To paint the portrait of a singer,
First paint songs.
It may sound presumptuous to paraphrase and quote Prévert in a presentation of “Portraits”, until one considers how poetry, nowadays, is most vivid through songs – and that words are no longer its only vehicle.
The object here is to paint the portrait of Doriand, whose songwriting talents have been requisitioned by the most demanding artists (earning him the distinction of “author of the year 2019” by the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music)
His solo career, however, has not been met with the spoils of notoriety.
Since his breakthrough 1996 hit “Au diable le paradis”, the now-forty-something has released four critically-acclaimed albums.
But commercial success came through songs he had written for others, such as L5’s “Toutes les femmes de ta vie”, Mika’s “Boum Boum Boum” and “Elle me dit”, as well as luminaries like Alain Bashung and Michel Polnareff. The list goes on: Camélia Jordana, Lio, Keren Ann, Sylvie Vartan, Helena Noguerra, Julien Doré, Emmanuelle Seigner… And as if that wasn’t enough, Doriand is also responsible for French adaptations of such songs as Josef Salvat’s “Open Season” (“Une autre saison”) and Robbie Williams’ “Time On Earth”.
Doriand’s original idea for “Portraits” was to provide his own vocals to songs he had written for others: the aforementioned “Toutes les femmes de ta vie”, “Les bords de mer” (Julien Doré), “Pas si facile à oublier” (Sylvie Vartan), “Non, non, non" (Camélia Jordana), “Nos âmes à l’abri” (Bashung), “Dans ta playlist” (Polnareff), and “Elle me dit” (Mika).
Says Doriand: “All the songs were rearranged by Marc Collin, so when I’m singing ‘Toutes les femmes de ta vie’, the result is just a bit off, a bit more refined, in the vein of the classic pop sound that I’ve always loved.”
But as the idea for this recreational re-creation of an album grew, friendship took over every other consideration: “All of the people I write with become my friends, which is pretty incredible. And only a friend would join me in such a project – I’m not exactly a household name! While it was work that brought us together, the friendships that developed through our collaborations continue to this day: Keren Ann, Mika, Marc Collin, Edith Fambuena, and Peter von Poehl are all people I talk to one the phone daily. This is the true meaning of ‘friends and family’, not just a question of musical kinship.”
Those friends then rushed to participate to this new type of project, bringing their own signature to songs that Doriand had recorded for his own albums: Mika brings “Au diable le paradis” down to earth, Keren Ann and Edith Fambuena (singing together for the first time) celebrate their union on “La mariée”, Brigitte provides a graceful rendition of “Et va la vie”, Peter Von Poehl waxes nostalgic on “Adolescence”, Lio confesses on “Le pardon du chevreuil”, Helena Noguerra transfigures “L’Age des saisons”, Philippe Katerine directs us towards ”Ici”.
“The idea was that the singers would contribute their vocals on top of the original productions. So we went back into the sessions, dug up the tapes, and I had them sing over the tracks as they appeared on my albums. We were lucky that the tones were pitch perfect every time. The new album’s coherence is built around the choice of the songs, as well the singer’s perception of them – that’s the link. It’s not only a portrait of myself, but of the person who sings them, like an exchange. It’s also a way for me to discover myself: the lyrics are rediscovered through others’ voices.”
And such a unique project naturally has to include a brand new song:
“I came across a twenty-year-old demo tape of a song I wrote with Katerine, and – over a boozy lunch – suggested to him that we should finally record it. With Mika also coming to the studio to contribute vocals to the album, Philippe suggested that we invite him to also sing on ‘Danser entre hommes’.”
The thoughtful, collegial collection leaves behind a refreshing, light fragrance that is anything but synthetic. “Portraits” is a much-needed, hopeful gust of wind that is at once sweet and welcoming.
A quintessence of French pop, at once classic and irreverent in its whimsical desire to turn its back on trendy sounds, invoking the grace and harmony of flutes, strings, woodwinds, and simple, honest and bare vocals. Doriand’s fluid melodies and sharp lyrics are given their original benevolence by a new flock of singers, hinting at the possibility of a renewal of sophisticated French pop, accented by its delicate femininity and rational sensuality – songs like caresses, draped in languor, peppered with breezy accents.
The sound of Doriand’s songs taking on their full dimension as something pretty, something simple, something beautiful, something useful…
Composer/producer with an eye for talent - a quick description that neatly resumes the talents of Marc Collin, who over the years has progressed from the studio to playing live.
Whether on projects like Nouvelle Vague (often a launchpad for an impressive list of artists on the rise) or with artists such as Yasmine Hamdan (an iconic French-Lebanese singer), Phoebe Killdeer (now known worldwide for her remix by The Avener) and Jay-Jay Johanson (the Scandinavian crooner), Marc Collin nurtures international artists whose particular sensibility and experience appeal to him.
Particularly careful with his production values, Marc Collin is above all a lover of old synths, the ones that left their mark on the 80s, and knows how to get the best out of them for his modern productions by addressing a wide audience.
With its meticulous production characterised by a certain sweetness and subtlety, whether in English, French or more exotic languages, Kwaidan Records is a Parisian institution that welcomes artists from anywhere in the world, helping them develop and confirm their talent.