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Eddy de Pretto, “the freak is the other”

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The last time we saw Eddy de Pretto on stage, he was enraged alone against everything that ruins your life when, like him, you are “young and weird”, gay and from a pale city: heteronormativity and gray everywhere, crappy plans on Tinder and “mascus” ready to knock. Cure, his first album, was a hit. The title Party too many squatted the radios. And when his style full of emphasis and hail was admired during a headlong tour, others took him down in the columns of famous dailies. “I don’t care, you have no idea,” he said dryly. His second record has just been released. We propose to take stock. Eddy says “yes”.

“I came out totally emptied of these two years on the road,” says the Cristolien. Going on stage had become painful to me. I tried to settle down a bit, then I went into residence to force myself to spit out this second record. I had all these stories in me, maybe sixty. It absolutely had to come out. ” Eddy pauses. Blame it on the “too bizarre” sore throat he drags. We are worried, we propose to take a break. He hesitates, a little theatrical. So we continue our story for him.

Thick leather

Let’s see: when appears Cure in 2018, this son of a heavy truck driver sees himself as a mercenary, not yet a phenomenon. A vacant place exists between a French variety “à la Nougaro” and suburban rap? He takes it without politeness. Convulsive phrase, screeching diction while “r”, overcrowded texts: the ex-kid of the Kennedy district, a hub of the hash deal bordered to the west by the Seine, feverishly elbows without imagining preserving himself. In him, we soon see a singular synthesis between, say, Grand Corps Malade, Edouard Louis and Stromae.

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Clivorous? Certainly. To dare to scratch the “mascus” where it hurts, some place the weakling in their viewfinder. From then on, how many times will we hear people say, haughtily at the collar: “De Pretto?” It is the gay who makes the rapped song… ”Eddy, one speaks to him about this period lived between praises and tribunes dependent. He sweeps it away, as if to recall its thick leather. “I felt the urge to say whatever I could throw in Cure. Afterwards, the political aspect of the themes I broached there caught up with me. Society is on the move. What I can bring him with my songs is to remind us how much our constructions trap us. Some or some want to get rid of it? It’s up to them. Others respond to these texts with ferocity because they have violently hit them. It’s their business. ”

“Direct, almost frontal”

To all the bastards turns on our turntable. In fifteen tracks, and without any real surprise, Eddy de Pretto is still told there, to the bone. His “one and only subject” is him. The titles scroll. Airlocks and spaces are sometimes lacking. We hang on, listening to the redhead talk about his years spent sealing on tourist barges (Bateaux Mouches), his visions of wan peripheries (Créteil sun), her memories of a whimsical aunt (Rose Tati) or his tales of fractured love (Qqun, If only, etc.). It’s pleasant. A little annoying, too.

From the singer-crooner, not even 30 years old today, we admired the raw anger. She distinguished him from the herd. We discover it this time as restrained, despite the flights. We tell him. He defends himself. “This disk is more solar, he swears, and on this point we could agree. Musically, I wanted to open up, to be more melodious, while maintaining this tension in the verb, this direct, almost frontal side. ” And to evoke Perfectly, soul song that crosses Steve Lacy and Frank Ocean – among his “references”.

Manly mold

The sore throat is gone. We still question a little: what has been gained since Cure? “Everything”, according to De Pretto. Because see: suburban life is far away now. Far also this authoritarian mother, the “virile mold” defended by the father and the mockery of the neighborhood kids who rained at puberty. We called him “weird” then. It was called “ugly” and other more cruel names. “Out of my strangeness, I made my power, my standard, my brilliance,” he declares in one stroke. My difference, I put it right in the face of who did not want to accept it. “

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This crucial victory, the Parisian proclaims in Freak. An ode “to all the monsters, those who disturb, put them aside”, as he sings it. But past the certainty of having closed the beak to those who looked at it yesterday as an “error”, a doubt now points, insisting. What else would there be to say once all the accounts are cleared? In Live it all, honest and beautiful title, does he not also warn: “Do listen well in advance, the third (album) I’ll get there p’têt pas”? There, Eddy pauses, then finally lets go: “If I no longer feel this urgency to write, why insist?”

Eddy de Pretto, “To all the bastards” (Romance Musique / Universal). In concert on January 22, 2022 in Geneva, Arena.

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