After he was announced as french representative in Eurovision Song Contest 2016, we tried to enter in touch with Amir Haddad who will be singing J’ai cherché in Stockholm. We could made some questions to him and this is what he told us.
1 You are an Israeli-French singer and songwriter of Tunisian and Moroccan-Spanish Jewish parents, how does it feel to have so many cultures in yourself?
I feel lucky to have grown-up in such an environment, I have family all over the world and many languages are spoken at home. I got to know a lot of different customs and culinary worlds. It’s amazing. It also influenced my music and singing style very much.
2 You have been internally selected to represent France in Eurovision. What are Amir’s beginnings in music?
According to my parents’ memories, I have been singing since the age of 3. I remember starting to believe in it at the age of 10 approximately, but I’ve always loved listening to music, having fun dancing, and performing in front of my family and getting their attention...
3 You took part in Kokhav Nolad, israeli music contents, back in 2006 and also in The Voice: la plus belle voix in 2014 where you finished third. For what of these two do you have better memories?
It’s very different, my Kohav Nolad good memories came AFTER the show, since it didn’t go very well for me there (I was very unexperienced) but as I always do, I took the good side of it, which is, falling in love with stage and aiming to get back there someday.
The Voice was a much more mature and aware experience, I came there after my 6-years university studies, I had the chance to make my own artistic choices all along so that I could reach the final thanks to the public’s amazing support and that’s what made me really believe in myself as a singer.
4 As you not won the first one, you took the alternative of dentistry, perhaps by vocation?
I was already admitted to my dental school while doing Kohav Nolad, and the show was just a way for me to enjoy and have fun before beginning school… Even though I came 13 out of 16 in the live shows, it was lots of fun, I never thought I’d win as I virtually had zero singing experience. It was crazy for me to succeed the preliminary auditions out of 40,000 participants, and doing the live shows was my personal victory 🙂
5 Along your career you’ve colaborated with artists such as Patrick Bruel. What did mean for you to work with this french giant in the music industry?
It was a dream that came true, he is a model for me on many aspects, artistic and human, and I hope I’ll be able, someday, to help a young artist as he did, and still does, with me.
6 How emerges the idea of representing France in Eurovision?
Nazim, my friend and my principal co-author on this album, introduced me to his friend Edoardo Grassi (French HOD) in a completely friendly situation, I was fascinated by this man’s story as I’ve always been a fan of the show. He then asked me about my musical project and I wanted his opinion about my first planned single « J’ai cherché ». He actually loved it and asked if I’d be interested in presenting the song at the ESC for France. At first I was extremely surprised and unprepared but I then gave thought to it and consulted my team which were mostly favorable to the idea with only one condition – that I’d release the single as planned, in January, and only later will the announcement be made. The song already received a great start in the French radios before the announcement (around 500 broadcasts per week) and it only became bigger afterwards 🙂
7 As we said previously you are half israeli. Even in 2011 you released your debut solo album entirely in hebrew titled “Vayehi”. Do you consider to take part in Risin Star in a bid of representing Israel?
No, I don’t. The Vayehi album was written and recorded in 2007 when I was a student, and we finally released it in 2011 because my studies were almost over and I wanted to get my small fan-base ready for my « come-back » to musical activity… Most of my career rising started only 2 years later, in France, and then I decided that Israel won’t be a part of it, and I’d keep this place for family, friends and personal retreats…
8 “J’ai cherché” is the song you will be singing in Stockholm. Why did you decide to include a fragment in english on the chorus?
It’s funny, but the song was born this way- when we wrote it 18 months ago, after finding the verses, we started thinking about a chorus that starts with the Yououou sound. The lyrics that naturally followed were English and it sounded good so we kept it this way. I am very comfortable with English, and a few songs in my album are sung in this language.
9 How it was the recording of the video?
I had a great time, the teams were professional and creative, and getting to know the young and talented participants (Maylis and Melvin) made it even more interesting. Their fascination around the martial arts and dancing (respectively) is a real model of determination, and it’s amazing to see it in people that are so young…
10 This is a hard question but… If J’ai cherché wouldn’t be the entry, what of your songs would you choose to represent France?
In this case, I’d hesitate between On dirait and Lost (songs you’ll be able to discover on April 29, when my album is released).
11 Why is, according to you, the reasons that lead France to lose influence in the contest?
I think that, for the first time in many years, France is determined to change the results and go back to the pretty old times it had. It deserves it, especially after the tough 2015 we had in our country, and I honestly think that we’re capable of it, the motivation is super high and the people that work on the project are doing it with lots of love and hope, led by the amazing Edoardo Grassi. Maybe such a dynamism is what we were missing in the last decades.
12 It seems like the Eurovision Song Contest is so far away from today. Have you think about the on – stage performance?
Yes, we’re already working on it and we want it to be as spectacular and modern as possible. We took the best team in the country to design it and we’re keen to show it to you all.
13 If you had to choose the best entry France took to the contest, what did you say it was?
No surprises, L’oiseau et l’enfant, the 1977 French winner….
14 For eurofans is very important representatives to attend events like Eurovision in Concert. Do you have intention to promote your song in the rest of Europe?
Sure, ESC is a great opportunity to get to know European countries and people, and I totally want to seize this chance! I am going to perform at Eurovision in Concert but also in other countries that have invited me to do so. As long as my planning allows me, I say YES to every invitation.
15 What do you think that are the great entries this year in Eurovision?
Australia, Spain and Russia have very good songs.
16 Spain does like a lot your song. How about a spanish cover of J’ai cherché.
Please note, that I’m very touched by the Spanish hug that the song received! Here is a promise – if you guys bring me nice Spanish lyrics to the song, I promise to record and send you a version of it!
17 Barei with the song Say Yay! was chosen past 1st of february to represent Spain, what do you think about spanish entry?
It’s great and Barei looks amazing on stage. I love the song’s energy and it’s one of my favorites as stated earlier in the interview 🙂 Good luck Spain!
18 Just to finish. What are your future plans in music? We love french and would love to listen an entirely french album by Amir Haddad.
Well thaks a lot! My first album will also be happy to go to Spain 🙂 , this can be an unbelievable closure to me and my Spanish origins! « Au coeur de moi » (In the heart of me) will be released on April 29, 2016.
All we’re left to say is thanks to Amir for spending time with us. And hope that you enjoied the interview as much as we do.