Voilà! It’s the universally understandable expression that Barbara Pravi has been repeating ever since her victory at Eurovision France: C’est vous qui décidez. Now, as a newly-minted darling of Eurovision 2021, the 27-year-old has revealed the official music video. She tells us it’s “the first chapter of a short film in three parts”. The cinematic atmosphere of the clip directly echoes the self-sacrifice that was necessary to write this song.
The French public now knows who will represent their country at Eurovision 2021. But for Barbara herself the ground still feels a bit shaky. She recently admitted to the French channel BFMTV that she’s living in a haze. “It’s a steamroller, but it’s beautiful,” she says. “I’m super happy, but at the moment, it’s still a little hard to understand.”
Barbara Pravi releases “Voilà” music video
Her video clip, directed by NOESYS Prod, has a deeply cinematic feel. Breaking the usual codes of the music video, she wants to offer viewers an immersive experience, as if they were watching a movie. It exists on its own, but also as part of a broader trilogy: “Voilà” is the first chapter of a three-part mini movie, of which the next two chapters will be two unreleased tracks from her next album.
Looking back on her victory at Eurovision France, Barbara admits that the Eurovision Song Contest is already an important part of her life. Although she has never stepped foot on the Eurovision Song Contest stage, she has hidden behind competing artists from Junior Eurovision twice. Co-author of “Bim-Bam-Toi” and “J’imagine”, it is partly thanks to her that France owes its victory at JESC 2020. Modest on the subject, she stresses to us that these victories do not belong to her. The successful songwriter considers this new opportunity as a “blessing” to be able to represent France with her entry, which is in the tradition of French chanson.
“Voilà” was a painful song to write.
Difficult and painful. This is how Barbara describes the process of writing her song “Voilà”. Not only because its title addresses the issue of self-acceptance and resilience, but also because it was necessary to find the precise words to describe personal feelings. What the author feared with the lyrics was that it would give the impression of an egocentric song that the audience wouldn’t buy into. The autobiographical lyrics continue to animate the singer, who admits that she still has to find the necessary strength to interpret these words, which are heavy with meaning for her.
“I was afraid of being at the limit of non-humility. Because in my song, I say ‘Look at me, listen to me…’. So the accuracy was hard to find, it also has a lot to do with the interpretation and the heart that one puts into saying the words. It was sporting. Each time, you have to be able to sing it.”
In love with classical French song, she wanted to cast her entry in this genre. She admits that above all it’s a song that comes close to the repertoire that the young woman loves — that of Jacques-Brel, Charles Aznavour, Barbara or Edith Piaf, whose melody and lyrics blend together.
“I don’t predict what will happen before writing, but I’m happy with the end result. In this kind of song, the text and the melody have to be made together and blend perfectly.”
And what about those comparisons with Edith Piaf?
Since the announcement of her participation in Eurovision France, many have suggested there are physical similarities between Edith Piaf and Barbara Pravi. The French public has also compared the singer to another French singer from the 60’s with the same name as Barbara.
Far from being annoyed by the many negative comments that have flourished on social networks, accusing her of wanting to imitate Piaf, Barbara accepts these comparisons with great pleasure. For the singer-songwriter it is even an honor to be compared to the greatest names in French song. She understands the comparisons and doesn’t recoil from it.
“I would be very sad to be upset about that. I understand the comparison because, like her, I’m small, and we have a similar haircut! Also, like her, I’m frail with a voice that carries.”
Beyond the physical similarities with the incomparable Edith Piaf, the chorus of “Voilà” shares a rhythm close to “Padam, Padam”. But Barbara defends herself from any notion of copying. As she says: “I didn’t think about it at all.”
On the way to Rotterdam
Still shaken by her recent victory, Barbara says it is still too early to know what staging she will take to Rotterdam. The singer nevertheless specifies that she is working on it and that her performance will remain sober, close to that which the public saw during the national final of Eurovision France. We do know that Barbara will be dressed by the French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Despite her experience as a composer for Junior Eurovision, she admits that she still has difficulty understanding the codes of the competition.
“I’m going to work a lot from now on. I don’t know yet what we’re going to do in terms of scenography. Typically I am in favour of simplicity, but I don’t know the codes of the classic version of Eurovision.”
Now that most of the work has begun, the future representative feels that the most important thing to trying to win the competition is staying true to oneself.
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