Our penultimate preview takes us to the land of baguettes, haute couture and eternal strikes. It’s France!!!
France was one of the seven countries to take part in the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. This year marks their sixtieth entry in the contest. They have won the contest on five occasions: in 1958 with “Dors mon amour” by André Claveau, in 1960 with “Tom Pillibi” by Jacqueline Boyer, in 1962 with “Un premier amour” by Isabelle Aubret, in 1969 with “Un jour, un enfant” by Frida Boccara as part of a four-way tie and finally in 1975 with “L’oiseau et l’enfant” by Marie Myriam. Amina also tied with Sweden for first place in 1991 with “Le dernier qui a parlé” but lost on a countback tiebreak rule. Last year, Amir came sixth with “J’ai cherché”, France’s best result since 2002.
The French broadcaster, France Télévisions, organised an internal selection to select their entry for this year’s contest. Alma was selected to represent France in Kyiv.
Alexandra Maquet, more commonly known as Alma, was born on September 27th 1988 in Lyon. She started singing and playing piano at a young age. Apart from her native French, she also speaks English, Portuguese and Italian, due to her constant moving to different places. At the age of 16, she and her family moved to Miami. She moved back to France on her own at the age of 17 to study at the IESEG School of Management in Lille. During her studies, she spent a year in São Paulo, Brazil. After obtaining her Masters in Business Administration and Management, she worked as Assistant Manager in Abercrombie & Fitch in Milan, Italy. Afterwards, she moved to Brussels to start her music career and later to Paris to further it. An encounter with composer and singer Nazim Khaled on the programme Les chansons d’abord (Songs first) led to her eventually getting a record deal in 2015. She released two singles: “La chute est lente” (The fall is slow) and “Ivre” (Drunk). Both of these songs, along with her Eurovision entry, are included on her debut album “Ma peau aime” (My skin loves), which was released yesterday. She has widely been touted as one of the rising stars in the French music scene. Her entry for Kyiv, “Requiem” was written and composed by Nazim Khaled.
Amir got France its Eurovision mojo back last year and they are still riding on that high this year! This song is light and breezy yet it packs a punch. Alma’s vocals are enchanting throughout and give the song a distinct French feel but not too French so as to alienate listeners. My only problem with it is the English. The original all-French version was full of charm and sensuality. The English adds nothing to it. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it! Nevertheless, I think France has one of the strongest entries overall this year and I expect to see it high up the score board on next Saturday.
What Could Have Been
Prior to Alma’s selection, there were rumours of Florent Mothe being chosen to represent France. Florent is best known for his roles in the musicals Mozart, l’opéra rock and La Légende du roi Arthur. He was awarded the “Francophone Discovery of the Year” in 2010 for his role of Antonio Salieri in Mozart, l’opéra rock. While his musical career is flourishing, his studio career has not reached the same heights. His latest album Danser sous la pluie (Dancing under the rain) only peaked at number 73 in the French Album Charts. Eurovision could have been used to elevate his studio career, especially with offerings such as Quoi de neuf (What’s up?). Maybe another time then.
Bonne chance la France!
Do you in or out of this requiem? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for the final Eurovision preview for this year!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, France Télévisions, YouTube)