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JAMIE-LEE SMIT: "Mon Amour Monique"
JAMIE-LEE SMIT- the young and talented Belgian singer and her debut solo album "Mon Amour Monique". Known for her metal band Azylya (performed at big festivals like Metal Female Voices Festival, PPM Festival, Damen Of Darkness Festival, etc) and after the success of their debut album "Sweet Cerebral Destruction", Epictronic signed a worldwide deal with Jamie-Lee to produce her debut solo album which has been composed and produced by Riccardo Daga (all lyrics by Jamie-Lee). It's music developed through an emotional mix of Indie Rock and New Wave with beautiful dreamy landscapes and dramatic French lyrics (mostly, English too). Find out more about the album and the country of classic comics. Here's: JAMIE-LEE SMIT
Your solo album is entitled “Mon Amour Monique” can you explain the meaning behind this?
In the album, there is a song called L’amour de Freddy. I wrote this song to pay tribute to my grandfather, who had just died. In this song, I speak in his place. I speak of his departure and his happiness to join my grandmother named Monique who disappeared 40 years earlier. My grandfather was left alone and unhappy without his beloved wife during all these years. Life has been difficult for him and his children, my mother and my uncle. This song also brings a reassuring message to them. The album title is a tribute to my grandparents and a response under "L’amour de Freddy".
This is quite a drastic change (sound and style-wise) from your band Azylya. Are you fed up with metal?
Absolutely not. These are two different things. I continue to write and sing for my symphonic metal band AZYLYA. We are still preparing the second album. But I also like other styles of music: rock, pop and blues ... My first contacts with music were musicals that were very popular when I was still a child. I also recorded a song for the album of the musical Big Bang Blues and I was on stage with the band when I was 13. I appreciate singers, singers or groups such as Freddy Mercury, Amy Winehouse, Adele, London Grammar, Muse ... and I could cite many more. It does not seem impossible for me to work on two different registers, especially when you are given the opportunity.
Merely judging by art work and cover, people might just expect this to be metal too? It's a great photo but it doesn't exactly scream 'indie rock/pop'?
The picture of the album cover is actually a bit dark. We wanted it so. The album is Indie rock but the lyrics of most songs are not very sunny. They talk about often sad subjects, such as the death of a soldier, the martyr of the elephants, the death of my grandfather ... or the famous 27 Club which includes all the artists that died at the age of 27 years in dramatic circumstances. That's why this picture, taken in the sea in Italy, in bright sunshine, was reworked to give this sad and tortured appearance.
What kind of response and feedback do you expect from your Azylya fans/friends? Are you targeting other music fans with this album?
As you pointed out, the difference in style is immense and it would be really normal for metal fans do not adhere to this album. I will accept it without worry. However, many people who follow AZYLYA have already procured Monique My love and I get good feedback. They say I have a different voice on this album and that the lyrics of some songs are interesting ... other people who do not specifically follow AZYLYA also bought the CD. It's really too early to tell, it's almost as if it were a first album for me and of course I hope to reach another audience. Public that I do not know yet. I will discover new scenes, new contacts and switch on radios that are not part of my habits. There is an entire research work is being done and it takes a long time.
When and why did you decide to record an album mostly in/with French lyrics?
Carlo Bellotti of the label Wormholedeath, with whom we signed for AZYLYA, offered me to make an album in French (a language he loves) for a new label called Epictronic. Epictronic is a very dynamic young label that takes under its wings other styles of music. I did not expect this beautiful proposal and it is with the greatest pleasure that I accepted the gift. French is my first language, so it was easier to write the texts that Carlo had left me complete freedom regarding the choice of theme songs. However, I wanted to include some songs in English, a language whose sound seemed more appropriate with certain subjects.
Kindly tell us something about the following tracks and the lyrical message: - "Revivre" - "L'amour de Freddy"
"Revivre" is a song about sadness or difficult events that each of us can experience. Painful feelings that one can not always explain ... To get out of this state, we need to find the reason for our unhappiness to get better. To escape from prison, it must be given a real name ... and when you have found it, simply delete it ... It is like writing your anger on a piece of paper and then tear it ... to forget. It is also a message of hope, we can overcome the painful events and review colors in life after a dark period. About "L’amour de Freddy", I spoke earlier. I wish my grandfather was there at the release of the album, for cons, I think the album would have been very different if I had not experienced grief when put me in writing.
Considering the overall input by Riccardo Daga. Will you continue working together in the future?
Riccardo Daga is the music composer of the album, producer, and it is in his studio Titans Lab I recorded the album last summer in Italy. He is an extremely nice person and with whom I would like to continue working if he wants to. I signed up for a second album with Epictronic and I hope to work with Ricky and Carlo because all the work in Italy was done without stress and with a lot of fun. I would like to be able to do it again with a second, more rock album in English but now I do not know if the big boss Carlo will agree :)
Do you enjoy spending time in the recording studio or are you more at home live on stage?
In the studio, I feel generally stressed but not this summer in Italy. By cons, on stage, I feel completely free. This is the place where I feel the best. I let myself go. I wish I had the money to make much more visual and attractive concerts.
What's the best/worst thing about being a young musician?
He he, that I still have plenty of time ahead of me. What is difficult is to come forward. I'm really very lucky to have two labels and that they trust me and I thank Carlo daily.
What's the Belgium live scene like for your type of music?
In Belgium, we have beautiful festivals for the rock scene. By cons, it is extremely difficult to participate and especially if you sing in French.
Are you by any chance brought up with the comics of Hergé (the adventures of Tintin) or Peyo (the Smurfs?) [and please don't say Disney, you're from Belgium :))]
I was born in the country of comics and my dad is the comic writer (Natacha, the Gowap, Halloween Blues, Alpha or Rubine whose album Seriemördare was released in 2015 by Mooz ). I lived in a home filled with comics and books of all kinds. For cons, I am a girl of my generation, trendy TV (movies and series), so I watched as the very young kid the stories of Smurfs on the screen. For cons, I'm going to disappoint you! I have never read a single story of Tintin... I think it was a bit dated to me. These are the comics of my father that I have read and seen on TV as the Gowap, comic character for children. Today, it's like the music, too many comics come on the market and we do not know all to follow them. Thanks to the genes of my father, I took the pleasure of writing but, surprisingly, I do not have a lot of fun to read.
You are in a balloon with Lady Gaga, Avril Lavigne and Beyonce - who would you throw out as ballast and why?
Without hesitation: Lady Gaga. For one day, she came to a ceremony in a dress with shreds of meat. I find this ridiculous and distressing. In addition, I am a vegetarian and very attentive to animal protection. Every stunt like this saddens me.
What are your future plans?
Currently we are working on the second AZYLYA album with a new line-up that will soon be presented to you. I also work with a Belgian pianist Jean-François Moulin, on acoustic adaptation of the indie rock album. A French guitarist, who lives in London, should join us for some dates. As soon as we are ready, we will look for dates. This is new for me to work in acoustics and I am happy to do so because I learn new things.
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I would like to thank you for the interest you have shown me by offering me this interview. I do not know Sweden and I would be happy to travel to your beautiful country. Maybe one day, on vacation or at a concert. I send lots of kisses from Belgium to all your readers.