At the age of 22, singer Philippine has already collaborated with some of the great names of French and international music including Slimane and Gavin James. Certified platinum in 2018 for her single “C’est beau, c’est toi”, she would like to add a string to her bow by participating in Eurovision 2021. Now, as Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez approaches in February, she has her chance. In the interview that follows, she tells us that she wants everyone — no matter their gender — to recognise themselves in the song.
Some artists have the personal desire to participate in Eurovision, while others are led there by management or their agent. But for Philippine it was all about trusting her fan community, who, over the past few years, have encouraged her to try her luck at the song contest.
“For the past few years I’ve been told about Eurovision, and I’ve often been tagged on social networks as a potential candidate to represent France. I am very close to my community and when I saw that people outside of France who don’t speak the same language liked what I was doing, I immediately thought that I would trust them and live this adventure with them.”
Her acclaim outside of her native country comes down to the hard work she’s invested in her musical pursuits since childhood. At four years old, she was able to play the piano — a skill she picked up before knowing how to read. At the age of eight she started her first singing lessons. And then at the age of 12 she wrote her very first composition and hasn’t stopped since. After high school, she decided to study music academically by joining the Music Academy International in eastern France. Building on all that, in 2018 she managed to win a prestigious talent contest for young people organised by the French radio station NRJ and got to sing a duet with Gavin James. That track — “Always” — went on to be certified platinum and has been viewed more than 22 million times on YouTube.
“In 2018, I won the NRJ talent contest and released several singles including ‘C’est beau, c’est toi’, ‘N’importe quoi’ and a duet with Gavin James, which was certified platinum, and with whom I had the immense honour of being nominated for the NRJ Music Awards. Today for the first time I release a composition ‘Bah non’ and my album is in progress.”
The love that the young artist has for music can also be felt in her musical tastes. Particularly eclectic, her favourites range from Debussy to Little Mix.
“I listen to Debussy, Coldplay, Demi Lovato, Little Mix, Foster The People, Queen, Elton John…”
Philippine wants “Bah non” to boost your confidence — regardless of your gender
“Bah non” is a curious expression for non-French speakers, who have been busy trying to find meaning in the two-word title. “Bah” is a French onomatopoeia used when thinking about something. Philippines explains:
“‘Bah’ in English could be translated as ‘well’, which expresses a moment of reflection before taking a decision, which in this song is a decisive ‘no.'”
So, roughly, that’s “Well, no…”
But what is she saying no to? While the song seems to be about a woman who is angry after a disappointment with love, Philippine says that it doesn’t talk about her in particular. On the contrary, she would like each one of us to recognise ourselves in the song.
“I don’t want people to talk about me in this song. I want everyone listening to this song to feel invincible, strong, courageous and important. There is a recurrence of ‘no’, a lot of negations certainly, but which lead to a big YES. ‘Yes I am capable of saying no to a situation that bothers me or makes me vulnerable.'”
The author of “Bah No” asks us to move beyond the subject of love and to apply the song to other problems we encounter in daily life.
“When I wrote this song several months ago, I decided to talk about love and a break-up because unfortunately we all go through that at some point in our lives, but I don’t want you to have that in mind. Whether it is at work or elsewhere, we sometimes lose confidence in ourselves and with this song I would like it to be your outlet, a boost of self-confidence with simple and effective lyrics and always with humour.”
And although Philippine is a female protagonist, she explains that she does not exclusively serve the women’s cause and does not make gender distinctions:
“I want everyone to be able to identify themselves in this song: men or women. Other artists are very good advocates for the women’s cause, but that’s not what this song is about. It has nothing to do with gender.”
Eurovision France: C’est vous qui décidez
In a few weeks time, Philippine will participate in the final of Eurovision France, C’est vous qui décidez. The twelve competing artists are currently working on the final shape of their staging. Philippine agreed to tell us a little more about what the French public should expect regarding her performance. The young artist promises the viewer a magical moment full of joy. Asked to sum it up, she says:
“Dance, smile, a magical moment for everyone. Because we need it!”
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Aware that the pop-rock sound of “Bah Non” is somewhat reminiscent of the usual Eurovision song format, the French singer confesses that she loves to take risks. She imagines the audience dancing to her song.
“Yes, it is pop rock and maybe it is a risk, but I love challenges and taking risks. It’s better to have the audience dancing right now, isn’t it?”
If she is lucky enough to represent France at Eurovision, Philippine promises to devote all the necessary energy to the task.
“I will give myself 300% as I usually do, share all these moments with the public and make France proud in the hope of inspiring other countries. This song is a personal story and I sing it with a lot of sincerity. I hope we will sing it all together at Eurovision!”
You can follow Philippine on instagram: @philippine_off
Do you recognise yourself in Philippine’s song? Are you ready to dance? Let us know in the comments box below