To be 40 years old, love, his life in the South, Piaf… interview EXCLUDED
To be 40 years old, love, his life in the South, Piaf… interview EXCLUDED
Chimène Badi recognizes it herself: she has never been so well in her head and in her body. Happy to dedicate an album to Edith Piaf, the singer has in common with her idol not to let her choices be dictated and to listen to her heart! We met this enthusiast who has stars in her eyes when she talks about the kid Piaf. Interview excluded.
January 22 was an important date in the life of Chimène Badi. It was the day she returned to the mythical stage of the Olympia to present to her audience his new album called Chimene sings Piaf and devoted to the immense Edith Piaf. A mythical artist who greatly inspired Chimène Badi who wished to pay tribute in songs to this great lover. The two women have in common their strong character, a freedom of tone and a desire to assume their choices even if they do not correspond to established codes. We spoke with Chimène Badi a few days before this long-awaited concert, which lived up to its promises! Exclusive interview.
You know Edith Piaf well because you were only 4 years old when you first heard her song Mon Dieu.
Chimene Badi. Indeed I did not understand what the text really meant because I was too young but I was truly upset. Beyond her voice, Edith Piaf inspired me and took me with her in her songs and in her story. I then grew up with her and I knew that one day I would pay homage to her.
So it’s a logical choice but why now?
Chimene Badi. I listened to it a lot during the first confinement. One morning, I called my show producers and told them that I wanted my next show to be a tribute to Edith Piaf. They said yes right away and the story started like that.
“There is only one Edith Piaf”
You met Charles Dumont, composer of Non je ne regrette rien and Mon dieu and you were very impressed by your interview.
Chimene Badi. I was lucky to meet him last spring. It was a moment out of time that upset me. I entered his apartment and before I even saw him, the tears began to flow. Charles Dumont told me that he had listened to me and watched me a lot and comforted me in my choice to reinterpret Edith Piaf’s songs.
How to sing Piaf?
Chimene Badi. She has her own interpretation and I never wanted to do Edith Piaf. I wanted to sing the artist who made me dream but with my own voice and my own interpretation. There is only one Edith Piaf: we don’t have the same grain of voice and the same vibrato at all. We are very different but we find ourselves on many points.
Edith Piaf left us 60 years ago. Do elements in his story resonate with yours?
Chimene Badi. She was a woman with a lot of character. I’ve seen her in photos surrounded by men and you can tell she’s the one leading the way. Even though she had a lot of drama in her life, it never stopped her from being where she wanted to be. I also find myself in her generosity and in the fact of sharing with others and not keeping everything for her. I also like his way of reaching out to other artists. She was also an avant-garde and passionate woman. I documented a lot on her: I know she could be tough but she was authentic and that’s what I like.
Edith Piaf grew up almost on the street with failing parents. This is not at all your case because you had structuring but severe parents?
Chimene Badi. My father could be very strict. My mother too, but her role was also to calm the situation. To be honest, I’m very happy to have had this education and this balance that builds a person. It’s good to have limits and to be framed.
Edith Piaf was a great lover. Do you share this design?
Chimene Badi. I understand it and it speaks to me. I’m like her: when I love, I love deeply and there are no limits. For me, love in the broad sense is a driving force. Without love, I am extinguished. I can understand that the love for her was visceral. She only knew how to love excessively, but she didn’t deprive herself of anything.
“I don’t need to be validated in someone else’s eyes”
You recently confided that you were single and that you no longer needed to see yourself in the eyes of the other: did you do any work to get there?
Chimene Badi. Over the years, we understand each other, we analyze each other and we say to ourselves that in the end we don’t need certain things. I realized that I just wanted to look at myself and love myself. I don’t need validation in someone else’s eyes. Love is not seeing yourself in the eyes of another. It’s much deeper than that and much more buoyant.
You have been the victim of bullying at school: is this a subject that is sufficiently taken into account today by the authorities?
Chimene Badi. This is a subject that concerns me a great deal. If I had a child today, I would be very worried. Even if efforts have been made, that we try to talk about it more, I think that we are still far from what needs to be done to help these children. I was lucky to have this character that allows me not to bear being hurt and that allowed me to defend myself. But at the time, there were no social networks and it was already very complicated when I got home. Luckily I could sing to forget the day. Today, bullying has taken on much greater proportions because when you leave school, social networks take over and it never stops. We cannot accept this phenomenon in France and in 2023.
You have just turned 40 and you seem more fulfilled than ever, both physically and psychologically.
Chimene Badi. Indeed because I think it’s great to be 40 years old (laughs). Getting older has never been a concern for me. I don’t have a problem with the fact that time marks my face because it’s good to see that it has experience and a history. A smoothed face is a face that says nothing. I feel good in my pumps and in my place where I should be, in my personality, in my way of being. I feel flex as it would say Gad Elmaleh (laughs).
Do you have a particular lifestyle?
Chimene Badi. I listen to what I feel but I have a pretty quiet life. I need peace and serenity because I’m naturally speed. My pace of life does not help to be calmer but when I return home to the southwest, I do not go to bed too late. I learned to do it recently because before I lived the night. Maybe it’s the 40s who do that (laughs). But it must be recognized that I have never been attracted to parties and alcohol and I am quite wise. I really like to walk and walk in the forest. I am a nature girl. This is what soothes and relaxes me.
“Women are aware of the power they have”
Like Edith Piaf, you don’t like having things imposed on you. Why did you want to confide in you about motherhood, an experience you didn’t want to know?
Chimene Badi. I mentioned this subject in the title Just a Woman which appeared in the album Chimène but it was not planned at all. This song was born from an encounter with an author during a seminar. During a conversation, he asked me if I had children. I explained to him that no and why and the next day another author told me that it had touched him a lot and that he had imagined a song on this theme during the night. I wanted this song, which I slightly modified, to be in the album because I thought that many women must ask themselves the same questions as me and that this title could help them. When the album came out, it was important for me to tell women who didn’t want to be mothers that it was okay and that it didn’t stop them from being full and accomplished women.
Is society too demanding with women?
Chimene Badi. She’s still tough on us, but I think the women fight well. They are aware of the power they have, of what they are capable of accomplishing and defending. They have confidence in themselves and it is up to us to continue to fight to impose ourselves. We are going forward !
You are about to begin a 50-date tour that begins with the Olympia. Do you like meeting your audience?
Chimene Badi. I’m very lucky with my audience who support me, accompany me and who are gentle and generous. I may have lost some fans along the way and more came but the loyal ones are still there. The public is one of my greatest love stories and I have missed them terribly during the pandemic. I love going to the studio but meeting him is the ultimate reward: it’s the enchanted interlude and it’s what allows me to feel fulfilled.