Since I relaunched Urban Soul with all my posts in English, I didn’t think this day would come: the day when I would write, in Shakespeare’s language, about a song… in Molière’s. Yseult is the one to blame – but really, it’s very likely that you’ll end up wanting to thank her (and me?) by the end of this article.
Yseult is a bold and colorful personality I discovered in 2013 in the 10th season of Nouvelle Star (the French version of American Idol). Tragically, this edition also marked my loss of interest for the show and I therefore didn’t really follow what happened to the contestants. For a couple of years, I saw Yseult popping up in my timeline here and there with her first project but it’s only a few weeks ago that she truly came back under my radar, when I found out that she was now working with Dimitri Borrey from Vangarde Music. If you’re not familiar with this name: the man brilliantly took part in the orchestration of Stromae and Loïc Nottet‘s career, who both showcases a strong identity and branding. I was extremely curious to see what kind of magic these two could create together…
As it turns out, that voodoo is pretty powerful ’cause I’m totally bewitched by the result. Mixing pop and trap (“Y-trap”, as Yseult calls it), her new single Rien à prouver (“nothing to prove”) comes with a dreamy wrapping containing a strong reality check about the difficulty of making a career in music. Earning a living from your art still remains a taboo within the industry and especially within the independent scene, where many are struggling and hustling, juggling with a side job to make ends meet while the fans, listeners and even family and friends sometimes just assume that the money is raining as soon as you have a song on the radio. WRONG. And I’m happy that Yseult is willing to talk about it. If you’re French-speaking, I highly recommend you to listen to her Madmoizelle podcast Sois gentille, dis merci, fais un bisou, where she candidly looks back on her journey. “I’m doing this since 2014 and it’s only now (in 2018) that I’m financially independent”, she explains. Working in entertainment since 16 (she started out as a background vocalist), the 24-year-old only managed to leave her dad’s house last year which paradoxically is also the year when she decided to part ways with her major and publisher to pursue her career independently.
Drawing on her own experience, Yseult co-wrote Rien à prouver with Wladimir Pariente and Eugénie, reflecting on the various consequences of the path she previously explored. Starting so young in an industry where money sometimes speaks louder than the music itself, the singer-songwriter quickly understood that people were expecting her to fit in, including physically. From this cold hard truth ensued a lot of sacrifices, precariousness but also a constant quest for self-confidence which inspired the music video for the mind-blowing track produced by Twenty9 and Yung G. “The fact that I had to create non stop, based on others’ expectations, turned me into a person that wasn’t really me. Putting on an act locks you away in a dangerous depressive cycle. To make a name for yourself in this industry, I’m convinced that you have to be true to who you are”, Yseult explained on Konbini, pointing out that this should be your only worry when undertaking any project. About the visuals directed by Jean Charles Charavin based on her own original idea, she added: “The warehouse and being isolated and facing my own reflection in the mirror was an obvious choice to illustrate my personal story and the social stigma. I really wanted to be listened to, to be taken seriously, without too many details around.” And I love it all: the hair, the curves, the styling but even more so, her voice, her authenticity and her balls!
Already counting collaborations from Belgian sensation Angèle, Jok’air, Laylow, Tortoz and Luni, Yseult is currently working on her second album.