You told me you started playing the piano at 25. Was that the time you first met Lara Fabian?
I started playing the piano a year before I met Lara. We met in ’90.
I know the story of the two of you meeting in Le Crescendo bar in Brussels. But was she hired to sing there?
No, she was just a customer for that night. At Le Crescendo, if someone wanted to sing a song and the owner was OK with it, then it was a chance for somebody to sing a couple of songs with the piano player. I was playing from midnight to 5 o’clock in the morning, and before me, there was someone singing until midnight. When I entered the piano bar, Lara was singing with the other guy. The first song I heard her singing was Summertime.
Do you remember anything in particular about that moment when you first saw Lara?
When you’ve got somebody with that kind of voice and that kind of talent, and so young – she was 20, her ability to capture the audience’s attention and to sing perfectly in tune, being so adequate with the piano… I had never seen anything like that before, it was for the first time in my life when I was experienced something that powerful. It was the biggest possible magnetic thing that can happen when an artist meets another artist. I thought: Jesus Christ, who is she? Who can possibly do that? This piano bar was a very big place, usually people were yelling, drinking, singing, you would hear what was happening in the bar from the next corner. I parked my car, I went up on the street and as I got closer, the only thing I could hear was the piano and that voice. Nobody speaking, yelling or singing. I thought we must be closed, because normally the whole neighbourhood was complaining about the noise. And when I entered the piano bar, I saw 200 people looking at this girl singing. That had never happened before.
Does the piano bar still exist?
No, it existed for a long time after, we even had a TV appearance filmed right there, 10 years after.
I saw it on YouTube, you were wonderful together.
We were, because we saw the world in the same way.
When did you think that you could work together?
Very fast, actually I was working at a recording studio besides the piano bar. When I saw Lara again – a week-end after she came back – I told her it was great if she agreed to come to the studio and try a song together. I also asked her if she was interested in writing songs and she said yes, because she was writing songs too. We got to the studio, we wrote two or three songs that very week-end, and those songs were on the first album that she released, Eponyme.
What was the first song you ever wrote together?
It was a song called Dire, that was the very first one, and it came like an emergency, we were just trying to put something together, to crystalize something, to make something concrete. And it worked, so we thought: Let’s do more. It was very natural, very easy.
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