Hello everyone! Fall update, 2021 edition. This year has been crazy busy. Several tours simultaneously while producing records and doing sessions… lots of traveling and working in hotel rooms!
Between the shows and the busy recording schedule it feels like we’re back to normal after all the sanitary madness, but I realise that I’m very lucky and that my experience this year doesn’t reflect the state of things for most people, especially in the entertainment industry. Most places we play, and most crowds we play to are having their first live music experience in 19 months. Unbelievable that it took so long…
Anyway, I’m grateful for all that’s going on, and hopefully the entire industry will be back in full gear soon. Here’s an overview of some of the projects that I’m currently involved with and some that will be released in the coming months:
Back in 2019 I had a perfect plan for 2020: spend most of the year touring with Christophe Maé for “La Vie d’Artiste”, the album that we had just finished, and in the late fall of that year switch to the tour with Benjamin Biolay for the “Grand Prix” record we were in the middle of making. The overlap was small, a matter of three-four shows, and Christophe was fine with this scenario.
Needless to say, 2020 didn’t go as planned for anyone… with all the postponed gigs of both tours, the hypothetical planning went through several phases – sometimes the new dates for the tours clashed, sometimes it was a perfect fit between the two projects. After many rounds of cancelling or postponing gigs with date conflicts coming and going, I stopped worrying about it too much.
In the end we started touring both projects this summer, and the festivals magically fit together perfectly, so I was zig-zagging all over France for July and August. This fall is a little more complex, there are a lot of overlaps… fortunately the talented David Aubaile is a perfect sub for the gigs with Christophe. Benjamin’s set is too complex and unorthodox technically and musically for me to send a replacements, and we are only four musicians on stage so changing one of us makes a huge difference. I hate to miss out on the gigs with Christophe, it’s such a cool tour with a wildly talented group of people. Fortunately they are doing great without me! I’m doing all the gigs I can with them, including Bercy in Paris next week. Here are some videos from both tours:
We have made a brand new record with Benabar, that I had the privilege of producing, like the previous one that was released in January. The new record is to be released on November 19th. Two completely separate records in a single year, really proud of the result and the fact that we pulled of this crazy challenge! I’ll get into this more in a post later on, but check out the first single released today, “On lâche pas l’affaire”.
Benjamin Biolay has written and produced a great, new record for Nolwenn Leroy, who I’ve played with many times in the past, and he invited my to come along to play keyboards on it. The first single is getting a lot of airplay, the album is out on November 12th.
My friend Gaetan Roussel asked me to play and do some arrangements on three bonus tracks of the new edition of his record “Est-ce que tu sais ?”, set for release on October 29th. One of them is the new single, “Une seconde [ou la vie entière]”. I love working with Gaetan, I’m always learning something new and he is a brillant artist and person.
Aske Jacoby, the extraordinary Danish guitarist/producer, who I grew up listening to and was a major inspiration in my musical development, has become a dear friend, and also a successful record label owner in Denmark! His first signing, the super talented female singer/guitarist Ginne Marker, had significant success with her debut album in 2019. Her new record is out on October 15th and I got to play/arrange on several of the songs, including this beautiful ballad “Omen”. I’ll be joining her for her concert in Copenhagen on November 27th!
I have almost finished production on a new record for Oldelaf, the singer/songwriter who writes clever, often comedic songs and who had great success a while back with the song “La Tristitude”. However, he released his previous album “L’Aventure” just before COVID hit, and never got to tour with it. So before turning the page and releasing the new record, we made some bonus track for a new edition of “L’Aventure”, including this song, “Demi-dieux”. Oldelaf is really talented, and has deep musical knowledge, it’s fun and inspiring to work with him. More to come on this next year!
The label PIAS has a series of records called PARCE QUE -LA COLLECTION where they invite a singer with a rich back catalogue and a pianist to do minimalist versions of their songs. The legendary Dominique Blanc-Francard invited me to play on the record he was producing for this series with Nicoletta, the brilliant singer from the ’60s and ’70s whos songs were covered amongst others by Ray Charles. I never pass up on a chance to work with artists from this generation, it’s so much fun to hear their stories from back then and a way to connect with the past while they are still around.
My beautiful, talented friends in Belgium, guitarist Tom Vanstiphout and engineer Jo Francken, invited me to play on some tracks for Milow, who you might know for his cover of “Ayo Technology” (just passed the 100.000.000 stream mark on Spotify!). They have worked with him since the beginning. Really nice, gifted, focused guy, we had some fun, productive times in the studio for his upcoming record. First single is “Delorean”.