“the best kind of pop artist”
Anthem is an online magazine covering music, fashion, art, and design. The day after the “Carmen” video was released, Anthem writer Kee Chang sat down with Stromae for an interview he titled “Stromae: A League of His Own.” The author urges, “Don’t call him a superstar. Don’t call yourself a fan. Do prepare yourself for Paul Van Haver’s imminent North American takeover.”
This fantastic, in-depth interview is one of the best in English that we’ve read so far. Here are a few of our favorite excerpts just to whet your appetite for more.
When did the concept for the video first come to you?
When we were in the studio composing the album, OrelSan helped me finish the tracks “Ave Cesaria” and “Carmen,” and he just had a vision then: “I see people and the big blue bird in a race, running.” That was the main inspiration for the video and I had kept it in my mind.
Since you have such a huge following on all of your social media channels, I wonder how directly involved you are when it comes to reaching out and making those updates.
Directly? Nothing. To be honest, it’s my manager and my little brother who does my A&R. They have to force me a bit to post some stuff and that’s the reason why every post is so “official.” It’s all about “Thank you for doing this.” It’s more like a letter than a text. It’s impossible for me to be fake and spontaneous in social media.
So what was your entry into music like? I’m talking very broadly, of course, even before Suspicion came along, but what made a big impression on you?
Maybe when I saw Stomp? I don’t know if you remember them. I saw them in Brussels at the Forest National, it’s this big venue. I was so impressed. I was dreaming about being in their place. I wanted to drum on everything. That was my first impression of music.
How do you normally react when people call you a popstar?
You know I hate the word “star.” [Laughs] I can understand the compliment and everything, but I think it’s the most dangerous thing to call someone by those horrible words. It’s too heavy for one person to carry. “Artist,” “star,” “genius”—those words are horrible and it can destroy somebody.
I was having a moment last night because you notoriously don’t like the word “fans.” I never thought about this in detail, but that’s a really succinct, important word in our vocabulary.
People who supports the project?
Come on. That’s too long!
[Laughs] Of course, it’s too long to say in sentences. But “fan”? It dehumanizes somebody. It’s a word that’s so extraordinary. With success, you get something really good and something really bad sometimes. We have to be careful when we call somebody something like that. We’re all the same…But “pop” is okay for me. “Pop” is okay. [Laughs]
Are you going to take some time off this year?
Before the end of the year for maybe two weeks to get some rest. After this, I’ll stay in Brussels doing nothing, but maybe backpacking. It will be really refreshing and inspiring.
Read the entire interview here.
Photos by Victoria Stevens for Anthem.