“I heard my song at Whole Foods like a half an hour ago… this is weird”, said Montreal’s Cœur de Pirate, aka Béatrice Martin who performed this past weekend in LA at the El Rey Theatre in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. At only 23 years old, she already has two award winning LP’s under her belt and three new nominations from the ADISQ (Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo) this year, and she was invited to perform at the Francofolies first American event, A Tribute to Édith Piaf at New York’s Beacon Theatre tonight. I was more than happy that the busy young singer/songwriter graciously sat down with me to chat before her LA debut.
“It’s my first California tour, I did Portland and Sasquatch about a year ago when I was still pregnant so that was intense”. “I wasn’t expecting such a turn out” she says about her show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall the night before. “I thought 3 people were gonna show up… it was packed… people that don’t know French and they’re just singing… it was really nice so I’m excited about tonight”.
“I’ve had some people tell me we’ve been waiting for you for so long” said Béatrice about finally performing in Los Angeles after four years since she first started releasing music as Cœur de Pirate (French for Pirate Heart). Her sophomore effort, “Blonde” released in 2011 on Gross Boîte Records is still going strong, the song, “Danse et Danse” garnered her a song of the year nomination from Quebec’s ADISQ this year which the public will vote on to decide the winner. “I didn’t even think it was going to be nominated… I guess it had a lot of radio play where I’m from, so that’s probably why, but no way am I gonna win”, she laughs.
“I really like it, I like to be Pink Martini, you know that’s my jam… I do fall into this type of category here… I like to be that kind of indie world music, that’s perfect for me”, she tells me about performing in America. “I like the fact that when I come here, nobody knows who I am, it’s really fun”. Considering she’s been famous in Quebec for many years, I’m sure coming here is a breath of fresh air.
On her upcoming projects, “I have two more projects that I have to do this Fall… it’s other types of work, it’s not Cœur de Pirate… it’s very much on the composing side of things… it’s very secret and it will come out soon”. She’s also been working on new songs, “I wrote stuff in English actually, and it’s pretty decent, I can’t believe I’m saying this because it took a while for me to realize it, but what I write about is totally positive and awesome so I don’t think people are gonna relate”, she laughs. “I didn’t want to play the Lana Del Rey card anymore, I mean she did it so I might as well just stop”.
On her daughter Romy, “she turned one on the fourth of September which is Beyoncé’s birthday as well, which is crazy… I remember this was the first thing I thought of when I gave birth which is an awful thing”, she laughs. On her daughter following in her footsteps, “She’s so great, she can actually totally do it… she plays piano and she imitates me perfectly, if I play one note she’ll do the exact same note, it’s crazy, she’s ONE… it’s in you, so I guess yeah she’s probably going to have to do that”, she laughs.
A few hours later and the El Rey is packed with well wishers waiting for her to take the stage. Playing songs from both her debut as well as Blonde, the young singer is quick to make jokes. Before playing, “Saint-Laurent” about a street in her hometown of Montreal she explains, “It’s where people get drunk at night, it’s not necessarily what I do anymore, but I used to… back when I wasn’t a responsible parent… I’m awesome now, I take care of a child so… I’ll drink to that”. After picking up an acoustic guitar to play “Verseau”, she says, “those of you that know me, you guys know that I don’t usually play guitar, usually I play piano and there’s a reason for that and you’re gonna hear that reason tonight”, of course she played it perfectly.
She ended her set with “Francis” and then came back to sing, “Place de la République” which she recently directed a video for. “I wouldn’t be here without you guys… you guys are magical, you are unicorns”, she said before performing her last and most successful song, “Comme des Enfants“, which the crowd sang along to in French.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for those new songs she spoke about and to play some more shows in the States. In the meantime, Cœur de Pirate has two homecoming shows in October at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal which you can still get tickets to here, and of course the sold out Édith Piaf tribute show tonight in New York hosted by living legend Charles Aznavour that will also feature performances by Duffy, Madeleine Peyroux, and Beth Ditto among many others.