Q&A With Belle du Berry, Lead Singer of Paris Combo

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By Lau  /  May 18, 2016

We’re a huge fan of Le French May Arts Festival – a huge celebration of French culture, art, food and more. We’re even bigger fans of Paris Combo, who will be making their debut musical performance as part of the event. 

Belle du Berry is the lead singer of Paris Combo. Her fun vocals are the perfect match for the band’s eclectic mix of jazz and cabaret. Du Berry’s first musical encounter came when studying cinema in Paris. It was the late 80s and having taking up on the accordion, she was part of Champêtre de Joie, an acoustic musical group which explores early century French songs.  Her big break through came when she performed for the Winter Olympics in 1992. Other theatre projects followed and in 1994, she performed in a musical cabaret where met band member David Lewis and formed the group Paris Combo in 1997.

In the lead up to Le French festival, we sit down with Belle du Berry to talk about her music and favourite spots in Paris. 

Don’t forget to enter our competition to win tickets to see Paris Combo live in Hong Kong!

 
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Firstly, your name is rather interesting…
The name Belle du Berry is taken from the rural region of Berry, France of where I grew up.
 
What’s a typical work day like for you?
There is not really a typical day – no routine! Some days we are rehearsing or performing with the group, other days I am busy being a mother.

How did Paris Combo come about and how did you come up with the name?
Paris Combo was meeting of kindred spirits, back in the mid-nineties in Paris, when many musical currents were flowing together. We had another name that someone else also had so we came up with Paris Combo – simple enough!

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Your first album came out in 1997 but it was the second album Living Room (2000) was the one that caught mainstream appeal. At what point did you know you made it? 
We went on tour to the US – a kind of road-trip – when we got back the success of the album meant that suddenly all the concerts were sold-out.

What do you love most about being part of Paris Combo?
It lets me express myself in several ways – both as a writer and performer. And what’s more, I’m surrounded by friends who are suberb musicians.

How do you write the lyrics?
I’m always inspired by events that happen and people around me. Love is one of the main subjects.

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Your current favourite artists?

World artists:

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Anna Calvi
  • Dhaffer Youssef

French artists:

  • Jeanne Added
  • The Do
  • Yael Naim

Your favourite songs of all time?

  • ‘Tears’ by Django Reinhardt
  • ‘Douce Ambiance’ by Django Reinhardt
  • ‘Living Room’ by Paris Combo
  • ‘You Go to My Head’ by Billie Holiday
  • Planet Claire by B-52’s

Your sense of style is a great quirky-retro combo. Where do you like to shop? 
I only shop Xuly Bet and some second-hand shops in Rue de Ménilmontant. 

Your top three favourite places to listen to live music in Paris?

  • New Morning, 33 Rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010 for jazz and world music 
  • Lou Pascalou, 14 Rue des Panoyaux, 75020 for café music
  • Opéra de Paris,  Bastille, 75011 for opera

What do you dream about?
Peace and love for all!

What do you love to do when not performing?
I love to dream.

The most beautiful place in Paris to you is…
The river, La Seine…

 

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