Thursday, December 7, 2017

Portrait of the artist / Vanessa Paradis/ 'I was only a teenager when I started out in the music industry. I didn't look my best'

Portrait of the artist

Vanessa Paradis

Actor and musician

'I was only a teenager when I started out in the music industry. I didn't look my best'

Interview by Laura Barnett
Monday 24 January 2011 23.46 GMT

What got you started?
MGM musicals. The first one I saw was Singin' in the Rain, when I was six. I was stuck to the screen – and all those musicals still give me goosebumps.
Do you feel that you're judged too much on your looks?
No. I started in music – the modelling and acting came later, so I don't feel that side of things has made people in the music industry take me any less seriously. Anyway, I started at an age when I didn't look my best – I was only a teenager.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My mum told me to have patience. It's about realising that when things aren't going the way you want them to, or you don't have inspiration, it will come.
What's the worst thing anyone ever said about you?
A TV presenter was once talking about people he couldn't stand, and one of them was me. He said my voice was too quiet; as a singer, that's a pretty bad thing to hear. But then you can't please everyone, and I don't want to.

How do you cope with fame?
I have contradictory feelings about it. It brings me lots of privileges – it helps me to find a doctor in an emergency, or a table in a restaurant. But it also steals my private life, and it's difficult when it affects my family. My children's lives shouldn't be touched by it.
Which other artists do you most admire?
Marvin Gaye, Tom Waits and Serge Gainsbourg. They're complete geniuses.
Is there an art form you don't relate to?

No. There are forms of art that I might not like to do myself, but I still have respect for the artists who create it. It's a courageous thing to do something that doesn't have rules or limits.
What work of art would you most like to own?
Gustav Klimt's painting Love. It moves me so much; there's a couple in the middle looking each other in the eyes, so that you can totally feel their love, and then two gold bars on either side, like a frame. It's real and magical at the same time.
What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?
La Vie en Rose sung by Edith Piaf. If your heart is in love, you can do anything.
In short
Born: Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France, 1972.
Career: Had her first big hit aged 14, with the song Joe le Taxi. Has released 10 albums and acted in films such as Un Amour de Sorcière and Heartbreaker. She performs at Koko, London NW1 (0870 432 5527), on 2 February.

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