Maxim Meyer-Horn

4 Oct
Music

Interview: French Rapper Ichon Talks About All His Feelings

French is the language of love and great literature but it’s also the language in which Ichon expresses his thoughts and emotions. After several projects, the Paris-based singer and rapper released his first album ‘Pour de Vrai‘ on 11 September and he made a big impression with his thoughtful lyrics and beautiful melodies. We visited him backstage at his release show in Brussels and got a great introduction to his artistry.

First things first… how are you?

Well, I was stressed today because some things weren’t organized well. It’s the first show for the album, so I’ve put pressure on myself to do it perfectly. But now, I’m doing fine!

Pour de Vrai is your debut album. What was it like working on an album for the first time?

I gave myself the time I needed to make this album, and I didn’t put limits on what I wanted to make. It was very important for me not to rush the process, and I’ve truly given my all for the project.

Over ten years ago, you started as part of the collective Bon Gamin. What are the advantages of working with a group and working solo?

Working with the collective Bon Gamin allowed me to broaden my horizon, as it took me to places I wouldn’t necessarily go myself. But this album was a solo project and I really focussed on making everything the way I wanted it to be. Therefore, I wanted to better myself and find out what was right for me.

So, I wanted to find out what I was comfortable with and luckily, I had some amazing people helping me along the way. That’s why working on this album still felt a bit like a group project because others helped me discover so many new facets.

What was the impact of your hometown Montreuil on you as an artist and on the outcome of the album?

To create Pour de Vrai, I moved in with my parents again because I wanted to relive all my memories and feelings from when I was younger. To be honest, being in my old room taught me a lot about myself and made me understand who I wanted to be as an artist. For example, I realized that I didn’t want to live next to Paris anymore because I need some space to breathe. Furthermore, I see myself as someone whose home is everywhere.

Where does your fascination with music come from?

My parents both like music, so there was always some music playing at home when I was a kid. I went to sleep and woke up with the radio on, and constantly watched clips on MTV. I’m not sure if music has always been in my veins or where it specifically came from, but there’s a passion, for sure.

Your music has changed a lot over the years, right?

Yeah, my music changed when I changed. I had always made music the way I wanted to. But by entering the scene, I started to comprehend what I needed to do to function as an artist. Once I figured that out, I started to evolve because people had expectations about me and I adjusted myself to what they wanted me to be. But sadly, I wasn’t making the music that felt right to me anymore.

I took some steps back and went back to how it all began, my passion for music. I wasn’t thinking about any expectations anymore. I just let that go and now I’m not adapting to what people want from me anymore.

You sing about love and your feelings on the album. How do you start writing a song?

I write about a lot of things. Love stories are always inspiring because they make us intensely relive moments, so I just write down what I feel when I look back on certain situations. There’s a line where I sing: “C’est la vie et j’en fait des chansons” (translated: “That’s life and I write songs about it”). My life is my main source of inspiration for my lyrics, and I try to understand myself so I can tell all my stories.

For “911”, you’ve created an incredible music video. How does it accentuate the story of the song?

The song is about leaving Paris with all the women, drugs, money, and things that made me stay in the French capital, which kept me from looking for the big unknown. All the red things in de video symbolize the dangerous things that kept me in the situation I was in, and the blue stands for the brighter side. I’m fleeing Paris in that Porshe 911 as I hope to find paradise and happiness. In the clip, I’m forcing myself to untangle all the bad things and make the big jump towards freedom. I’ve had this story in my mind for a long time, and I’m super happy that we brought it to life in the music video.

Your album is very diverse, but what makes you a unique artist?

I’m unique because we’re all unique. I don’t want to do what others do as I instead focus on what I personally feel and bring that to my music. All the other artists are unique too, but some stay entwined in how society sees them, and they just want to please the majority. There’s a sentence where I sing: “We’re all not lonely, we’re lonely”, and you can put it in a different way as well. We’re all not unique, we’re unique.

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