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Coeur de pirate straddles underground music and pop, Francophone and Anglophone listeners

Monday 25th, January 2016 / 14:03
By Michael Grondin
In addition to more English lyrics, Couer de pirate adds bigger production to recent album Roses. Photo: Étienne Saint-Denis

In addition to more English lyrics, Couer de pirate adds bigger production to recent album Roses.
Photo: Étienne Saint-Denis

CALGARY — In this fast-paced world, nostalgia and true connections between people are waning, says award-winning Montreal singer-songwriter Béatrice Martin, known as Coeur de pirate — French for “pirate’s heart.”

Last August, Martin released her third full-length album, Roses, on which she wanted to address what she says is a loss of connection in our relationships.

“I wanted to do something different, something for me and something that could resonate with other people, like about growing up and how the early 20s can be confusing and how our generation is not nostalgic about anything anymore,” says Martin, 26, during a phone conversation from Montreal. “I thought that was an interesting thing to look at when writing these new songs.”

Singing in both French and English, Martin is known for her emotionally-charged piano ballads, situating a space that bridges the gap between underground music and pop, as well as between Francophone and Anglophone.

Martin, who began playing piano at age nine and was also a member of post-hardcore band December Strikes First, wanted Roses to be a cinematic expression of connection between people.

“I feel like everything is going so fast now, it’s like people can’t keep actual relationships anymore. It’s really hard to stay in the present and stay connected,” she says. “We are so ADD now, and that really shows in our relationships and how we deal with pain and grief and love, and I thought that it was rubbing off on me and I try to talk about that on the album.”

Roses sees much more instrumentation and bigger production than her previous releases, songs that become more than just an emotional soul and a piano.

“Piano is still very present in this album as well, it’s just put differently, made differently. I wanted to make something that was almost like music out of a movie. I wanted something that people could imagine images onto.”

Martin also made an effort to write more songs in English to reach more people in Canada.

“It came naturally, but it was still a challenge for me to see if I could actually do it,” says Martin, adding that being a Canadian is “part of my heritage, it’s who I am. I speak French, I speak English and I’m really happy I did it.”

Coeur de pirate just finished a tour through Europe. Martin and her band will be embarking on a tour through Canada and the United States this spring, stating that she is excited to play in new cities this time around.

“It’s very weird what is going on right now with Canadian music, with the whole pop aspect of it, which exports itself and that is great. Many of the top artists right now on the U.S. billboards are Canadians, and they acknowledge it,” says Martin. “But for me, I come from another sector of Canadian music, being from Quebec, but I am so happy because I get to play shows outside of Quebec and people come to see me play.”

For aspiring musicians and artists in Canada that want to make a connection in any way, Martin says, “Stay true to who you are and what you do.”

Coeur de pirate is playing sold out shows in Calgary and Edmonton next month, with tickets still on sale as of press time for stops at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon on February 14th and at the Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria on February 19th.

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