Coeur de Pirate: Hooking Hearts

While on tour in Europe before heading back home to Quebec, the latest Canadian chanteuse to invade the French charts (with her eponymous album) recently played her first date in the UK, at the Luminaire. Rockfort had what it takes to confront and interview the ‘belle rebelle’.


Coeur de Pirate, alias Béatrice Martin, is a young Canadian pop singer-songwriter from Quebec. Her debut solo album, a collection of charming yet melancholic piano-driven pop songs, was deservedly nominated for Francophone album of the year in 2009. On tour in France, Belgium and UK, she stopped at the superb Kilburn-based venue The Luminaire on the 18 of November, for a moving piano-based run-through of her repertoire in front of mostly – but not only – Francophone fans.
Rockfort: Why ‘Coeur de Pirate’?
BM: I came up with the name by chance, I liked it, and I decided to keep it. For me, it is a symbol of revenge and romanticism.
Rockfort: It’s your first time in London. How do you feel?
BM: I feel at home. London looks a lot like Montreal for its architecture, miles away from the Latin touch of Paris, where I live now. I came here without my band, just with my guitarist and me at the piano. I am excited because I haven't done that for a long time.
Rockfort: Back in France, your album is a huge success...
BM: Nowadays, the reception of an album depends on your image, the packaging and how you promote it. It all started with a single that was a hit, and then I toured in France a lot to support my album. Obviously, I owe my success to my public, very generous and respectful fans, who sing my songs when I am on stage, laugh at my rotten jokes... I interact a lot with my fans, especially on the Internet. My fans see themselves through my songs, and I am glad I can help them.

Rockfort: How did the album come together ?
BM: I started to write a couple of texts for myself after a difficult relationship with a boyfriend. I have always played the piano, and then I decided to put them together as songs and post them on myspace. A couple of months later, I was spotted by a label asking me to send a demo. I didn’t have any, so I had to write the whole album in two weeks.

Rockfort: What is the album about?
BM: It’s mainly the testimony of a teenager dealing with love. I didn't realised at first but all my songs are about love, boyfriends, relationships. I think it is a way for me to feel better with what happened in my life, even if I haven’t managed to totally heal my wounds yet. My next songs will still be about love I guess... but ‘Coeur de Pirate’ is growing up: instead of being at the pub with my friends over the two last years, I have been travelling a lot and working restlessly on my career. ‘Coeur de Pirate’ is an ephemeral project that will be reborn as something else.
Rockfort: How would you describe your style?
BM: I dont think I belong to a family of artists. Neither in France, or in Canada. I am too humble to compare myself with great artists. I feel really close to Cocoon and Julien Doré though, with whom I have been working recently. I don’t feel I belong to the American anti-folk movement, neither to the fusion rock one that seems to be the rule for female singers in England. I would say that I am a patchwork of a lot of influences, but ultimately my music register is ‘la chanson’.
Interview by Fabien Mazzola