Coeur De Pirate is the stage name of 20 year old Montreal pianist and singer Beatrice Martin. Already a huge star in Canada and France, it was her first trip to London- playing to a sold out audience at the Luminaire. Her self titled debut album has had a UK release via Wrasse Records. We sat down and spoke before the show…
Did you come over from France today? Did you get to go on a ferry?
Beatrice: A ferry?
B: Ferry? No. We took a train. I was in Belguim yesterday, and took a cab in the night to go back to Paris in the morning. And I did a TV show this morning, that’s why i went back, otherwise I would have come to London… and that sucked cos it was overnight.
You must be pretty tired.
How’s France been?
B: France is awesome. It’s easy living, you know. I’m very well treated, very well received… because I’m not from France, to be THAT well received – it’s a blessing. (Laughs) cos you never know what’s going to happen, they have so many singers there. And so many bands… so you never know what’s going to happen. And yeah, now it’s my first time in England. And it looks like Montreal, so I’m happy.
I’m pleased to be talking with you, I’m a giant fan of your album.
I love it. And I don’t speak any French.
B: Well that’s good. It shows that you’re open minded, which is very good.
Yeah, well I just love the way it sounds. You have a wonderful voice and are great at piano.
B: Thank you.
It made preparing for this interview really hard because I couldn’t read any interviews that you’ve done.
B: Oh that must’ve sucked (laughs).
And I can’t understand your lyrics.
B: Well, atleast you like the music. Which is what’s important.
So this is your first time in London. The reaction in France and Canada has been huge… how’s that been?
B: Well, it’s been a little overwhelming, but not to much. I really like to keep it grounded, I don’t really do anything – like, I still take the Metro… I see my friends. When you concentrate on touring you don’t really think about anything else, you kind of forget that people know about you, and listen to your songs. I don’t sing in English so I don’t have the stress of being known worldwide (laughs) yeah… I’m not ready for that yet. When you come from a city like Montreal it’s really laid back. People don’t recognise you and stuff, so it’s good. I’ve been feeling it a little bit more in France, there’s alot more people there. But otherwise it’s good.
Did you grow up in Montreal?
B: I did. Born and raised there.
How have your friends and family been with all this?
B: Very supportive. I don’t have alot of friends to begin with, so the few friends that I have are very close to me. They have stuck with me the whole way through. My family… they’re really happy. Of course, I didn’t become a doctor, but… they’re still happy. My mum’s a pianist, so…
Did you continue school until you were 18 or did you leave?
B: Oh yeah, I did the equivalent, like, I finished CEGEP, which is just before going to university. Cos you guys go to university when you’re 18 here?
B: We go when we’re 20. 19/20. Cos there’s two years before university that we do, it’s like special classes and everything. I didn’t get to go to university.
Would you like to?
B: I would love to. I actually want to go to Central Saint Martins. So I’m saving up.
B: Yeah. I finished that, and now I’m just… doing music (laughs).
What would you like to do at Saint Martins?
B: I’d like to design clothes.
Ok cool. So besides music, what are your hobbies? You like clothes…
B: I love fashion. The only thing I spend money on besides food and, erm, food..
(Laughs) Are you a fan of food?
B: Not really. It’s just like, I don’t really go out that much cos I’m so busy. So I only buy the things that matter, food and water, stuff to clean my apartment. And then there’s clothes. I’ve been a really big fan of fashion for a while. I can’t really dress up for my shows and it sucks, cos I play the piano I move alot, and it’s not like I have a team around me to help me out like Lady Gaga. So I can’t really dress up. But if I could I would.
Are you playing alone tonight?
B: No, I’m playing with my guitarist Daniel, he’s awesome. I love him.
How did you meet him?
B: We met when we were like 9. We’ve known each other for so long, when I released my album I was like “do you want to play for me?”. He plays violin, guitar, and that’s just awesome. And he’s been with me ever since.
Do you ever play with a bigger band?
B: Yeah, we actually just finished tour with a bigger band. Cos we play bigger venues in France and in Canada we kind of need the band. Here it was like, it’s going to be a tiny venue and it’s going to be good, so it’s just the two of us.
What’s the biggest show you’ve played?
B: In Belgium we did this show at a festival, a huge festival. It was actually really awesome because we played at 1 in the afternoon and I though it would be like 300 people… actually there was 7000 people that came. Just for me. And I was like “wow, I’m big in Belgium”. That’s the kind of thing. We just got Platinum in France and that’s insane for the industry right now, and whatever I’m going through as an artist. It’s good. And I’m happy I’m doing shows like this, cos it brings me back to…
Yeah. Do you get nervous?
B: I do. I do, I always get nervous. I’m nervous right now.
For this show?
B: Yeah, of course. It’s a new crowd. I know there’s alot of people from France are coming.
Yeah. It’s sold out. And this venue is really nice…
B: I love it! It reminds me so much of the venues in Montreal. We have a bunch of venues like this.
Have you got any tour highlights?
B: Well, I got really sick. I got really sick last week. That was not a highlight. I got really sick. I got bronchitis. I lost my voice, it was awful. I had to cancel shows. I had to cancel three shows last week and I felt really really awful. You know, that never happens, and when it happens you are powerless. I cancelled really important shows, in big big venues and everything. Thank God people still like me. They re-coordinated the shows and it was good.
Have you toured America at all?
B: No, not at all. Not even in English Canada. I’ve been to Toronto, and Vancouver… but that’s about it pretty much.
How has the album done in America, has that been picked up at all?
B: It’s on itunes. One time Perez Hilton talked about me, that got really… you know, I sold like 800 albums in an hour. That was insane. Yeah, I was really happy about that. That’s why people kind of know me in the US now. Other than that, no, not really. I’m not ready for that, not yet. It’s too big of a territory for me. I love to write songs in English, I really love it. And I do it right now, but I’m not ready to show that to the world just yet.
I’ve listened to Pearls, that one song you have.
B: That was a joke, but I like it. It’s really anti-folk and stuff.
Would you consider doing more of that?
B: Maybe not in that jar, but maybe yeah, maybe I’ll just do Coeur De Pirate in English and just give it another name.
How do you feel about the album? Are you pleased with how it turned out?
B: Actually I am. But I know I’m not going to do the same thing for the next one. It’s obvious. It’s what you kind of get when you release an album, you just don’t listen to it after. I hear my songs all the time. It’s so hard to just listen to the album… and I hear every single mistake. I hear that I can do so much better now. So, I love it. I love what it was for that moment in my life, but I know I can do so much better now.
What are you going to change for the next album?
B: I think it’s going to stay the same, the essentials are going to stay the same. I think it’s just how it’s going to be recorded, or the production… I think that’s going to change a little bit. And the lyrics- you don’t understand the lyrics, but for us French people, lyrics are very important. It’s pretty much the essence of, whatever. Like I can hear a song in English and I don’t care about the lyrics, it’s just a song in English. Whatever. If the lyrics are good, awesome. Sometimes it’s just the music that counts. But in French, if lyrics are completely stupid, even if the song is good, you’re still not going to be able to listen to it. It’s really something that gets to us. I know alot of people don’t like my lyrics, but I’m not going to change it. Obviously. But I know I’m talking about bigger subjects, and darker subjects in the next one.
How do you feel about getting criticism like that? People don’t like your lyrics?
B: Oh, I don’t care. I don’t like it when people call my music shit. Because that’s uncalled for, and you really need to know music, like actually play an instrument to say something else is shit. I can understand that people don’t like it, that’s normal. But whenever someone says, you know, “what you do is complete shit” I’m like, well, try and do a scale, and then we’ll talk about it. You don’t say that about somebody else. Even if I don’t like something, like, I don’t like Pink Floyd- I’m not going to say Pink Floyd is crap. I’m taking a big example now, but, it’s true. It’s nonsense.
Have you got any new songs?
B: Yeah, I’m going to play some tonight.
When do you think the new album will be on the way?
B: I don’t know. We’re going to record in a few months, so… 2011.
What kind of stuff do you listen to yourself?
B: Everything, (laughs) everything that’s good I listen to. Right now, I know it sounds stupid, but I love Lady Gaga’s new album.
I haven’t heard it…
B: It’s amazing. It’s coming out on like the 23rd. I’ve only heard the leaked songs on Youtube, and that are available on itunes, but I know it’s going to be just massive. I like alot of British bands, who are unknown to the world. Like Kid Harpoon, Mumford & Sons. I love Laura Marling. Noah and the Whale… you know. We don’t know about these bands, and I come here and this band [Mariner's Children soundchecking] are opening for me. They’re awesome, I love it. You guys have so many bands, and we don’t know about them. It sucks. It drives me mad. We don’t really have that many bands from Canada, we have a few, a few really good ones. We’re lucky, we’ve got like Wolf Parade, do you know Patrick Watson? I love Patrick Watson. We’ve got those few in the English team, but we don’t have all that much.
Do you know Alessi’s Ark? She’s my favourite London act.
Check her out, you’ll like her.
B: Awesome. I’ll check her out. Oh, and I love the Maccabees.
The cellist and violinist in that band [Mariner's Children] play in Peggy Sue.
B: Yeah! I don’t know that band, but the guy that plays drums plays drums for them too.
Yeah… it’s all very related.
B: Yeah, it’s crazy. Awesome. You guys are awesome. We don’t have that kind of scene, even in France.
Okay, that’s all my questions. I’ll let you eat.
B: (Laughs) Eat my cookies.
All photos by Anika Mottershaw