From Shania Twain to the youthful tunes of Bilal Hasan’s musical Le Roi Soleil
As a child, Bilal Hasani dreamed of Emmanuel Moir’s hair in the musical Sun King. The singer talks about the Freddie Mercury albums his mother listened to at the International Dance Academy in Paris that made him an artist.
Where and in what environment did you spend your childhood?
I was born and lived in Les Ulis near Orsay before moving to Issy-les-Moulineaux at the age of 3. Both my parents worked in IT. After my mother remarried, when I was 5 years old, we moved to a suburban residence in Essonne. I believe that I was a very sunny and inclusive child, which should be taken care of. My favorite hobby was dressing up and creating shows that I performed in my parents’ living room. I was a serious student who did very well in school because I wanted to make my mother happy and proud. In CM2, I wanted to continue my studies at a boarding school to discover community life and enjoy independence. Unfortunately, after an affair with a boy, I was sent back to fourth place. The following year, I joined Victor-Hugo High School in 3rd grade with flexible hours.e Paris district. I stayed there until I graduated and received a BA in Literature.
Did your parents listen to music?
My mother had a huge collection of CDs. He was a particular fan of Freddie Mercury, but also of solo albums by Prince and David Bowie. In the car, we often listened to country artist Shania Twain. My father, who was not much into music, liked to gather my brother and me around the computer to show us tapes of Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse concerts in an almost religious atmosphere. In the car, he often passed by Sade albums and Arabic music.
What is your favorite childhood song?
I remember a collection of R’n’B singers called Sister Groove, the first song, He wasn’t human enough. By Toni Braxton, I really liked it. I must have been 7 years old. I thought he was a boy because of his deep voice and mixed name. Without understanding the lyrics, I sensed something sultry about this song, and I admired the way he pulled off the improvised vocalizations from the main melody of the chorus. As a teenager, at the end of college, the hood Born on This Road, By Lady Gaga, it came just in time to calm me down. I was discovering my sexuality, losing friends, and realizing how different I was. He helped me come to terms with my personality.
What was the first concert you attended?
When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to see a musical The Sun King in Bercy. I was listening to the album again at home and suddenly the songs came alive before my eyes. We were sitting next to one or two girls in the tribune. That same day, my mother explained to me what homosexuality was. I was also marked by the Sun King’s (played by Emmanuel Moire) wig. With a capital H, it didn’t respect history at all, instead it looked like a Beyoncé wig. She was very beautiful and bright. I totally wanted to have this hair. But the first real concert I attended was Lady Gaga’s concert at the Stade de France, when I was 12 and accompanied by my cousin Kadija. Since we didn’t have much money and the seats were too expensive, we were placed behind the bleachers, far from the stage. Despite the distance, every sentence he spoke in French seemed to be meant for me. There was an orchestra, dancers, a set, he came on horseback, changed his clothes twelve times. I remember it as a cathartic moment. I had deliberately returned from boarding school for a concert, and the next day at college I felt stronger.
Did you learn music as a child?
When I was 5, my mother enrolled me in the Conservatoire Breuillet in Essonne, theater as my major, but also piano, guitar and music theory. After one move, I left the conservatory at age 11 and took private singing and guitar lessons. After passing the audition, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the AID school (International Dance Academy) in Paris. When I was 14, a friend secretly signed me up for an audition Voice guys. I participated in the 2nd season where I lost the battles. After the sadness and disappointment, I pulled myself together and with the help of my guitar teacher put together an EP to be released when the show aired.
Back then, my mom and I would go to record companies every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon to release the EP. When I was 16, I was selected to participate in a competition in LA that was supposed to allow us to meet professionals in the trade. After spending two weeks in Los Angeles, mostly by car (we lived two hours from downtown for financial reasons), I won the gold medal in the competition. On the advice of my friends in Paris, I started a YouTube channel and posted my first video to talk about my experience. Voice guys, then a second with the cover side by side By Ariana Grande which has over 300,000 views. With the number of subscribers, I released a new EP and gave my first concert at Les Étoiles as my own production. I was 16 years old. This is thanks to my recovery Djadja, Aya Nakamura, that a label signed me in my artist development and that I was able to send a song to the show Destination Eurovision.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I wrote my first songs for the EP I released when it was released Loud Kids. Her name Family portrait. Each title follows a member of a chaotic family with a complex story. Father is an alcoholic, mother kills him, abandoned brother and sister must manage their mother’s escape. It’s a kind of musical comedy in four titles, unfortunately still available on streaming platforms!
Bilal Hassani’s latest album, theorem, was released on October 7. He will give a concert at Gaité lyric on December 14, 2022.