the essential Michel Jonasz returns to the stage of the Casino Barrière in Toulouse, this Wednesday 10 November with a new album “La Méouge , the Rhône, the Durance ”, accompanied by very good musicians, including Manu Katché on drums.
A “monument of French song”, an “inimitable voice”, a “very good actor”, … Your audience adores you. Why do you think you are loved so much?
I believe the true love story , this is the scene. For me, what matters is not making albums, but nurturing a repertoire on stage. I did not choose this profession to be known, except at the beginning, because I had to be recognized to earn money. I am really passionate about my job. I think people are feeling it.
Why did you wait 8 years to record a new record?
By lack of time, between film and TV shoots and concerts. But I missed the writing. The confinement forced me to be quiet. When I write, I need to be calm, to dream, to invent, to express emotions.
We saw you recently on the 3 in the TV movie, “Bad Seeds” You never wanted to choose between your two jobs, singer and actor?
I started with the theater. I took drama lessons before doing songs. Besides, I wrote and performed a single-on-stage, “Abraham”, inspired by the life of my grandfather, a Polish Jew. I have a little frustration at not having been able to do more things in the theater, for lack of time. But on stage, I am also an actor. I talk to the audience, I tell them stories, I amuse them.
How do you prepare, before entering the scene?
I have a kind of ritual. I arrive early, around 18 hours, to do the soundcheck with the technicians. We dine at 19 hours, a light meal, based on chicken or fish. Then comes the time of makeup, an important moment of concentration.
You don’t have the jitters?
Not really because the show turns out well. But having the jitters gives you energy. Fear, on the other hand, is not good. If you observe yourself, if you wonder “how I speak”, “how I sing”, that takes away from the joy of being on stage. We can fight against fear, there are methods.
What is your definition of “groove” , title of your show?
It’s like a rhythmic wave, a drive that is there to highlight the text. There is groove everywhere, everyone has their own inside.
Your album La Méouge, Le Rhône, la Durance contains “The retirement home”, a poignant song, nominated for the Victoires de la Musique 2021. How was she born?
I wrote this text when I composed the album . It’s a love song. The character, tells his wife that their love has no limit in time, that it lasts beyond the physical aspect, and that they will never go to a retirement home. I hope neither.
What’s a good gig for you?
Technical conditions met and a perfect exchange between the public and the artists. My first criterion is not to give people what they expect, for example old hits, but what I want to sing. Because if I don’t want to, if I’m not completely in the present moment, it can’t work. A good concert is a shared joy.
What comes first, the lyrics or the music?
First the text. I have suitcases full of school notebooks that I write on. Sometimes I dig into it. The music comes after, to give rhythm to the words.
Some of your big hits, like “Tell me”, are melancholic, others very jazzy, like “The Jazz Box”. How are you in life?
Like everyone else, it depends on the moment. But I am a good living. We are on earth to experience joy.