PHABRIK Magazine

Lou Salomé

By Tracey Ellis

September 2012

Lou Salomé is a music artist from France, and as you would expect from the birthplace of haute-couture, she exudes class, sophistication, and charm along with her musical talent.

Sitting in her Parisian apartment near Bastille, she is a figure of chicness in her skinny jeans, silk blouse and trendy shoe boots, enhanced by simple silver jewellery and the hint of a dirty laugh; the effortlessly stylish image all Parisians seem to possess. A Diane Kruger lookalike (but with a trendy, curly, bob) and a sultry voice like Shakira, Lou is a sexy siren full of soul, French style. And with performing in clubs all around Paris and the south of France, she is busy too. Having just released her second album in France – My Art Belongs to Dad – Lou is now ready to conquer the world; well, the English-speaking world at least. Inspired and influenced by the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, The Mitsouko, Bashung, Sting, and the great singers of jazz, her bilingual album is an eclectic mix of soul, jazz, pop and funk. The album has all the contours of hope and celebrations of life, along with a mixture of the fragility and forces of nature. It is also a heartfelt dedication to her father who died of cancer.
“Singing has always been a spirit inside me; an intense passion. I connect intimately with the music and sing to express myself and my emotions”, says Lou. “Inspiration for this album came to me like an earthquake after my father died, it flowed quickly and naturally.”

Lou began singing as a child, letting her voice echo down the stairs of her parents home in the south of France. A hidden ambition for many years, it was only a few years ago she decided to take it more seriously, writing and co-composing her first album in 2008 ‘Tic Tac Mania’. At this time the identity of Lou Salomé was not born yet, but the first steps of her musical journey had begun.
“The singing was deep-rooted since my early childhood, so deep that I did nothing to indulge it for all those years. Then one day it became clear, and I understood that I had to engage with my passion and dare to share these things that have always resonated within me.”

A relative newcomer in the music industry, Lou started her career at age 34, a bit late perhaps in the age of youth claiming fame younger and younger. What she does bring to the musical table is grace and soul, as well as experience in many different genres of music, allowing her to realise that she does not want to be locked in to just one classifiable genre. With the confidence to pursue her dream and the talent to back it up, her music is beginning to cross oceans and transcend borders with the help of her music collaborator and childhood friend – Carine Bonnefoy – a renowned pianist and jazz composer in France. With their eyes set on Canadian Folk Festivals, concert halls, and clubs, Lou is excited by touring a bilingual country such as Canada. “I want to hear English-speaking people singing my songs in French, and French people singing my songs in English, crossing borders to embrace each other in universality.” Onstage Lou does not disappoint, to the ears, or to the eyes. Extremely watchable, her style is uniquely hers; feminine, bohemian, and sexy combined with nostalgic flair.

“I’m influenced by the 20’s”, says Lou. “I love the materials that make you so elegant and feminine, the pearls, the feathers, the (false) fur and the women’s liberalization that occurs during this period. Coco Chanel was a precursor of this trend and I love her work for that.”

One of the first women to wear trousers, cut her hair and reject the corset was Coco Chanel. Probably the most influential woman in fashion of the 20th century, Chanel did much to further the emancipation and freedom of women’s fashion.

And if you think the name ‘Lou Salome’ sounds familiar, you are right. The singer chose her stage name based on the Russian-born Lou Andreas-Salome, one of the first women psychoanalysts who dared to write about female sexuality. Lou has based her image on the free-spirited nature of this woman, and her vintage Chanel flair echoes this theme onstage, through her image and her music.

What does she like to wear when performing? “I love to wear heels, false fur, peacock feathers, and a pearl garland on my head. I love to wear also cuffs on my wrists and lace…I love to mix the styles of the 20’s with a contemporary style. I love sophisticated materials as well as fur or feather that illustrates the animal part we have all in us.”

Signature items? “I always wear a pearl headband and peacock feathers, I used them for the album cover. When I was a child, I was fascinated by the beauty of this bird. I found it bizarre, mysterious and marvellous in the same time, different. I love the feather, it looks like an eye, maybe the third eye, who knows?!! It is for me the eye of the child I was, all what made me from my childhood until today, all the life experiences and the memories.”

As she prepares for a string of concerts in the south of France, Lou is nervous, as always. When I ask her how she deals with her nerves, she gives me a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Shoot for the moon, if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. As Lou has proved, it’s never to late to shoot for the moon, and there is no doubt that wherever she goes, she has star quality. Look out for Lou Salome performing across Canada next year. In the meantime check out her album on her website http://www.lousalome.fr/en, Spotify or Amazon.


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