We had the pleasure of chatting to rising talent Yoann Casanova, an undeniable rising musical talent hailing from the awe-inspiring island of Corsica. Yoann has recently released his debut album ARIA, a striking musical testament to his values and experiences, told through immaculate pop and singer-songwriter inspired tracks.
Yoann came to international attention through The Voice France and Eurovision France : C’est vous qui décidez, which are some of the topics we discuss below. Yoann also delved into the inspirations behind ARIA, recording some English compositions for the album, and his wider musical tastes and experiences.
Thanks to Yoann for taking the time to chat. You can connect with him below:
Can you talk to me about writing and recording your new album ARIA. Was this a challenging process?
Hello, Thank you very much for interviewing me for your media Culture Fix
A lot of things have happened since I was able to do The Voice and Eurovision France : C’est vous qui décidez. In this album there are songs that I wrote four years ago, songs I wrote a few months ago, and songs that were originally intended for an other album when I was signed in my past label but it was never released. As a result, I decided to create my own music label as an independent artist.
Through this album, I wanted to rediscover the reason why I started writing as a teenager. I wanted to recapture the feeling of my first songs, my first lyrics, my first melodies, just me and my guitar, because I needed it.
So yes, it was a challenge to create this album as an independent artist, as there are both advantages and disadvantages, especially financially. But thought hard work, courage and determination, I managed to finally release this album, I’m proud that it’s here now.
Can you explain why you chose to title the album ARIA?
My album is called ARIA because it symbolizes air, freedom, and a fresh breath in my artistic career and life as an independent artist. Every album I create will be named after an element because I have a strong connection to nature, and it’s important to me. That’s why I’ve chosen to go with this approach for my albums.
Can you elaborate on some of the personal stories which inspired some of the album’s tracks?
Through this album, I wanted to touch on various subjects, including love, the love of family like the song Babbò which is about my grandfather whom I lost a few years ago to an illness. Songs like Wonderful that evoke love and the hesitation phase before diving into a relationship, or Nirvana which addresses unhealthy love. There are also songs like Monde Flou that address topics like homophobia and racism, which are subjects that touch me and that I want stand up for, because for me, every human being deserves to be happy and free. No one should be judged for who they are, no matter where they come from or what they love. They should be themselves and thrive, without judgment.
These songs also reflect my way of thinking and my way of being. I try to spread positive energy and good vibes even though I love melancholy.
You sing in English on a couple of the tracks. What inspired this decision?
Since I was a child, I’ve been raised on pop/rock bands like U2, Police, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, and others. I’ve always listened to English’s music. And it has always inspired me. All the artists I adore sing in English, and I’ve always loved singing in English too. But being in France and speaking French, I never took the leap to actually sing and release songs in English ! There was probably that fear of being seen as ridiculous in the eyes of a real English person. But this time, I took the plunge because it’s a part of me, and I intend to keep writing in English !
The album cover is incredibly striking. What was the inspiration behind this photoshoot?
Haha ! Thank you very much ! It’s true that I wanted the cover to be striking and different, to stand out ! I think as an artist, we always strive to have a beautiful cover….
It comes back to the elements I mentioned in one of the previous questions. Each elements has its own symbol, and for the element of air, it’s a triangle with a bar on top. After much thought with my graphic designer and photographer, regarding the period in which I was coming back with an album as an independent artist, we imagined a door in the air, and so the triangle would be that door! I’m really very happy with the result, I love this cover a lot !
This is a tough question, but is there a favourite track on the album for you?
Yes, it’s a tough question because I truly love them all. I don’t really have a favorite song. If I were to answer based on pride and emotion, I’d say I’m very proud that Babbò is finally out, and I’m also very proud of my two English songs Steal All The Stars and Nowhere To Go.
Are you planning to tour or play any live dates to support the album?
I’ve already done the album presentation concert in my hometown in Corsica, in Biguglia near Bastia. It was a beautiful evening that I will cherish for a long time. I am currently planning a tour for 2024, and I’ll be revealing the dates as we go along! I hope that one day I’ll be able to perform in your area as well. It’s a dream for me to perform internationally, especially in London, where there is a strong music culture.
We first fell in love with your music back when you appeared on Eurovision France: C’est vous qui décidez! Do you look back on this experience positively? Would you consider trying to represent France at Eurovision again?
Oh ! Thank youuu! Yes, I have fond memories of it. It was a very enriching experience. Every experience is valuable, and thanks to this one, I got to meet incredible people and make my music know a bit further.
I would really love to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest someday. Being a big football fan, I always say it’s like the World Cup of singing. It’s the biggest singing competition in the world, and I would love to be part of it one day, for what it represents and for the experience it would bring.
I would, of course, say yes if were offered the chance. I would be honoured to represent France, but I’m not closing the door to other countries that might be interested in what I artistically offer!
Who are the artists that inspire you?
I enjoy many artists like U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Nirvana, Oasis, Aerosmith, and the list goes on. More recently, I’m a fan of John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, James Arthur, Lewis Capaldi, and Maneskin.
In French, I appreciate older artists like Jacques Brel, Johnny Hallyday, Aznavour, Richard Cocciante, or Daniel Balavoine. I listen to a wide range of artists and can enjoy various styles, but what I like the most is rock music with catchy melodies that give the songs a pop feel. Currently, Maneskin is a perfect example of that !
Naturally, I’m inspired by some of the artists I listen to or have listened to in my life, but what inspires me the most is the world, the way I see it, and the emotions I feel !
A few questions to get to know you better…
Favourite film? The Harry Potter Saga / Titanic
The last song you listened to? The last song I listened to was “Boston” by Augustana because I’m going to New York on December 14th, and I’ll also be passing through Boston. It made me think of this song that I adore.
All time favourite singer? I think my favorite singer has always been Bono
Banger or ballad? I really like both… Naturally, as a sensitive artist, it’s easier to create a ballad. But I also love a good powerful song with great riffs.
Biggest fear? I have a fear of hornets haha !
Favourite animal? My favorite animal is the wolf.
Visit another time period? If I could visit another period for music, I would like to see the 1960s to 1980s. Otherwise, I’d be curious to see what it was like in the Middle Ages.
Your worst habit? I think my worst habits are my home outfits, slippers, high socks, shorts, and a basketball jersey.
Who would play you in a film? If i had to be a character in a movie it would be Wolverine!
Lead photo: Anaïs Léoni