Armenian sadness is always in my songs – STYLE’s exclusive interview with French-Armenian musician Essaï Altounian (PHOTOS)

21:14, December 14

By Paruir Siniavsky STYLE spoke with French-Armenian singer, composer, producer, and musical arranger Essaï Altounian. Below is an abridged version of the exclusive interview.

Essaï, where were you born and raised? I was born in Paris.

I grew up in the Paris ghetto. It had a unique impact on me; it helped me to be open to everyone, to communicate with the world.

When did you become interested in music?

I am involved in music since the age of three. My mother used to practice with me; she is a musician. There was music in our home from morning to evening. You are not only a songwriter and a composer, but also a producer. You have worked with the greats.

Do you have future plans with other stars?

Yes, I have worked with many stars. At present, I work at a French television as director of music. Now, I write [songs] for numerous performers of France. In addition, I’m working on my new album in Los Angeles. How would you describe your music? I describe my style as Urban Soul. It is mix of the street and the soul music.

Do the Armenian roots impact your work?

It is apparent that my Armenian emotions and the history of our country have a constant presence in my music. There is joy and hope in my music and, of course, sadness, which is due to our [Armenian] history. My grandfather survived the [Armenian] Genocide. He wrote a book about his past, so we may never forget where we came from and where we are heading. We are Armenian, and I’m proud of it! You have been in Armenia and recorded a duet with [singer] Emmy.

What is the historical homeland for you?

Do you plan to visit Armenia again? I traveled a lot in Armenia on 2011 and 2012. I sang the song “Erebuni-Yerevan” with Emmy. I have worked with Armenian televisions; they were wonderful adventures. The song went beyond the borders of Armenia; it was also recognized abroad. I was happy that foreigners heard about this wonderful song, which was written by Paruyr Sevak and Edgar Hovhannisyan. I whole-heartedly gave myself into this project. Armenia is an incredible country, full of emotions. You never leave Armenia as the same man that you were before coming to the country. Armenia is the cradle of civilization. There is some kind of force, a soul in Armenia. I want to come back [to Armenia] very much, to see the people dear to me, the shine in the eyes of all Armenians once again.

Your zodiac is Scorpio; that means you are a strong-minded person. Do you consider yourself as such?

Yes, I clearly know what I want. I do everything to achieve the goal. But my heart guides me. [My] work, music, and people who love me and are always with me—my family, my daughter, and my friends—make me happy. What does “love” mean for you? Love is the ability to make any sacrifice for our loved ones; [it is] the readiness to die for them.


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