Artist of the week

Monday, January 20, 2014

#CLOSEUP: CLEO T




Cleo T, a young french songwriter with a great passion for Italy and lover of the Arts and Beauty. We met before her live @2PeriodicoCaf√® in Rome. 
With she we enter in a world built with the sound of imagies, harmonies and dark romanticism. 
Are you ready to see the best cabaret?


Let's start talking about your connection with Italy, which is peculiar. You are French, from Paris, but your tour began a short time ago from Turin and you've already been in Italy several times. Where does all this tie with Italy come from?

It 'a mixture of several things. First of all, my family comes from Corsica, my grandfather moved to Genoa, but was born in Corsica, and for me it felt always kind of magical to hear him speak in this strange Italian, because in fact it is a very strange dialect. I have this sort of southern roots, that I have some 'forgotten when i was young. But at some point of my life i realized that Italy was calling me. Every time i came here for the holidays I felt at home, and so i started getting interested in Italian culture, literature, painting and Italy is a country that you can not miss when you talk about the history of art and cinema, of which i am also a big fan.

There's a song in your album, “Triste Stella”, which is sung in Italian indeed.

I've written this shortly before recording it... I think you can hear it when i sing it! For me it was a bit 'like a game, even a dream, to achieve my Italian dream. The song is the story of a dancer who expects her boyfriend who perhaps may never come..

Your album was released on December 6, but it was ready exactly a year before, in 2012, what's happened in the meantime?

In music it is hard to break when you do not make that “electro-pop” music. I realized that i could not find a nice way to work as I wanted in France even though I had this label of the nicest people (Macaco Record). So I created my own label, and although it is a lot of work, in this way I was able to find partners in each country: in Germany, England, Spain. For me it was nice to work with people who know their territory, even if it was up to me coordinate everything to publis this record a little 'everywhere, to manage the tour and coordinate the production. It was very hard but it is a somewhat “modern music making”, because now you have to find alternatives to the usual production. It took a long time and now we want to do a second album, maybe next summer! It was important for me to release this album in a nice way, totally independent. I must admit, however, the help of great people like John Parish.

So how did this collaboration with John Parish began?

Well i wanted John Parish from a long time: I fell in love with "To Bring You My Love" and the album he recorded for 16 Horsepower, "Low Estate". I'm not good with technical stuff, you can say that I hate them, I don't care much about them. But with him it was the first time I heard the sound of an emotion, because he is very good at recreating intimate atmospheres, while maintaining a great power of sound.

Can we say that there has been a great empathy between you two?

Yes, for me he was already in the project: the album could not exist without him.
We met in Paris and I started to send him all the demos of the first things I did by myself. It all had a terrible sound, but i sent him anyway. He then became interested in the project and so i asked him to redo some of the songs i had sent him but he didn't have the time, he was overwhelmed because he was recording "Let England Shake" by PJ Harvey, and so on. Then one night I met him completely by chance in Milan, it was around midnight. It was definitely a sign of destiny! He must have thought I was stalking him! (laughs) And a couple days after that day we said ok, let's find a way to do it.

And so "Songs of Gold and Shadow" was born. There is a little 'of Italy, a bit' of France... what can you say about this album?

This album was very important for me because I decided to try to do something by myself, of my own. It is not easy because you have to open and try everything and can be very hard. But for me it was like a trip. I had no idea about the type or genre of music that would have come out because I listen to so many things, I did not want to do things specifically rock or folk, and as a result there is no genre to describe this album. I think I've only wanted to listen to myself and see what came out, without a precise idea. For me it was the most important thing, to be close to me. It is not easy to find yourself!

Behind the imagery that your figure came to recreate there's this sort of Paris cabaret, the Moulin Rouge... Would you say that this is true? The cover of the album is a re-enactment of Klimt, the writing style of the title that is very reminiscent Mucha... Is this a “retro” disc?

I do not know if I can call it retro, but it is a way to give tribute to the artists of the past that have done, said, designed and promoted the Beauty. I tried to incorporate their message and pass it. I don't want just to be retro, i'm trying to find the voices of today and tomorrow. There are artists from the past that inspire me a lot. Today in France arts are very separate: music, painting, literature... for me it's the opposite. This year I have not heard many cd for example but I've seen many shows! These are things that inspire me, and allow me to translate a certain kind of art to another.

This concept also emerges from the video you released, "We All". It 's very artistic, very heavy, well-researched… Are you inspired by something or someone in particular?

There are so many people in this album... there Fellini, Nina Simone, Franz Schubert, there is Elvis Presley, even if you can't hear him but he is a God (laughs), Klimt like you said, there is symbolism, there is the music I hear in Gustave Moreau, one of my favorite painters... It is a very personal journey and, although maybe i should, i'm not trying to make a “beautiful song”.

Why did you choose to cover "Someday My Prince Will Come"?

(laughs) It is not about "Snow White," I do not remember the movie, but it was the song itself, which I find beautiful in all its versions, from Miles Davis to many others. I feel very inspired by the world of fairy tales, the album is one of those, like "Alice In Wonderland". In the forest, seeking the light in the darkness... For me it's a perfect fairy tale. And with these two aspects of light and dark, to whom refer the terms “Golden” and “Shadow”, i offer this incredible hope, because without hope of finding the great beauty, love, the Prince, you can not continue to live but ... at the same time, in this song for me you can feel the total despair. Will never come, of course, the Prince, because it is not real! The reality for me is in the middle between the ideal and the absolute terrible sadness. The beauty has a delicate balance, so I decided to sing it.

So are you a big romantic?

(laughs) Yes it's true, and love is very beautiful and very tough at the same time.



For more information:  http://cleotmusic.com/






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