The sweetness of a French voice
Conducted by Guillaume Jean Lefebvre
Credit: Pierre & Florent
Famous in France but also in China, her first album "Sur Mes Gardes*" was awarded gold in just 5 months and platinum in 1 year.
The artist released her 5th album entitled "Les P'tites Jolies Choses" full of sweet and tenderness. She also honestly conveys more direct messages on topics such as superficiality and the pretense that surrounds us.
The song "A la vie comme à la mort" takes us on a journey through the fears of the relationships of two different cultures in two different countries, a magnificent moment shared in duet with the American singer Jason Mraz.
Hello Joyce Jonathan.
First of all, we are delighted to have you this month in our "Portrait Of The Month" section.
1- You need no instruction in France where you are known to all French people, but can you introduce yourself quickly to Americans who might not know you?
I am a singer and songwriter. I write songs about what fills my life. My loves, my meetings, each album corresponds to a slice of life, about 3 years, during which I learn to know the world, to know myself, and each song speaks to my vision of things.
2- So you are a talented singer, songwriter and performer. It seems that it was these talents that won over Internet users at the start of your career and propelled you to stardom. Can you explain to us how it happened?
Exactly, I started my major company, a crowdfunding label that allows you to be produced thanks to Internet users. That's how my first record came out.
3- At a time when many record companies are propelling artists to then try to seduce an audience. For you, it's the public (internet users) in 2008 that were seduced by you and not the other way around. Internet users were your first producer and it's incredible. How did you manage to seduce this audience? Can you tell us more about this important part of your career?
It's a miracle to have been able to start my relationship with the public in this way.
Internet users listened to some demo versions of my songs, and it was on this basis that they decided to invest money to produce my first album via my major company. It meant a lot to me to have this relationship, because for more than 10 years now, my audience has been an actor in all my projects. I like to make some people who follow me play in my clips, ask them for advice regularly on social networks, and meet them before or after concerts or for signings.
It immediately made my relationship with them more human, even if it all started virtually!
4- Is it proud to say that the public has chosen you in all honesty without any influence from the media and commercial bombardment? Do you think that without social networks it would have taken longer to succeed? Do you think that you would have had a career the same way without that?
I was very lucky to be one of the first on Mymajorcompany, because it put a big spotlight on my music. There are lots of different ways to make yourself known today, via the internet, Youtube videos, programs like The Voice and it is also the public (accompanied by the jury) that elects a singer.
To have the public's attention in that way, and as a songwriter it allowed me to sing my own songs from the beginning, which is not the case when you do a TV show to make yourself known to the public.
Over a million albums sold, gold and platinum records.Joyce Jonathan has released her 5th album entitled "Les P'tites Jolies Choses" full of sweetness and tenderness.
Sharing a duet title with singer Jason Mraz.
Credit: Pierre & Florent
Portrait Of The Month ( April 2022)
5- At a time when social networks have now invaded our daily lives, influencers of all kinds have appeared. Do you think that to date your videos that you posted at the time on the "Myspace" network will have had the same repercussions today?
It's hard to say, anyway we live with the times, and with the tools and means of communication we have at that time.
Myspace is the equivalent of Instagram + Youtube, So, I would probably had to convey my music in another way.
I love using social networks, especially Instagram, to stay in touch with the public that follows me. The hardest thing is to stay reasonable and not spend too much time there, because you miss out on real life!
I admit that I am overwhelmed by certain applications like TikTok or Snapchat that I use very rarely, I have not yet familiarized myself with!
6-We had to do a flashback on your past in order to know you well. However, you are undoubtedly today a great French artist well recognized even outside the French borders. You've won gold and platinum and sold over 1 million Albums.
Signed to universal music and you are a very popular singer in several Asian countries. Are you an artist looking for new challenges?
Of course, I still have many challenges. Personal challenges, feeling fulfilled as a woman, being better. Managing to be happy all the time, it happens to me honestly.
The hardest thing in this job is to maintain yourself, to last. I absolutely love writing songs and singing them. I want to do more albums, I want to do shows, and I would love to come and do a show in New York or Los Angeles one day. I dreamed of living in Los Angeles before meeting my lover.
I would also love to be able to act in a Sex in the city feel good movie or series.
7- You seduced Asia (Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan to name a few..) What event in Asia made the biggest impression on you and why? Why did you decide to go to Asia? What difference did you feel with your French and Asian audiences?
I have been going to China since I was little because my parents worked there for their trades. When I released my album in France with Mymajorcompany, our distributor was Warner Company. They distribute all over the world. And without knowing that I had a personal history with China and Asia, Warner offered me to release the album in Taiwan and China. It's a complicated market, because few albums are allowed to be released there because of censorship. When I found out that the album would be released there, I wanted to re-record some songs in Chinese (Mandarin) because I spoke this language a little because of my family history.
The album was released in a special Franco-Chinese edition and the public was hooked. I then did several concert tours there, was invited to many shows. I've been going to China and Taiwan for 13 years to make music. Obviously there was a break due to the Covid.
8- What are your musical inspirations? What message did you like to convey in your songs and why?
In my inspirations, there are a lot of French songs or very melodic songs with very human voices, which make me vibrate.
It goes from Jean-Jacques Goldman, a French songwriter who talks about very human feelings that we all experience, a little every day.
In Whitney Houston, her voice pierces my heart. I like Tracy Chapman for the warmth of her voice and her melodies, I like Stevie Wonder for the soulful melodies, I like Tony Braxton.
They all have a very strong vocal identity.
In my songs I want to translate emotions that I encounter. They're my life experiences, because I feel that when you tell a bit of your story, it can help other people.
9- Can you tell us about your meeting with singer Jason Mraz? How did your duo go? What will you remember from this artistic collaboration? Do you envision other duets with American singers?
Jason Mraz contacted me via his team in March 2020 during the first confinement, he offered me to write the adaptation of his song "Could I Love You Anymore" in French.
I've been a fan of Jason Mraz, especially his first songs for years,
So I immediately accepted and sent him for rehabilitation, which he really liked.
In French the song is called « À la vie comme à la mort » (In life as in death*), which has a slightly different meaning, but which corresponds more to what I was going through at that time. I was confined to the countryside with my companion, and I was 1 month and a half pregnant. These are the words that came to me spontaneously.
10- With which other artists have you sung in duet and what was for you the most striking duet? Why?
I sang with Vianney, a French singer who is very successful in France.
It was very intense because we had just met, and this song is about us, about our generation, about these ephemeral relationships that we need to overcome.
11- Which American artist would you like to record a duet with?
Taylor Swift, I would love to!!!!
12- Do you speak English? Would it be possible one day to hear you sing in English or on the contrary do you think that it would not be accepted by your French audience? Would you like to pursue an American career?
I speak a little bit of English! And I would love to sing in English! (said in original English)
The problem is that I have a lot less vocabulary in English than in French, so to translate specific emotions it's more complicated to write in English.
If I have the opportunity to sing in the United States, I will try to translate some of my songs into English, to be able to better understand the meaning of my songs, even if I remain convinced that music is a universal language, and that whatever language we sing we can feel emotions. This is the case when I go to sing in China, I sing a few songs in Mandarin, as a nod to the public, but most of my show is in French, and that's what appeals to the Chinese public.
13- You released your 5th album, can you tell us more about this? What's the album name? What is it about? Are there any differences with your previous albums?
It's called Les P'tites Jolies Choses*" (Little Pretty Things)
It talks about the real things that we experience in our daily lives and what make us happy.
Like a good meal with friends, a pajama party, a smell that we love to perfume ourselves with, a steaming coffee in the morning. I am very attached to these little pretty things that bring freshness and strength to our day.
The whole album talks about the importance of these real things, of our true face without filter, without artifice of our body as it is, of the person we represent and not the character, with our faults and our qualities. And the importance of showing yourself as you are without hiding, without cheating, because that's how you are the most beautiful, the most unique.
14- In which concert hall will you promote your 5th album? Do you plan an international tour for your French fans abroad?
I have a French tour starting in May, with 3 dates in Paris in an old cabaret in Pigalle called La Nouvelle Ève. It is a magnificent room where I have planned to do 3 shows on May 30, 31 and June 1 with a different theme each evening: the first evening with three Jazz guests, the second evening with three female singers, and the third evening with three guests Chansons françaises. Otherwise there will be dates all over France. For me, the stage is the resolution of all these songs. This is when everything comes to life.
Besides, I plan to return to China in 2023 for a series of concerts. I would dream of singing in the United States, but it's not on the program yet!
15- You seem to be a sweet woman, undoubtedly nice and you release a lot of emotions with your songs. What is your Angel rating? What is your Demon rating?
Thank you ! I find that being an artist is a very bipolar job. We have a lot of love from the public during a concert, then not at all when we return to our hotel room.
We exist very strongly when we do TV shows, then we literally disappear when we take a break between two albums. I find this duality very hard to manage, because when I don't share my music, I feel like nobody.
I like making songs anyway, so I make them all the time, but I find it very hard to keep an even mood in this business.
When I believe in myself less, my demons come back, I take things badly, I am bitter. While my main nature is to be very optimistic, very attentive, and I have a real appetite for life.
Fortunately, I have an extraordinary team that gives me love and motivates me!
16- Do you have a hard shell that is difficult to crack? If so, why? Any love disappointment?
Yes, I take time to open up to someone because I'm afraid of being vulnerable. When you live things at 100% you can be very disappointed, because there is always a moment when everything does not go as you imagined. And that's okay, it's our story.
I could be disappointed in love, become dependent on someone, feel inferior, and totally depressed because of a boy, but I came out of it wiser, I know much better what is made for me or not.
17- What are you most afraid of in your life and why?
Today, it is very much linked to my daughter. I want her to always be the happiest in the world, with very good health.
I want my relationship to be well because we have built a family, it's not just a love story, it's our home.
Otherwise, I realize that when I'm sick and I lose my voice, I feel like I'm missing something essential.
18- Your family can be very proud of you and your journey that commands admiration. If you hadn't become a singer, what job would you have done? Did your loved ones always support you?
I would have been a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I also studied psychology after receiving my Bachelors Degree, I have my license. I always knew that I wanted to sing and write songs, it's a desire that has always been in me, I never even asked myself the question, it was obvious. So I never questioned that.
My family has always supported me and I have always been taken seriously. No one ever told me: "you'll never make it" or "it's not a real job".
19- You play the piano, at what age did you start? What does the piano represent for you? Do you play any other musical instrument?
I started playing the piano at 5 years old, and my parents signed me up for lessons. The piano is a very instinctive instrument that allows me to lay down melodies and words easily.
I do not consider myself a pianist, but I can totally accompany myself for a concert.
I also play the guitar, I taught myself at the age of 15, and since then I have composed a lot of songs with it too.
20- Political questions, what do you think of the latest events currently happening between Ukraine and Russia? What do you expect from the French presidential elections? Do you follow the American news? What is your wish in the world?
It is a very shocking situation, I had never witnessed a war like this. I find it terribly sad that there are human losses caused by humans, as we emerge from 3 years of global pandemic with hundreds of thousands of uncontrollable deaths.
Political discussions must in no case result in attacks, and make people dependent on this situation. I pray that they find common ground and that all of this ends.
21- Which humanitarian or non-humanitarian cause touches you the most? Which are you most sensitive to? Do you support associations? if so which ones?
I support several associations in France that touch me for different reasons. There is Sidaction, because I was made aware of it very young, in college we were told about this virus, about the fact that we had to protect ourselves. I have known several people who have died of AIDS.
So I have always been very sensitive to this virus, which gives rise to a lot of hope in healing treatments.
I am also very sensitive to associations that support research or the supervision of infantile patients or pediatric cancers like Princess Margot. I find that to see a sick child, there is nothing more terrible. Children should never be sick, they have their whole lives ahead of them, they must be restored to health at all costs, it is their freedom.
I also support Les restos du coeur through a major TV event in France called Les Enfoirés and raises funds to house and feed people in need.
22- What is the most unbearable to you in the artistic world? What do you think of superficiality and young people looking only for glory?
The most unbearable is the fake people. Who do not say clearly what they want or do not want, who are adorable when it suits them and ignorant when they have nothing to gain.
I like to surround myself with real people who have good energy. So I go my own way when I feel people are fake.
I think today the examples of career paths are very hard to pin down for the younger generation. Influencer has become a very attractive profession, which brings in a lot of money but which is essentially based on appearance.
It can be very inspiring on certain things, but I find that when you grow up with these examples, you create absurd obsessions like having the most followers possible, being the most popular, and ultimately it does not nourish personal fulfillment.
Social networks are dangerous for that, it is the infernal sphere of people who compare themselves and who live only for their likes and their virtual recognition while forgetting to really live.
23- Without any judgment, do you think you have a superficial side? What is your secret to staying as authentic as possible?
I also like to take an interest in lighter things, such as appearance, make-up, shopping, and it is necessary in the job that I do, which is public.
Well-being has a big place in my daily life.
On the other hand, I have long believed that you had to be thin to be happy and successful. Because this is the society in which I grew up, and what a mistake!
24- What is your daily routine? Your beauty secret? What is your daily advice to have beautiful skin, beautiful hair or beautiful nails?
I am very flirtatious, so I like to get ready and have good perfume on my skin.
I hate having pimples, so I take care to cleanse my skin thoroughly, morning and evening. I do masks at least twice a week (a La Rosée mask in a stick or the Guerlain regenerating mask). It has become such a habit that it takes me very little time. I do this at the same time as my shampoo. I always use a volume shampoo (Kevin Murphy or John Masters Organics),
I apply my Guerlain serum and cream daily. And my somewhat girly challenge for the past year was to learn how to do beautiful makeup! I know how to do my make-up well, but I struggled a little more to do my hair well. Now I have all the equipment I need (the Dyson box with different tips), and with each shampoo I get a perfect blow-dry!
25- Makeup, yes or no?
Yes, but as they say, Less is more! I like that the eyes are slightly darkened and the complexion is luminous. Terracota Guerlain or Armani foundation. Or just a Vichy bb cream! And a Guerlain rosewood foundation.
26- Are portable photo editing applications useful? Or a new scourge of society? Or both?
I never use it. On the other hand, I have a great application called Pic Play Post, which allows you to quickly edit videos and photos to summarize a day or a moment.
27- We end this long interview with our favorite question. If you had one piece of advice to give to the young girl that you were, what would it be?
Look at the world, and stop looking at yourself, stop beating yourself up! We don't care about your appearance, you will shine if you are happy!
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