Garou. Pierre Garand

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Обновлена биография Гару на майспейсе
First Steps Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec on June 26, 1972, Garou came into the world eight years after the birth of his sister Maryse. Raised on music from the cradle, he trained his ear and developed an uncommon sense of rhythm growing up in a home where family gatherings were always a musical occasion. At the age of three, Garou's parents, aware of his potential, presented their son with a guitar. His father, who played the instrument as a hobby, taught his son a few chords, and Garou immediately demonstrated an innate talent. Two years later, Garou discovered both the piano and the organ. While music has been his life-long love, it was not, ironically, Garou's first career choice. As a child he dreamed of becoming an archaeologist and was fascinated by excavation and the discovery process associated with it. In fact, as an adult, Garou acknowledges that archaeology and music share an important trait: both are linked by a child-like joy in sharing discoveries. "As an artist, you're in constant contact with the child inside you and the child-like fascination with life that makes people want to live. It's the reason I love to sing." The Early Journey In his early teens, Garou was a model student at the Séminaire de Sherbrooke, the private school for boys he attended. However, by the age of 14, his grades plunged and he adopted an attitude of defiance of authority and conformity. His parents and teachers were at a loss to understand. In music class, Garou was assigned the trumpet, but the teenager refused to be told what he should learn. Frustrated by the antics of this otherwise stellar student, Garou's music teacher expelled him from class. When his cronies from music class formed a Beatles cover band dubbed The Windows and Doors, they called on Garou to play guitar. In retrospect, a bemused Garou acknowledges the band got more than they bargained for. For the first performance of his life, on stage in the school auditorium, Garou played guitar – and sang – delivering his best imitation of his idol, Paul McCartney. It was a pivotal experience. "Every time we played, the auditorium was filled to capacity – 300 kids would come to hear us! We did everything ourselves – printing tickets, making posters – everything! That's when I caught the entertainment bug." Shortly after graduation, inspired by his love of horns, Garou enlisted, trumpet in tow, in the Canadian Armed Forces' regimental band. An incurable romantic, Garou saw himself more as a ballad-crooning troubadour than an eager cadet with impeccable boots answering a corporal's orders. Suffice to say, Garou's superiors had trouble reining in the perpetual rebel… Summer 1991. Stationed at the Quebec City Citadelle, Garou often 'borrowed' an army vehicle for frequent forays to Montreal's concrete jungle. A year later, Garou, convinced the time had come to bring his army career to a close, called a good friend in Sherbrooke to come and "spring him loose." The armed forces, it seemed, were no longer in need of his services. "Before when all hell was breaking loose, I made it my job to lift the troop's spirits. But that summer, everyone was happy and there were no more souls to save, so to speak," he laughs, "... so I left. Itinerary of a Romantic 1993. Military service behind him, Garou picked up a number of odd jobs: moving furniture, harvesting grapes, and a short-lived stint as a sales representative in a clothing store. During this time, Garou frequented Sherbrooke's bars till the wee hours and soon developed a penchant for nocturnal busking. At three in the morning, after last call, fellow night owls emerging from the city's watering holes would often hear Garou's guitar strains and deep voice echoing in the night. Impressed with his rousing renditions of Quebec pop-folk classics, they would gather around him on the sidewalk stage - dancing, clapping hands and keeping time with their feet. These impromptu sessions were inevitably broken up by the arrival of the police, who, smiling, would reluctantly disperse the crowd. Garou's voice could also be heard in Montreal's metro stations where he would select tunes to draw in passersby: Sex Pistols for the young rebel, Aznavour for a couple of starry-eyed lovers, an improvised nursery rhyme composed for a child in his mother's arms. As always, this artist demonstrated a natural flair for using music to make others happy. In March that year, Garou got his first break. He was invited by a good friend to hear Quebec singer Louis Alary perform. In between songs, Garou was offered the microphone. One gutsy performance of a single song, and he was hired on the spot for a regular gig at the bar. "I immediately went out and bought a sound system for my first show at the bar. I also had to learn new songs to add to my roster. I had only three days to prepare! That was my initiation to life working the grueling bar circuit." Garou's reputation as a local entertainer spread quickly throughout the Eastern Townships. After spending a number of hectic months lugging his equipment from bar to bar, he was presented with the opportunity to perform at Sherbrooke's Liquor Store, a showcase for the region's up-and-coming artists. The owner, Francis Delage, was hounded by a close friend and fan of Garou to let the illustrious unknown grace the Liquor Store stage. Delage conceded and created 'Les dimanches à Garou,' transforming the club's typically slow Sunday nights into a local phenomenon. The evening's format was simple: Garou played host at a weekly jam session with talented musicians and vocalists from the area. The event was an instant success and continuous crowd pleaser for four straight years. "The energy of the audience, the rush of putting on a show – I learned all about that at the Liquor Store." In the summer of 1995, he formed The Untouchables, an R&B ensemble, complete with a horn section, including trumpet, saxophone and trombone. With The Untouchables, Garou aspired to win over every person who heard him sing – and the group immediately impressed the audience at each performance. Garou received a number of attractive recording proposals, but hesitated to sign. "Real music comes from the heart, from living life's experiences – it can't be forced," he explained. "Back then, Sony approached me with a record contract, but I wanted to wait because I didn't feel ready." "We (The Untouchables) never followed a set list. The musicians in the band had to get used to the fact that they never knew what we were going to perform next! I love improvisation!" These same musicians, the original members of The Untouchables, would go on to accompany Garou on tour in Europe and Quebec following the release of his album, 'Seul.' Summer 1997. Luc Plamondon attended a performance of The Untouchables and discovered the star who would incarnate the complex personality of Quasimodo in the musical drama, 'Notre-Dame de Paris.' "Luc is a real visionary. I still don't understand how he saw in me the sadness of Quasimodo, when I was singing about joy and happiness. It's beyond me. Garou, the Actor "I went for the audition but I had no idea it was for the role of the hunchback. Richard (Cocciante) played the opening bars of "Belle," and I began to sing. He stopped playing and looked at Luc (Plamondon). Then they asked me to sing "Dieu que le monde est injuste." I felt that song like no other I'd ever sung. The next morning, they called to say: "You are Quasimodo!" Garou was stunned at the incredible opportunity that had fallen in his lap. He immersed himself in a study of Victor Hugo's novel, but finished the book with cold feet. Garou wasn't fazed by the thought of nightly performances in front of hundreds of spectators. He knew the energy from the audience would carry him. And he did not doubt his ability to emote the creature's pain, to convey the tortured intensity of Quasimodo. It was the idea of acting that he could not compute. His insecurity was at the time so strong, it pushed him momentarily to the point of abandoning the project altogether. Little did Garou know, the instinct lay in him all along. "One day, I got into an argument with our director Gilles Maheu. He left me to figure things out on my own most of the time while I felt I needed him to give me more direction. He just looked at me, smiled and said, 'Keep on doing what you're doing. That's exactly what I need you to do'." Months later, in Paris, Montreal, Lyon, Brussels and in London, Garou portrayed the hunchback brilliantly. "Each night I would become the hunchback, the unloved, the outcast. Then I would leave the theatre and feel all the love the public had for me. The paradox was quite de-stabilizing." Garou won Quebec's top music prize, the 'Félix Révélation de l'année 1999' for his performance as the hunchback and his rendition of the song "Belle" garnered him the 'Victoire' award in France, as well as accolades at the World Music Awards. "Belle" was also voted the best song of the past 50 years by the French public. Destiny Lights a Path 'Notre-Dame de Paris' was a sensational hit in France and the offers began to pour in for numerous record projects and film proposals, but Garou was determined to wait for a recording deal that fit perfectly with his vision. Even without a record contract, one thing was clear: Garou had become an overnight sensation in France. "The people of France have given me so much love. I'll be indebted to them for a long time…" 1998. Garou appeared on the album 'Ensemble contre le sida' singing a duet, "L'amour existe encore" (composed by Plamondon and Cocciante for Céline Dion), with Hélène Segara. He also appeared on two 'Enfoirés' albums, as well as one titled, '2000 et un enfants' for which the Jacques Brel classic "Un enfant" was served up à la swing, thanks to Garou's band The Untouchables. "I never asked for all this to happen to me. I never set my sights on popularity," says Garou. Yet, as fate would have it, in 1999, another important personality entered his life and set in motion his latest great adventure. The person: René Angelil, the husband and manager of the world's pre-eminent singer, Céline Dion. "My first meeting with René Angelil lasted all of 20 seconds. He came up to me and shook my hand and there was this magical current. My parents are my best friends and closest confidants. I remember rushing to tell them about it. Later, when René and I met again, he told me that it wasn't my voice or my performance on stage that impressed him most – it was our handshake." Garou had no idea how much that handshake would change the course of his life. Montreal, December 1999. Céline Dion invited Garou, along with Bryan Adams and a number of artists from 'Notre-Dame de Paris,' to join her as special guests at her New Year's Eve mega-concert to ring in the new millennium. The show was also slated to be Céline's last performance before taking a well-deserved two-year hiatus. After rehearsal one night, Céline and René asked Garou to dinner. "Céline was telling me how fortunate she was to work with the best team in the world and that so many artists were hoping to work with this coveted group during her absence. I was just about to swallow a bite when she looked at me and said, 'We think you should work with them…' I was flabbergasted. To have the number one singer in the world ask you to work with her team is unthinkable. To be offered so generously, so politely… was just too much! In my wildest dreams I never thought this would happen to me." Seul: Authenticity in the Making "Producing my album was another fairy tale. It's like an enormous Christmas tree showered with presents!" Melodic offerings crafted by Bryan Adams, Richard Cocciante, Didier Barbelivien, Aldo Nova and Luc Plamondon, to name a few. Though he was working with the dream team of the music industry, Garou was not shy about sharing his personal vision. He wanted to bring together various composers, producers, songwriters and other creative experts to make a very special album, an eclectic combination of styles tied together by a distinctive vision. "I wanted a multi-coloured album, but I was worried when I heard they were talking to people with styles as diverse as David Foster, Bryan Adams and Didier Barbelivien. In the end, that mixture became one sound because the people working on the album are like me. We're all like-minded, so it's completely me..." In addition to his talents on the guitar, harmonica, trumpet, piano and organ, those close to Garou know him as a capable songwriter and composer. While he could have penned his own music for the album, Garou was more intrigued by the idea of exploring the inspirations of his fellow artists. "Right now, I'm enjoying this journey through their imagination. I could write songs about my past, but I like the idea of other artists conjuring up new images for me. Singing their songs is a bit like singing in the future. Because when you're discovering someone else's world, you're moving forward." 'Seul' (Luc Plamondon/Romano Musumarra) comprised 14 beautiful songs, chosen by Garou and Vito Luprano from a score of musical gems. A team of seasoned producers under the direction of Humberto Gatica worked their magic to lend a unique sound to each track. Luc Plamondon, Garou's 'spiritual father', was responsible for writing the words for most of the songs. "Luc has been a key influence in my life. He is the reason I'm known today as a singer and an artist." The pair's synergy is almost palpable. "Sometimes Luc will hand me a text that expresses an idea I've had but haven't yet mentioned to him. They're totally my thoughts! It's like reading myself on a page." One of the most powerful songs on the album is "La moitié du ciel" (Elisabeth Anais/Richard Cocciante) which decries the status of women in the world. Garou infuses the lyrics with the tragic memory of Isabelle, a friend who was savagely raped and killed by three men in 1996. "I think women are the essence of purity. This song is about the desire to protect the world's most precious asset – women." Another track, "Criminel" (Luc Plamondon/Franck Langolff) is a fictional exploration of the themes of forbidden passion and unwholesome desire. "The song's not based on any lived experience of mine. 'Criminel' poses a question and each person holds the answer for themselves – a bit like Socrates did when he asked pointed questions to his students, but never offered the answers. He asked them to drawn on their own life experiences to find a solution to the problem. You have to be conscious of what is evil in order to understand what is good. "Criminel" asks questions that we all have to answer for ourselves." For Garou, the main focus of his music is spreading happiness. "I don't really do protest songs or songs that advocate any specific cause. My cause is spreading love, joy, happiness and integrity. These are the values I want to propagate." "I have utmost confidence in this album because I know, first and foremost, we all wanted to do a good job and make something real. I'm proud of absolutely every aspect of it." The craft of this album is ample evidence of that vision. 'Seul' was born, shaped, produced, and recorded with passion. Direct from the soul, and rewarded by a heartfelt listen." The Live Experience Garou is as authentic and passionate as they come. Nowhere is he more at home than in front of an audience, on stage, pouring out his soul in song. After the launch of 'Seul,' Garou was a man obsessed with one desire: to find himself back on stage, in communion with his fans, rendering from his soul his very own songs. Garou spent 2001 and 2002 touring Europe and Quebec, pleasing ever-growing crowds. From this labour of love came 'Seul... avec vous' and 'Live a Bercy,' testaments of the energy and spirit Garou offers in concert. 'Seul... avec vous,' recorded during the 2001 European tour and released in November of that year, included staples of Garou's live act, from covers of classics like "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and Aznavour's "La Bohème" to hits from 'Seul' and 'Notre Dame de Paris.' Also found on the album was a previously unreleased bonus track, a studio recording of the well-known and Starmania song 'Le monde est Stone.' 'Live a Bercy,' a DVD and video released in the summer of 2002, allowed fans to join Garou for his outstanding concert at Paris' Bercy stadium. In addition to a stirring performance, the 'Live a Bercy' DVD featured exclusive backstage footage, a photo gallery and a collection of five videos. Reviens : A Prelude to a New Adventure "So far, my career has progressed in three-year stages. First came a three-year “quasimodesque” incubation period, followed by three years of getting the hang of my solo career! (laughs) With my new album coming out this fall, who knows, maybe it’s the beginning of another three-year adventure?" While it’s true that three long years have passed since the release of ‘Seul’, an album purchased by 2.5 million fans, Garou spent all that time on the road, with his fans. When came the time to record a new album last summer, it’s with the generosity of his French-speaking public in mind that Garou decided it would be written and sung in French. True to his genuine and loyal nature, Garou called on many of the ‘Seul’ key players for this new project, including Luc Plamondon and Romano Musumarra, the team behind "Seul" and "Gitan". The duo strikes again with two potential hits, "Quand passe la passion" and "Au cœur de la terre". Along with Aldo Nova, Luc Plamondon also wrote the lyrics to the stunning “Pour l’amour d’une femme,” set to music by composers Ago Jeremy and Michael De Paul. Also back is Didier Barbelivien ("L’adieu"), who this time brings us “Hemingway,” a song with a powerful message. Jacques Veneruso, the man behind the unforgettable “Sous le vent" (Garou/Céline Dion), contributes three songs, including the title track and lead single "Reviens (où te caches-tu)". The renowned singer-songwriter lives up to his reputation - the single quickly shot to the top of the charts in many French-speaking countries. Barbelivien also gifts us with the intense “Prière indienne” and the lively "Passe ta route," which kicks off the album with its fiery rhythmic flair. Not only did Érick Benzi produce 11 of the album’s 16 tracks, but he also penned "Pendant que mes cheveux poussent" and "Le sucre et le sel". Garou was the inspiration for the subject and lyrics of that song… Garou has also surrounded himself with new contributors, including the one and only Jean-Jacques Goldman, with whom Garou has developed a solid friendship since he started participating in the Restos du Coeur shows in 1999. Both had been looking forward to working together ever since. Their collaboration brings us “Tout cet amour là” and “Les filles.” Renowned singer-songwriter Gérald De Palmas has crafted a very special song for Garou, “Et si on dormait”. Garou had wanted De Palmas to write him a song ever since their first encounter a few years back. The two had become good friends, and De Palmas even joined Garou on stage at Bercy in March 2002 to sing “Sur la route” with him. Gildas Arzel, an acclaimed French guitarist, composed two songs steeped in American rock and blues – “Ton premier regard” et “Une dernière fois encore,” the closing track on which the master can also be heard playing guitar. As for Quebec songwriters, in addition to Plamondon you’ll find lyricist Sophie Nault and guitarist Claude Pineault, who composed the beautiful “L’aveu”. Garou receives dozens of songs every week and listens to them all, whether the songwriters are well known or newcomers, friends or strangers. “L’aveu” was one of those songs, and it immediately charmed Garou, who insisted it be included on the album before he’d even met the songwriters! The song “Ne me parlez plus d’elle” was penned by Éric Lapointe, a famous Quebec rock star and an old friend of Garou’s, along with acclaimed lyricist Roger Tabra and Stéphane Dufour, one of the province’s most illustrious guitarists. Garou was involved in all the stages of this album’s creation, from the song selection to the mixing, from the artistic direction to the mastering. The outcome is an album with a wide-range of styles, more dynamic and rhythmic. An album in his image, eclectic and honest. Garou has the time of his life “Everything in my life is done at a frantic pace”. Even though he occasionally appeared in the media during 2005, his workload was nonetheless very busy. First, he goes into the studio to record the duet Tu es comme ça with Marilou, who had already performed for him as an opening act at the end of his Reviens tour. The single will reach the Top 10 upon its release. Having spent 10 months on the road performing on the Reviens tour, Garou spent most of the next year in Quebec. Away from his friends for so long, they want to spend time with him and he eagerly does so. Notably, he participated in the Festival Juste pour rire in July, sharing the stage with Franck Dubosc for a Rat Pack skit paying homage to Frank Sinatra, one of his idols. Garou, deeply affected by the suffering of the victims of the Katrina hurricane, accepts Francis Cabrel’s invitation and performs in the Louisiana Concert in December, a charity event organized to help the victims. As generous as always, the singer spends some of his Christmas Holidays with his family but also his fans while travelling across the province performing in the famous Tournée des Fêtes with rocker friend Éric Lapointe. Finally, a select few had the chance to see him perform in such small and cosy venues as Bourbon Street and the Medley in Montreal. Garou took pleasure in returning to his roots while performing in bars where he, once upon a time and for a number of years, started his career. Garou thus took his time! First, to take a break, but also to find the much needed inspiration for his new album… Garou takes his time “A self-titled album which reflects exactly what I am.” Fall 2005, Garou starts working on a new album. He then receives over 150 songs from numerous collaborators of which he must pick and choose. Contrary to Reviens, which was produced with a sense of urgency that brought its share of excitement and pleasure, the singer now decides to slow the pace down. He takes time to think about new concepts, time to build bonds with faithful friends as well as time to learn about new collaborators. “I always hope to find songwriters, composers that are unknown to me and that will impress me. I choose a song, not collaborators. It might sound strange, because on most of my albums, I’ve worked with big names but only because they are who I know, which makes it more natural.” “Luc is my trade teacher, my spiritual father.” The great respect that Garou gives to Luc Plamondon assures the songwriter a privileged seat by his side as one of the select few with whom Garou feels it natural to work with. The mentor, whose presence dates back to the Notre-Dame de Paris era, gives him the title of dean amongst Garouesque collaborators, penned the legendary Trahison, on notes composed by another long time collaborator: Aldo Nova, a song which evokes the painful universal feeling provoked by the loss of trust. Jacques Vénéruso, who gave us the catchy Passe ta route, is back in a big way with another toe-tapper entitled Le temps nous aime, the very first song that was chosen for the album, even before Reviens reached the stores’ shelves! In order “to expel the sadness I have of not being able to be with my daughter”, in addition of being one of the rare insights in his personal life, was the inspiration to Vénéruso, a close friend who knows Garou well, to compose Quand je manque de toi, a ballad which brings us to the singer’s secret garden. Jacques Vénéruso also composed the music for Viens me chercher, with lyrics signed by Jean-Jacques Goldman. Fun fact, this marks the first ever collaboration between these two men who have been friends forever. “When I auditioned for the role of Quasimodo in Notre-Dame de Paris, the first song I learned was Dieu que le monde est injuste. The theme of injustice has since been an idea that particularly interested me.” Pascal Obispo offers him this chance with L’injustice, a song exposing a number of different occasions either due to bad luck or Murphy’s Law. Both singers knew each other for many years, especially because of the Enfoirés, but they never had the pleasure to collaborate with one another. Anyway, Pascal Obispo is also credited for the song Même par amour, the result of collaboration with Patrice Guirao, as well as Plus fort que moi, from Frederic Doll and David Gategno, two members of Pascal’s team. These two rock songs seem to have been written to be performed on stage. ”There’s no use in changing a winning team, but we can always add to it.” Garou’s album also introduces Tino Izzo, a Quebec composer with whom he wanted to work with for a long time, and he composed the music of Je suis le même with lyrics from Diane Cadieux. Of course, let us not forget to mention the appearance of Sandrine Roy and Sylvain Michel, an efficient French/Quebec duo who wrote Que le temps, a heavy ballad with powerful lyrics. Without being dubbed as a concept album, Garou’s new opus was born with the background idea of a thought on time. When he takes a moment to stop and look at the hectic life that the XXI century brings, time then offers Garou the chance to go back in time, to think about what he is, what he was and what he has accomplished. This self-examination, done by an authentic and honest man, gives way to the album whose title was inspired simply by what it contains: Garou. Garou before his time When I release an album, it is, in fact, an invitation to come and see my show.” The decision of producing a new album, coming from Garou’s ennui of not touring and not performing, signifies that the concept of the new show is already in its advanced stages. This tour, which will begin in the province of Quebec in July 2006 with outside shows in a number of festivals all around the province, will cross the Atlantic Ocean in November to continue in Europe. “I’m excited and so very excited because I can’t wait to do it, and because we have a really good thing going here.” Garou wants his show to be intimate but at the same time grand. One thing is for sure, the main theme will be time, which will inspire pure moments of joy, of emotion and surprises… in real time! Get out your stopwatch, the countdown has begun! Piece Of My Soul Garou’s first English album Piece Of My Soul, incorporates the many sides of his musical personality and is somewhat an account of a day in his life: from the eye opening, energetic “Stand Up” to the late night, chilled out “Coming Home.” He found songs all over the world. From Sweden where most of the album was produced by Peer Astrom (Céline Dion, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez), he got “Burning”, a hypnotic ballad penned by Anders Melander, that first appeared some fifteen years ago as a local hit. “Coming Home” was written by Astrom and Canadian Aldo Nova (Céline Dion) after they saw Garou in concert at the Olympia in Paris. Kristian Lundin (Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears) and his team were responsible for the powerful “Back For More.” Aldo Nova who has often collaborated on Garou’s previous French albums, also co-wrote the track that gives the album its title “Take A Piece Of My Soul.” From the UK, Don Mescall (Ronan Keating, Richie Havens, LeAnn Rimes) participated in the writing of three songs on the album: “Beautiful Regret”; “Heaven’s Table” (that Garou has been performing live in the last five years was the very first song he submitted to the project) and “What’s The Time i..In NYC”, which was co-written by Ronan Hardiman (Russell Watson, Ronan Keating, Michael Flatley.) “Nothing Else Matters” was written by Dimitri Ehrlich and Andy Marvel, and is a based on a real-life experience that happened to supermodel and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covergirl Petra Nemcova and her boyfriend during the infamous tsunami disaster in Thailand a few years back. The song “The First Day Of My life” was co-written by Enrique Iglesias and Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams). From Holland, the song “Accidental” emerged as well as “You And I”, which was co-written by UK pop songstress Judie Tzuke. Matchbox twenty leader Rob Thomas provided the rock tinged song “Stand Up” that opens the album. It was the very last song recorded for the album and is the first single. “All The Way” features lyrics by Garou himself. Based on his two passions: women and poker, the song is a clever essay in double-entendre. Piece Of My Soul also features other Internationally renowned writers and producers including: Anders Barrén, Paul Blenn, Andreas Carlsson , Carl Falk ,Wayne Hector, Kevin Hughes, Graham Kearns, Mattias Lindblom, Charlie Russel, Lucie Silvas, Martin Sutton, Alex Vargas, Anders Wolbeck. Garou’s very first album in English exemplifies his unique voice, his undeniable charisma and is a wonderful musical journey. Enjoy. Garou around the world Going on tour is always a huge source of pleasure for Garou and touring with the shows accompanying the release of his album, Piece of my soul, proved no exception. Accompanied by four musicians, Garou had a ball presenting his English-language repertoire to his fans in a show that had more rock to it than his previous ones. The singer even indulged his inclination to play to smaller venues in new territories, notably in Eastern Europe, where he was able to return to the spirit of what he was doing before Notre-Dame-de-Paris came along. Garou makes a film During 2008, viewers in Quebec had the pleasure of seeing Garou in cameo roles in two television programmes, namely Taxi-22 and Annie et ses hommes, a situation comedy and a drama respectively, both well received by the public. Encouraged by these experiences, during the following summer he acted in L’amour aller-retour, a film for television broadcast on TF1 early in 2009. Garou had been receiving scripts for some time but, for want of time, he had never accepted, apart from brief appearances as himself. So, for the first time since Quasimodo, the singer now took on a role, this time as François, a Québécois who has lived in Paris but has returned to the vast open spaces of his country of birth. He acted alongside Ingrid Mareski, directed by Éric Civanyan, a team he really liked. Garou admits he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and intends to repeat it when a good scenario comes up again at the right time. Garou turns into a “Gentleman Cambrioleur” Far from leaving his singing career on hold in favour of television, it was precisely when his film for television was broadcast, early in 2009, that the idea of making an album of cover versions of various songs he particularly likes took root in the singer’s mind. He started looking for ideas and wrote a list of 101 internationally-known songs that he would like to perform. This was when the theme tune from the television series that his parents’ used to watch, about a “gentleman cambrioleur” - or gentleman thief - Arsène Lupin, came back to him from his childhood. Buried in his subconscious for thirty years, the voice of Dutronc returned to haunt him and inspire him with the concept for the new album: Garou as a gentleman thief, borrowing from various performers works that have become part of the world’s musical heritage. Treading softly on such hallowed ground, the charming thief very soon realized that it was he who was taken by surprise: “Apart from four or five of them, the songs on the album are not at all the ones that were planned initially. At this stage in my career, I felt that I had to move out of my comfort zone in order to evolve.” This is what Philippe Paradis, the producer of the album, has helped him to do with brio, particularly with his remarkable version of U2’s New Year’s Day, transformed into a song that is vibrant with emotion and tenderness, at a much slower tempo than the original. Captivated by the find, Garou asked for a microphone to be hooked up to make a recording even before he had finished listening to it once. Beautiful Day, another title by the Irish group selected by Garou, was now out. With Champs Élysées, exactly the opposite happened! Garou had to work unremittingly to convince his team that a blues version with a New Orleans flavour could work for this famous Joe Dassin song. To everyone’s great pleasure, the singer’s tenacity gave rise to a rendering that has an altogether unusual arrangement. Despite taking a mischievous delight in the entire process, Garou soon realized that it is often more difficult to reinvent a song than it is to create an entirely new one: “I spent hours with Philippe, taking my head in my hands and thinking about the best way to put across such and such a song and yet, usually, when faced with a new song, I know exactly what we are going to do with it and how it should sound.” The choice of songs is always central to producing an album of cover versions and, albeit in the garb of a Gentleman Thief, Garou did not intend to snatch just anything. “For me it was important not to go for things that were too dated and not to choose from among songs I sang in bars in the past.” The pickings proved rich and so the album carries hits such as Sorry by Madonna or Je veux tout by Ariane Moffat, which has just been released in France. Garou also treated himself twice on the album, to I love Paris, a crooner’s song by Cole Porter, as well as to a Leonard Cohen cover that Garou recorded solo, live with his guitar. This last track follows The Sounds of Silence, which ends the album as everybody knows…
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