Casanona — one of the 12 finalists in France’s Eurovision 2021 national final C’est vous qui décidez — describes himself as the opposite of what his name implies. Far from being a womanizer with just one thing on his mind, he’s a kind and thoughtful soul who hopes to spread positivity through his music. First discovered by the French public on The Voice France, the young man from Corsica will nevertheless have to use some casanova charm to win over the nation and book a spot at Eurovision. His personal goal is perhaps more meaningful: He simply wants to bring people together during this pandemic.
His accent sings when he speaks, and he proudly recalls his Corsican roots. Known to his family as Yoann Casanova — yes, that is his real surname — says representing France at Eurovision would allow him to uphold the values of sharing and promoting cultural heritage.
“I think it’s a chance and a real honor to be able to represent one’s country at a show like Eurovision! When we first heard about the possibility of being part of the 12 finalists, we immediately thought that we should send ‘Tutti’ because it’s a festive song that encourages celebration, that conveys a message of gathering and that defends real cultural values! And it is these values that I want to defend at the national selection, and if the destiny wants it in Rotterdam!”
The 29-year-old singer is not unknown in France. Indeed, his polyphonic sounds carried him to the final of The Voice France in 2018. Casanova’s particular vocal mastery comes from his eclectic influences, reflecting both his attraction to rock music and traditional Corsican songs.
“Music has come to me naturally since I was very young — I sang in the car with my father on songs he listened to (U2, POLICE, SCORPION). He also listened to a lot of French variety music such as Jacques Brel and Richard Cocciante. The more I grew up, the more music was part of my life — I locked myself in my room to learn several songs! As a teenager I focused a lot on Corsican music. I did all my schooling in a private Catholic school where there was a chapel, and at every interclass we took advantage of it with friends to go and sing the ‘Paghjella’ which is a traditional polyphonic song! At the age of 17 with friends we formed a group called CIRNESE, in a pop-rock style. We created three albums and did many concerts! After that I participated in The Voice and today I’m signed with Sony Music. My first solo album has been ready since last June and I can’t wait to offer it to you!”
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Attached to his region and local heritage, Casanova feels that he has a mission: that of promoting and perpetuating the values that have been instilled in him. The spirit of sharing and celebration, but also a criticism of social networks that would be an obstacle — a permanent social distancing — for our social relations.
“I am someone who is very attached to values and culture. For me these are things that should not be lost! I have the chance in my song to defend many things and to tell many things. First of all, it’s a call to celebrate, to get together, to say that together we are stronger to overcome any obstacle! In a second time I point out the social distancing from social networks, which for me can be harmful when we live real moments of life! And then I defend my values and my culture by singing in Corsican, and through that, I also want to be the defender of the culture of the other regions of France!”
Although he is now pursuing a solo career, the young singer has long been part of a group. He believes that unity is strength, but he has decided to go it alone in his quest for victory at Eurovision France.
“I didn’t consider participating in a group because I’ve been going solo for several years now. However, I would like to do a featuring with my former group afterwards. It could be very interesting to meet my friends again for a song! When I thought about what artistic direction I was going to take for my album, I didn’t ask myself 1,000 questions. I just want to be me, share stories, emotions, and Corsica fills my heart and soul. It was only natural to shape my album with these sounds!”
“Tutti” — a song to bring people together
“Tutti”, literally “together” in the Corsican language, is meant to be a universal song, a hymn calling for joy and celebration to break the individualism into which our world seems to be sinking at the moment.
“‘Tutti’ was not composed especially for Eurovision. It’s a song that appears on my album. When we learned that there was a selection for Eurovision, it logically imposed itself as the best choice considering the subjects that I approach and that I defend in this song. Basically, we really wanted to create a hymn to the joy of dancing and partying!”
If you missed it, the title “Tutti” contains lyrics in the regional language of Corsica. If most of the other candidates believe it is important to speak and represent a whole nation, Casanova thinks it is equally important to promote local traditions and cultures
“As I told you, these cultural traditions and values are the foundation of our lives. So yes, we have to move towards modernity, towards modernity, but we can also do so while drawing on what our elders have left us. So yes, I think that this culture should be put forward more!”
Casanova at Eurovision France
If Casanova is lucky enough to represent his country at Eurovision, he would not be the first French candidate from Corsica. Indeed, Patrick Fiori competed in 1993 with the title “Mama Corsica”. As for him, the young singer would be honored to succeed Patrick Fiori, an artist he particularly admires.
“I love Patrick Fiori, unfortunately he has not contacted me personally, but I know that he knows and loves my song through a friend we have in common!”
“I am currently fine-tuning my stage performance and the staging! I want the staging to be in perfect harmony with the song and that we understand what I’m saying! I have also prepared a special version of the song where the intro will be totally different and more traditional, we can talk about a real revamp. If I’m the French representative, I’ll give my best to make all the people who believed in me proud to make me get there and we’ll go there with the heart as usual!”
To conclude, Casanova thanks his community and hopes that the French public will give him the opportunity to fly to Rotterdam in a few months.
“Thanks to Wiwibloggs for your interest and for receiving me! I hope this interview will have taught you a little bit more about me, thanks for reading me and I hope to see you soon (why not in Rotterdam hahaha)! Kisses!”
Do you think that regional cultures should be represented more frequently on the Eurovision stage? Let us know on the comments box below!