Eurovision-Fr.net purposes to you today an exclusive interview, made yesterday morning on February 16th in France Télévisions headquarters, of the French representative at the 2017 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the young artist Alma.
From her emotional meeting with one of her favourite singers, Céline Dion, through her work with Nazim and benevolent pieces of advice from Amir, our website will permit you to know Alma better, but also her musical universe surrounding « Requiem » and her upcoming first studio album.
This is the first ever Alma’s interview given to a Eurovision media, French or international, since the officialisation of her participation at the Contest last Thursday, on February 9th.
Version française de l'entrevue
Biography of Alma
Born in Lyon on September 27th, 1988, Alexandra Maquet, or better known as her artist name Alma, is the eldest of a family of three sisters . As a child, she started playing the piano and writing her first songs. Her parents move to the United States, in Los Angeles, when she was 15.
She moves back in France at 17 and started studying at the IÉSEG in Lille, city in the North of France when she spent 10 years of her life.
As part of her business studies, she performed various internships in Brazil (Sao Paolo), in Italy (Milano) and in Belgium (Brussels).
On January 2012, after being graduated at the IÉSEG, she creates her YouTube
channel where she sings original songs and covers, both in English language.
With this media, Edoardo Grassi
, current Head of Delegation for France at the Eurovision Song Contest, discovers her and invite her to integrate at the end of 2013 the team of France 3 sunday afternnon TV show, « Les Chansons d’Abord » (Songs First), hosted by the French representative at the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest, Natasha St Pier, produced by Carson Prod, and which was used to select as a televised national final the French representatives at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest Twin Twin
During this show, she meets Nazim, young songwriter, who becomes his artistic alterego and who will write and compose almost songs of Alma’s upcoming album, will be released in stores and online on May 5th, 2017.
Around her project, she was surrounded by successful songwriters such as Nazim (Amir, Kendji, Yannick Noah, Claudio Capéo)
, David Gategno (Céline Dion, Louane)
, Pierre Jaconelli (Benjamin Biolay, Johnny Hallyday)
, Renaud Rebillaud (Maitre Gims, Black M)
, les Skydancers/We are I.V (Frero Delavega, Vianney)
, Franck Authié (Irma, Greg June)
or Jeremy Poligné (Julie Zenatti…)
Alma is the support act of Amir European Tour
. The French representative at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest shared in his own social networks Alma’s first success, a melancholic ballad with a piano basis « La Chute Est Lente
» (The Falling Is Slow).
« Requiem » is written and composed by Nazim
, who is behind « J'ai Cherché » from Amir, the contribution which permitted France to gain a 6th place at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.
In « Requiem », Alma is looking for endless love as an ultimate protection against death.
As « J'ai Cherché », to be broadcast in the radio stations, « Requiem » was remixed by We Are I.V
(ex-Skydancers), who brought to these 2 tracks modernity and thrilling pop rythms.
Exclusive Interview with Alma:
Eurovision-Fr.net : Hello Alma, we are pleased to have an interview with you and proud that you will represent our country. First of all, what does the Eurovision Song Contest represent for you ?
Since I’ve learnt I will represent France at the Contest, I feel myself that it is an amazing chance and an unbelievable human adventure, that the Eurovision Song Contest represent a great family. I’m impatient to discover the Contest and all the buzz in Kiev : 200 millions of TV viewers and an extraordinary show.
EFR : TV viewers in France and all around the world (thanks to TV5 Monde) first know you as a member of the France 3 Sunday afternoon TV show, « Les Chansons d’Abord », between 2013 and 2014. What does this show bring you and what was your greatest meeting, between all the French artists received as guests ?
The deepest meeting during this TV show was with Céline Dion, who is one of my idols. It was my first ever TV appearance (broadcast on France 3 on December, 1st 2013)
, she was very kind and benevolent.
« Les Chansons d’abord » brought me this experience and this opportunity to cover songs from artists I admire but also to meet Nazim on this TV set and who will write almost songs of my upcoming album.
EFR : What was your reaction toward positive international and also French reports about your song « Requiem », when it was revealed as the 2017 Eurovision song for France ?
International fans of the Contest send me lots of supporting messages right after the official announcement which encourage and touch me deeply. It was beautiful to see people supporting loudly an artist and a song.
EFR : How is « Requiem » born ?
« Requiem » was already written and composed few years ago. Nazim wrote it alone in his living room, surrounded by candels (there is a photo
in his social networks). He had an inspiration during a night.
The next morning, he called me and told me he had a beautiful song for me. I instantly fall in love with the text and the melody.
EFR : How did you work with Nazim
and We Are I.V
on this title ?
We spent days in the studio. All went naturally, during the recording of the album in 2016 : Nazim created small melodies, We Are IV (who produce 5 songs of my upcoming record) added battery sounds.
It was a melting-pot of influences and inspirations where everyone of us brought our touch and our personnality.
EFR : How did your team create the universe of the « Requiem » video clip with these tango dancers making their performance in Paris next to you ?
The video clip was inspired by the chorus of the song, with owns modern tango sonorities. We wanted to create a very French video, knowing that before shooting this video clip « Requiem » would be the French Eurovision song. We had to emphasise the elegance of France, in which Montmartre is the perfect illustration, according to me.
A dance crew was unnecessary for this clip. We needed a couple, because the song speaks about love. It was a crazy bet to put this tango couple in all these unrealistic situations as Chineses shadows on flats or on the Eiffel Tower. We wanted to enhance the poetic side of the song and of Paris.
EFR : Which pieces of advice did Amir
give to you about how to behave at the Contest and on stage ?
Amir told me : « Alma, you will get one chance in your life to make this event. When you go on stage, you must be concentrated at 2 millions percents on your work, about all you will have to do for the song, and the stage performance to prepare… You must leave out social networks. And, after all, you have to be aware about the chance you will have to share your music to the whole world. ».
While giving me these pieces of advise, his eyes shone while remembering his Stockholm experience.
EFR : How would you describe your album, which will be released on May 5th, 2017 ?
It’s a little bit like my diary : there will be my moments of joy and of heartbreaking. There will be personal songs, with questions a girl from my generation asks herself, in this crazy world where we are living.
EFR : At least, from all the cities where you lived, today, which ones made you the greatest impression ?
All the cities where I’ve lived made me an impression, but more Lille where I’ve spent 10 years. The North of France is a very beautiful area, with very kind people and solidarity.
Otherwise, Sao Paolo was an amazing experience, the fact to meet people from another culture, very open-minded and benevolent.
A Eurovision version of « Requiem », directed by We Are IV, is actually in preparation and will be revealed at last during the Head Of Delegations Meeting in Kiev in mid-March 2017.
Alma’s first album, released by Warner Music France, will be made of 12 titles, and available on stores and downloads on May 5th, 2017.
Very warm thanks to Alma for her kindness, and to Ludovic Hurel, from France 2 press service, for his precious help for this interview.
Eurovision-Fr.net will be present in Kiev to cover the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest from April 29th to May 14th, 2017.
Reports about the rehearsals, the shows and secondary activities (Red Carpet, Opening Party, parties and showcases at the EuroClub and Euro Fan Café) will be published on our website, our Forum
and our socials networks (Facebook
) on May 2017, with photo galleries and video reports (interviews, backstage sessions, press conferences, interval acts,...) made LIVE from the Ukrainian capital city with Periscope
Our special attention will be brought during these next 15 days of rehearsals and media appearances in Kiev to France, will will be represented by Alma
with her song « Requiem », and to our Belgian friends, represented by the young artist from Brussels Blanche
Eurovision 2017 will be broadcast live and entirely by France Télévisions
, channels for the 2nd consecutive year.
France will vote and perform during the 2nd semi-final on Thursday, May 11th.
The commentators duets for France are, as in 2016:
(Tuesday, May 9th and Thursday, May 11th) by Marianne James and Jarry on France 4
- Grand Final
of Saturday, May 13th by Marianne James and Stéphane Bern on France 2