Myrène is a singer of Senegalese origin, songwriter, rather eclectic, very passionate about the urban music Hip Hop and R&B, they are also influenced by afro music, and pop music. She has been working in Canada for several years and has really invested in music to make it an international career. Best Revelation, KMA 2017, best urban afro song, KMA 2019, she just released a new song “Mon chéri est-ce que tu as-ce”.
Ze-Africanews.com: Who is Myrène, your journey?
Myrène: I am a singer of Senegalese origin, songwriter, rather eclectic, very passionate about urban music (Hip Hop/ R&B), but also influenced by Afro music, and pop music. I have been working in Canada for a number of years, and I have only been doing music “very seriously” for a little more than a year, fully investing in my career. But despite that I have a lot of experience in the field, I started music quite early during my adolescence in Paris. Indeed I was born and evolved in France before arriving in Montreal. I took my first steps in a female band called Nu Soul R&B called Diva, before releasing my first solo album ‘Fable Urbaine’. It was followed by a very long pause… Reason why this album I did not really defend it. As I told you I am radically more present and active now compared to my beginnings, where I managed my studies and then my other professional career that led me to constantly travel abroad. Making a great career in music requires a lot of compromises, sacrifices, and this decision I made only recently. This explains why my presence today is incomparable to my beginnings, and why I was revealed only relatively recently to the greatest number.
Ze-Africanews.com: How did you get into music?
Myrène: My beginnings are quite simple. I was in school, I came across a poster saying that a choir was looking for choristers. I called the number on that poster, and I joined that Gospel choir in Montesson. It turns out that the choir was run by a team that, in parallel, produced singers. The management team sort of ‘spotted’ me and asked if I was interested in being part of a Nu Soul R&B female group, ‘Diva’. Of course it was a childhood dream, so I didn’t hesitate for a second. They tested me, thank God it went well. I immediately followed the concerts, the rehearsals with the girls. The band was extremely well framed, we had a turntable (which explains the thirty concerts we had done just the first year), a dedicated singing teacher, Gilles Gaubert, who is a tenor in the classical music world, composers, we had a very nice rehearsal room, very nice rehearsal conditions, and really I was mentally and professionally prepared for everything I do, and everything I experience today, in the sense that our training was rather harsh and severe. We were immediately made to understand that our physique did not count if the talent was not there. Our rehearsals were not a small matter, to think about it, even with the experience I gained, if today I was told to relive it, I would certainly take my legs at my stroke (laughs). But it is without regret, I had the adolescence and the beginning of adult life that many young girls dream of having, without having to go into the madness of castings and auditions. And I think that, even though the work ethic in music, and the fact that we had to manage studies at the same time, we really had magical moments, and I probably spent some of my best years with the girls in the band and our management.
Ze-Africanews.com: My darling, have you eaten” is your new song? Explain us?
Myrène:As you will hear it, it is a small wink to marital relations, in a pleasant tone, from the point of view of an African woman, of Senegalese origin, raised in this culture. It is a way to honour the beauty of our art of living, our culture… But it’s also, because people discover me through my music, a way to make the audience understand that, the emancipated woman that I am, and a bunch of other women like me, living in the West or elsewhere, do not see any power struggle between man and woman in the homes. Let’s love… No head start. No role play. I also want to proudly make society understand that we can be an emancipated woman, encouraging women’s rights, and stay in modernity, while remaining attached to certain traditional models. In my world there is no contradiction in that, on the contrary. It is complementarity.
The full interview here :
Ze-Africanews.com: Mixing Afrobeats with your Senegalese roots and talking about marital relationships, why this choice?
Myrène: I express in my art who I am. So my origins, Senegalese, African, are necessarily found in my music…. Just like my western, African-American influences, are there as well. There’s not really any calculated intent. Listening to my music, no matter what style I speak, is really listening to who I am, what I’m passionate about, what I enjoy, what saddens me, what worries me, my roots, my joys, my sorrows… In my single «Did you eat», I talk about marital relationships, because the balance between man and woman is socially very important. I lived in an environment where the charity of a society began with stable homes, stable families, even when they were blended. Sociologically speaking, I still believe in it, I think that happy and stable homes promote the balance of children, of the future adults they will be. This mental health is quite crucial for our dear society. Until proven otherwise, they are balanced adults who build a healthy society, without too much excess, without too many vices, without too much collateral damage in their interactions with others, in their actions. When you see how the trajectory of life of some has sometimes deviated forever, because of the chaotic relationship of their parents, we understand the importance of harmony between man and woman. I am not saying that it is not possible to come from a less ideal family model without becoming balanced. I’m just saying that the family, the balance of the couple, promotes balance for all parties involved, and that’s very beneficial to society. In addition, I think we all know that the love we receive in our relationships has a huge impact on our daily behaviour. It leads us to surpass ourselves in everything, or to be demotivated in everything. Chaotic relationships cause too much trauma these days, on the children, the future adults they will be, on the man and the woman of the couple themselves, and all this influences our interests in society in often negative ways… So I sing the opposite of this reality to give us more strength. We agree that it takes more than tieb, yassa, or plantains to have a stable relationship (laughs)… But this is a good way to introduce the subject in a good mood.
Ze-Africanews.com: The music video for this song was shot in Dakar? Why this geographical choice for this song?
Myrène: If you listen to the song, you will see that I sing from the point of view of an African woman, a Senegalese woman since I speak of tieb, yassa, mbalax, and other references of our cousin countries such as fufu, placali… The rhythm of the song is really afro. There was no better place than Senegal to visually give more life to this sound work. After, although this is the ideal place, to be honest with you, touring Senegal was a conscious choice at first, even if the desire was more than there, and to be even more transparent with you, the music video of this song had already been shot in Canada a few months before. A chance contest made that the video could be remade in more authentic conditions, more favorable, more in tune with the song, despite a very busy schedule, while I was on tour in Senegal. The producer and producer of the video, Daty Niang, and my sister, Maria, made it all possible. Without them, even with the best will in the world to shoot my video in Senegal, I really could not have done it, at least not for this song. And you would certainly have had another version of the video that today I know, was just not supposed to come out. The proof, a few days after its release, it is the clip that has worked the most in my career to date.
“My victory two years before, as the best revelation, led me after careful reflection to revive my passion. She especially gave me the desire, the flame, the motivation I needed to reach the audience.”
Ze-Africanews.com: What do you think about the place of women in Senegalese society?
Myrène: On this subject, I have a special thought for the women of the villages. Something that marked me from a very young age. My mother is from a village in Casamance. As a child, I always asked her questions about her childhood, her adolescence, her way of life in the country.She told me objectively, without bias, how the women of the family often had to get up before the men to do the work of the fields, to go to draw water, and to return to the village, to take care of the family, and at the time of eating, first to serve the men, by sometimes reserving them the best portions of the dishes, not out of obligation, but because it was in them to do so, before serving what remained. It was her way of making me aware of the fact that we were very lucky not to go through the same path, to be able to experience a recklessness that not all young ladies have the chance to live, and that it was therefore necessary to honor this chance by seizing all the opportunities to succeed in life, first of all by excellence in the school path since we had almost that to do. At the time, I saw beyond his message, it really appealed to me, and today, it has not changed. I think that pretty much sums up what affects me in the place of the Senegalese woman. I know that today that has not changed. Not only in Senegal, but in many villages in Africa. Some will see this as normal, others will praise their resilience, but I think above all that they need help, facilitating this daily life which is frankly not easy. The idea is not to go against a traditional model with which they are often comfortable, but to ease their daily life. I really hope that the fulfillment of my goals will allow me to reach out to them in my own way, up to what I can do. They are the heroines. Another thing that touches me is all these women, artists, or cultural actresses that I see in the world of galsen rap. You know how to be in an African country, to be involved in a very masculine environment, as a woman, to have talent, and on top of that, to be accepted, recognized, and respected in that environment… While in general I assure you that everywhere else it seems to me really more complicated, the Hip Hop milieu is everywhere else very misogynistic. So for me it’s really positive that also says a lot about respect and acceptance in Senegal. Now I’m not saying that for women it’s easy, as a woman in the arts, we always have more difficulties than men for various reasons. But in the Hip Hop galsen compared to the other Hip Hop circles, I note a respect for the woman, and a blossoming of the women artists involved, which is frankly pleasant, and special. As a woman my dream would be to see one of them break through at the same height as our rappers who are at the top, I would be but so proud and happy. So all my encouragement to you sisters, we’re waiting for you at the top. Then we have to make progress in certain practices, which are sometimes more ethnic than Senegalese, because it must be said that the condition of women in Senegal can vary, and be more delicate, depending on the ethnicity from which it comes. I note that women of certain ethnicities sometimes are frankly subject to, which from my perspective I find very difficult to accept. While women of other ethnicities really have no rights issues. To be honest with you, I am manjaque, and being younger, I often thought of the least cultural pressures I had compared to my Pulaar sisters for example, while thinking of other Senegalese sisters who, in my opinion, had less family pressure than we did on other subjects, because in their ethnic group, the traditions were different. It is a complex issue that cannot be dealt with in generalities.
Ze-Africanews.com: You were the «Best Artist Revelation, KMA 2017», what was the occasion and how did you receive this award?
Myrène: My appointment was a real surprise, I really didn’t expect it. So let’s not even talk about my victory. I who, as I have told you, was in perpetual struggle between continuing the music, or devoting myself to my other life, I can’t even tell you how reassuring this award has been and has determined the trajectory of my news and progress today. It was also a real turning point in my career as it was the first time since the beginning of my career that I was put on the map of Africa as an artist. Before that I was really invisible as an artist in the community. That’s what really showed me to the African audience, to the public at large, not just in Canada but elsewhere. This is also what made me understand that if, by not being hyper active in the middle, I could be noticed to the point of nominating myself, if I could mobilize as many votes from the public, and win this award, it is that I was perhaps made for it. Now, three years later, given my background, I’m sure.
Ze-Africanews.com: Two years later, you were also the «Best Afro Urban Song, KMA 2019»?
Myrène: My victory two years before, as the best revelation, led me after careful reflection to revive my passion. She especially gave me the desire, the flame, the motivation I needed to reach the audience. So at the end of 2018 I took over the recordings, and re-recorded a different version of a song already recorded a few months earlier. This title is REIGN, a track with trap influences. I had big doubts because when I wrote it I naturally mixed all the languages that represent me, French, English, Manjaque, a little Wolof. It’s quite a mix (laughs) and it’s a first, I really didn’t know how it was going to be perceived. And boom, to my surprise, not only did the Senegalese rap blogs start talking about me, which was a shock to me because, not singing in Wolof, I never thought that the Senegalese or the Senegalese media would pay attention to my music. I really thank them because it was they who opened the door to music in Senegal for me, and that’s how gradually people in Senegal began to take an interest in me. But in addition to that, this title earned me a beautiful second victory at the Kilimanjaro Music Awards, victory that allowed me to make a very nice promotional tour in Senegal in December 2019 with several shows dates, several shows by Wally Seck, a showcase, a festival, in Mbour, Thiès, Toubab Dialaw, Dakar, Gambia, but also several TV sets, which have revealed me even more to the Senegalese public. In short, this award was a great recognition that really boosted my career a few months after her “relaunch”. It also proved to me how much the Senegalese support me because they voted en masse for me, especially in Senegal, but also elsewhere of course. I am really proud to be able to touch the people in my region, with my differences, while also touching people outside, in other African countries, in Europe, and in Canada.
Ze-Africanews.com: Are you planning to return to the stage on 11 October 2020 at the independence stage of Bakau in The Gambia?
Myrène: I’m so excited. It is such an honour for me to take part in such a great show, which will take place on my continent, Africa, and more importantly, organized by one of our largest promoters in Canada, Deejay Chi Entertainment. This will be my first big show after several months of absence, it’s a key date for us.
Ze-Africanews.com: You will be the first part of the famous Nigerian artist Kizz Daniel, what is your feeling?
Myrène: We know that Nigerians are at the top of the game right now, Kizz Daniel is in the top of the artists of the new generation. So the fact that a Senegalese singer is invited on this occasion, while this show is not happening in her country of residence, or in her country of origin, is just another level, as we say here in Canada “I’m just like… wow…”. I really have the ambition to carry the flag of Senegal as high as possible, not to touch only Senegal, but to have an impact at home, and everywhere else. We have to work very hard for that, I say we because I am not alone, I am the sum of the team that works with me and helps me in my career. And it’s big signs like this that make me say, “Hmm…it’s really possible, it’s going to work, we’ll get there.” I don’t hide from you that doing shows in huge stadiums like I did in December in Senegal already exceeds all my dreams. What the Senegalese audience gave me as an energy as they discovered me when I was on stage, is strength for the rest of my career seriously, power but unlimited that my soul has absorbed forever, and I ask again to live it. But to come back to the question, on October 11, 2020 in The Gambia, at the Kizz Daniel concert, then I know that my choreographer Tiken and I are ready to make this experience an unforgettable show. I work with one of the best in stage setting. So I have peace, my mind is quiet, I just wait for the repetitions and the day without having but no doubt because we will ensure. If a Senegalese artist is present at the concert of a great Nigerian artist, at the top of the music game, it is to mark the spirits and represent as it should be. It’s non-negotiable, for me, for my team, and it’s crystal clear.
Ze-Africanews.com: How is your tour going in Europe? Which cities will you be in?
Myrène: For now it is complicated to say we resumed our discussions, but everything depends on the approval of the government authorities for the resumption of public gatherings, concerts, etc. I will announce my program when the doubts have dissipated. But I will make a compulsory passage in September in France to shoot a new video before going back to Africa.