Camille’s latest album, Ilo Veyou, is out now through Virgin/EMI and to celebrate, Lip has five copies to give away to some lucky readers! To be in the running to win, just send your mailing address to [email protected] with ‘Camille’ in the subject line. Good luck!

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