A gifted pilot of French pop, turbulent now quieter, Benjamin Biolay once again leaves his challengers in the rearview mirror with “Grand Prix”, an album that allows him to find the heights familiar with “La Superbe”.
At 48, the Lyonnais, a major figure in the French musical landscape, thus won the 5th Victory of his career.
“Grand Prix” is a concept disc irrigated by his passion for Formula 1. But this album, carried by the hit “Comment est ta penalty?”, Also allows him to open his “private diary” while remaining “in the penumbra “, as the artist confided in June 2020 at the time of the release.
Asked to spin the metaphor to find out who was always at the top of the podium in his eyes, he said: “The biggest Formula 1, for me, it’s still a Rolls, it’s ‘Melody Nelson'”. Signed Serge Gainsbourg, who also followed only his own rules of conduct.
“We win we lose / We lose the win”, sings Benjamin Biolay in “La Superbe” (2009). And these words fit him like a glove. Because before this return to the fore with this album 12 years ago, the course was sometimes dented.
This native of Villefranche-sur-Saône, rocked in a musical universe – one of his two sisters, Coralie Clément, is also a musician -, came out of the shadows in the 2000s after working for groups like L’Affaire Louis Trio .
He writes songs, alongside his artistic accomplice Keren Ann, which relaunched the career of veteran Henri Salvador with the album “Winter Garden”. Then, in the wake of his first solo disc “Rose Kennedy” (2001), a concept album already around the mythical family of American politicians, he established himself as one of the hopes of the new French scene. At the same time he becomes a media figure, due to his marriage to Chiara Mastroianni (until 2005), with whom he had a daughter, Anna.
Then, provocative statements to the cookie cutter crumple for a time his image and earn him some enmities in the community. “Benjamin Biolay is sometimes rough, he has a taste for biting interviews”, writes Bertrand Dicale, in his “Dictionary in love with French song”.
The man often finds himself at the center of “sudden eruptions on social networks, further aggravated by the chronicle of his loves, because he is far from being a naughty boy”, develops Bertrand Dicale.
But since “La Superbe”, the singer-songwriter has become essential in the French musical landscape, between his own projects, his collaborations (with Vanessa Paradis, for example) or tributes, such as this album about Charles Trenet. “We can never reproach him for having skimped or showing himself to be stingy”, continues Bertrand Dicale.
And whoever has found a second homeland with Argentina (where he had another daughter) now takes the time to mince his words. In recent months, he has reserved his claws to a government that does not support enough, according to him, the performing arts in the health crisis.
Breakthrough in cinema
At the same time as his career on records, the singer multiplies his forays into the cinema. And the roles are more and more consistent, whether with Agnès Jaoui (“At the end of the story”), Tonie Marshall (“Number One”) or Christophe Honoré (“Room 212”).
Musically, his ear always spots new talents as quickly. For the enriched edition of “Grand Prix”, he carefully chose his co-pilots, notably for two duets with Juliette Armanet and Adé (singer of Therapie Taxi). And in recent days, he delivered a cover of “Retiens la nuit” with Barbara Pravi, who will represent France at Eurovision next May.
Source: A la Une – Le Progrès | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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