Pascal Parisot

Born : 11/1963 in Pompey (France)
Country : France
Language : French
Category : Composer / Male Artist / Songwriter
Style of music : Chanson

After many long years on the live circuit, Pascal Parisot has finally won over the French public and the critics with his quirky ‘DIY’ mix of cha cha and electro. Beneath the bitter-sweet songs on his albums “Rumba” and “Wonderful” beats the heart of an endearing musical rebel.

After many long years on the live circuit, Pascal Parisot has finally won over the French public and the critics with his quirky ‘DIY’ mix of cha cha and electro. Beneath the bitter-sweet songs on his albums “Rumba” and “Wonderful” beats the heart of an endearing musical rebel.

Pascal Parisot was born in Pompey, in Alsace-Lorraine, in November 1963, but he spent most of his childhood and early teens in the Vosges region. The future musician grew up in an eclectic musical environment, flitting from one style to the next as he forged his young tastes. This multiplicity of influences would have a bearing on the musical universe Parisot went on to create later in his career, drawing on everything from French "variété" to Brazilian sounds. As an example of his eclectic tastes, Parisot likes to regale interviewers with the story of the great musical epiphany of his early years: the day his parents slipped an album by the late great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos onto the family record-player.

Piano bars

In his early teens, Pascal went on to take classical guitar lessons at the local Conservatoire for four years. Meanwhile, in the 70s, he broadened his musical horizons and his social conscience, listening to early protest songs by Bernard Lavilliers. By the age of 17, Pascal had decided on his future vocation, vowing to become a musician at all costs. Struggling to fulfil his dream on a shoestring budget, the young wannabe scoured jumble sales and second-hand shops, repairing the strange instruments he dragged home.

 

Over the next fifteen years, Pascal honed his live skills performing on the local piano-bar scene while he earned a living from a variety of odd jobs. Like Patricia Kaas, who hails from the same region, Pascal forged his reputation playing small, low-key venues in the east of France, occasionally hopping over the border to Germany. At one point, the young hopeful also made a brief detour via the French West Indies. At this early stage of his career, Pascal had not yet got round to writing his own material. His act was made up of covers of French ‘chanson’ hits ranging from Boby Lapointe and Serge Gainsbourg to Nino Ferrer and Edith Piaf - with a smattering of his favourite Brazilian classics thrown in for good measure!

 

Pascal gradually moved on to writing his own songs, trying them out on live audiences as he continued performing on the local circuit. Despite putting in a lot of effort and hard work, Pascal appeared to be making little headway in his career. It was at this stage in the late 90s that the singer Frédérique Dastrevigne (his partner on stage as well as in real life) persuaded him to move to Paris and line up a series of appointments with record labels. Working in collaboration with three musician friends (percussionist Jacques Tellitocci, guitarist Hugues Bodin and producer Vincent Boutolleau), Pascal went on to record a 9-track demo tape which finally fell into the right hands. He hit the jackpot, signing to Sony (via the Epic label) and his professional career began in earnest.

Rumba Début

Pascal Parisot's first 3-track EP appeared at the end of September 2000. Featuring bitter-sweet 70s-style melodies and a jokey DIY-Latino style, the EP failed to make any kind of commercial impact. Indeed, Parisot's work was not taken seriously at all. Parisot persevered and went on to record a début album entitled "Rumba." Released on 26 January 2001, this début opus appeared to appeal to a wider circle of listeners, putting Parisot's upbeat minimalism and quirky sense of humour on the French musical map. By this stage of his career, Parisot was on the verge of turning 40, but it seemed that his luck was about to turn and his long years of struggle were finally over. In December 2000, he appeared at the famous "Transmusicales" festival in Rennes where his set got an enthusiastic reception from the public.

At the end of 2002, the up-and-coming musician was invited to take up an artistic residency at the Théâtre des Bains Douches in Lignières (in the Cher region). Parisot made constructive use of his time there, using his residency to work on new material and rehearse for a series of concerts he performed at the Européen in Paris in the spring of 2003. In October of that year, Pascal Parisot went on to release a second album entitled "Wonderful." Right from the beginning of his career, the musician had decided to promote a quirky, off-the-wall image and he continued in the same vein with his second album, playing with visuals that could have been used for a luxury perfume ad. Meanwhile, on a musical level, Parisot began to leave his Latin American influences behind and experiment with a warm, rhythmic style of electro which provided the perfect backdrop for his falsely naive lyrics. Nicolas Repac (known for his work with Arthur H and the group No One is Innocent) stepped in to take care of the arrangements on "Wonderful," which he also co-produced.

Pascal Parisot honed a series of new songs at live venues across France in the autumn of 2003. He also embarked upon a collective tour with Julie Delpy, Albin de la Simone and Thierry Stremler. In 2004, he continued to serve his time on the road alone, touring a new solo show.

November 2004

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