“The tall, thin, elegant figure of singer Paul Van Haver, known as Stromae, enters a studio in the south of Paris. With it comes a large smile and bright, candid eyes.”
~Frank Woodbridge, introducing Stromae for Flaunt
While Stromae continues to recover from a reaction to anti-malarial medication, Flaunt magazine has published an interview with him, apparently conducted just prior to his departure for the African tour. The magazine has also devoted the cover of their current issue to his image.
He speaks of overcoming the intimidating “international aura of this huge country” during the two legs of touring that he’s done so far in the USA, and how that’s getting easier. “You have to get rid of all the clichés you have in mind.” Seeing American audiences won over by his performances has been powerful for him: “After the show, it’s always different. People understand the project better when they’ve seen me on stage. I’m quite expressive. They’ve heard my groove, my vibe, that’s universal language. When you hear someone singing you don’t need to know what he’s talking about to know he’s sad or intense or excited or disillusioned. It is very interesting and challenging. It gives even more fuel to the project. And it’s already given me ideas for the third album.”
In fact, he’s already been composing quite a bit, he says: “Surprisingly enough though, I found myself composing already. I thought that I would really need some time off before going back to it. Maybe it’s just another cliché but I’ve always thought you need to have a hard time writing new material. But in fact, this time it seems flowing. Who knows? Could be easy.”
But before that third album materializes, though, when asked what he’d really want to do next, “the answer comes with smile, stars in the eyes and a sigh: ‘I want to drive my car to who-knows-where and just stop there because I feel like it, for no other reason. I feel it’s time for me to have a moment on my own, and with my relatives. I need to be sort of hidden for a while, with no one watching.’ “
And despite the distinction the singer likes to draw between his private identity as Paul Van Haver and what he calls his “project”–Stromae–the author of this article has a strong sense that the two are really one. He writes that Stromae embodies the oxymoron “charismatic simplicity” and continues, “The more we speak, the more I feel that the strong cohesion of Stromae’s musical and visual works cannot be parted from the man himself. Despite the clothes I’ve seen him change into while getting ready for the video shoot that took place right before the interview, it was always completely him that is seen. He’s all charisma and cool, full of tasteful ideas—a man of vision.”
The article includes a photo gallery of six fashion shots of Stromae, and three of those photos demonstrate that vision in the form of Mosaert pieces creatively incorporated with Dior Homme, Raf Simons, and more. Here’s one of those shots, with the Papaoutai-patterned polo and socks from the first Mosaert fashion capsule:
In an extraordinarily original video directed by Dorothée Murail that was created for Flaunt‘s website, Stromae’s face appears covered in gold glitter in a sea of ever-shifting light and shadow, to the soundtrack of his song “Merci”:
Read the full original article and see the photo gallery on Flaunt.com.
Earlier, Flaunt published another short video of Stromae. Filmed at SXSW last March, it includes clips of Stromae strolling through an Austin alley and talking about presenting his music to an English-speaking audience.
According to their Facebook page, Flaunt is “a wholly independent magazine published 10 times a year and distributed in 32 countries.” It has won several awards for its writing and design.
Cover photo: screenshot from Dorothée Murail’s film for Flaunt.