“I don’t have too many regrets, I was able to do what I wanted to do”

Alain Chamfort, author, composer and singer spends this week, with us, in Le monde d’Elodie to look back on the highlights of his career through five of his essential songs. Since his beginnings in the 1960s with Jacques Dutronc, Alain Chamfort has been part of the French musical landscape. He crosses the modes with consistency and is considered a pop icon with melancholic touches. More than five decades that his words, his voice, his writing, his compositions accompany us.

Recently, 17 of his greatest titles have been rearranged by Nobuyuki Nakajima, with 51 musicians from the Orchester national de Montpellier-Occitanie and brought together in an album: Symphonic dandy. In this fifth and last episode, the song Salamanders.

franceinfo: This is the last episode today, of this week spent together to relive the essential moments of your career with five of your songs. You are currently on tour with this latest album: Symphonic dandy. How do you feel about this word: dandy?

Alain Chamfort: I take it now. It’s fun. What you shouldn’t do is hide something else. These are shortcuts that avoid talking about more important, more interesting things, it’s a bit of journalistic laziness, it’s easy, like that: the elegant, the dandy, let’s go! But, I think the public is less fooled by that. He listens to songs differently and what’s important is what’s there, this something that speaks to him, that moves him or concerns him, that’s mainly why I do this job.

In 2010, an album caused a lot of ink to flow, but in a good way, it’s A Saint-Laurent life dedicated to couturier Yves Saint-Laurent, written by Pierre-Dominique Burgaud. It’s an album that also highlighted the importance of elegance in your work. The fact of being rigorous, the fact of being precise too.

Yes. In addition, it was a slightly different way of approaching a recording, the writing of songs since we were starting from a theme that was someone’s life. So each song was a stage in the life of Yves Saint-Laurent. I was the narrator. This boy was totally inventive, he influenced many things, especially in society, he accompanied, in a way, the liberation of women. With Pierre-Dominique Burgaud, we were, indeed, from discovery to discovery, we had the opportunity to meet Pierre Bergé, to access the archives and a lot of elements to understand a little his difficulty of being and in same time, his incredible work force. It was very nutritious for us.

You released the album in 2018 The mess of thingsbut I have the impression that your room has always been very tidy, that things have been done over time, that there is a real consistency.

It’s true, but it all happened in stages, through meetings, because when Jacques Duvall decides to stop writing, I find myself an orphan. I had the opportunity to meet Pierre-Dominique Burgaud at the time on these stories of Saint-Laurent and I discovered someone with incredible talent. He brought something extra by digging into the flesh a little, that is to say not to stay on one posture, which was somewhat the case with Jacques Duvall.

We were a bit in a position like that of withdrawal, of a bit of cynicism, whereas with Pierre-Dominique Burgaud, we really face things, we take them much more frontally and I find that really corresponds to the need that I felt, me, arrived at the age that I have today and to be in phase, in harmony with what I produced and what I was as a man. It’s nice to feel at the end that you find a coherence in it.

Let’s talk about this man side. Serge Gainsbourg idealized you as a man who had a lot of ease with women, that has always been his opinion. You have always been very discreet. What place does this femininity occupy in your life because you made an album called her and him and each song was dedicated to a performance by a different woman.

“I had companions, mothers and I was lucky enough to have five children. My life has been surrounded by women and it still is.”

Alain Chamfort

at franceinfo

Yes. Women have been important in my life, of course, starting with my mother, who was a central character. I have a sister. Myself, I have a feminine aspect which I claim, which I do not fight and which very often made people think that I was homosexual. I didn’t do anything to deny it because in the end, it didn’t bother me knowing that deep down, I’m not.

Finally, I’ll let you choose a song from your album: Symphonic dandy and explain to me why this song.

I really like : Salamanders. It’s a way of putting yourself a little aside from things, observing them while imagining that it’s also good from time to time to put yourself aside and watch with a somewhat calm air the turbulence that are around you.

Does that mean that you have what view of your journey, of this career?

“I still have things to tell and the energy to write songs and that’s what keeps me going.”

Alain Chamfort

at franceinfo

I’m quite happy. Finally, I don’t have too many regrets because I was able to do what I wanted to do. I’m a bit surprised too because I have a bit of a lazy nature. I am not a fighter, someone who is armed, I do not have the will to dominate the world and to be among the powerful. And to still have a place and to still be there, I’m quite satisfied in the end. I still have things to tell and the energy to write songs and that’s what keeps me going.

Leave a Comment