Maxim Meyer-Horn

27 May
Music

Loïc Nottet: “Sometimes I Just Want To Live In A Fairy Tale”

Giving your debut as an artist on one of the greatest music events in the world is something incredibly big and is exactly what put the Belgian pop singer Loïc Nottet on the map. After finishing fourth at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, Nottet became one of the most popular voices in Belgium and led to a multiplatinum debut album. Before Brussels went into lockdown, we had a cozy interview with him where he told us how his second album ‘Sillygomania’ digs a bit deeper into his artistry.

You’re finally releasing your second album Sillygomania. Are you excited or will you be relieved that it will finally be out?

Right now, I’m feeling a bit afraid because of the virus. I don’t know if people are really in the mood to listen to an album, but I’m really happy to offer something new and different to my fans. I wanted to be able to show people I can do more than just ballads and sad songs. It’s still a pop album but it goes in different directions.

Not only the sound is different, but you’re also opening up a lot more in this album. Do you find it easier now to write about your personal feelings?

Nowadays, I’m just a bit more confident. Not much but just. So, it was easier for me to talk about really personal topics and feelings. In some songs, I’m talking about suicide. I’m not telling my fans that I want to kill myself, but I’m just saying that I can feel very sad in this world. I’m a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Every day, I try to find my Wonderland or Neverland, but that can be hard to find. This world is a cruel place. Sometimes I just want to go away and live in a fairy tale forever. When you think of the word suicide, you think of an ending, but I just want to sleep and keep dreaming forever.

I don’t have any difficulties telling that in my songs because I know there are a lot of people who want to find something magical as well. I like that I can share these feelings with other people because it makes me feel human. It makes me realize that I can do this.

Why are you so attracted to fairy tales?

Maybe I’m just looking for something happier and less dark. I think people can be quite selfish. I try to open my heart to my fans and be really honest with them and to give them my all as an artist. But I feel like some people only think about themselves.

You can’t find that kind of cruelty in fairy tales. Of course, you have the villains but those get defeated and you get a happy ending. Perhaps, that’s what I’m looking for through these fairy tales. I just love the idea of falling through rabbit holes or portals and ending up in another dimension. That idea just means so much to me.

Do you think your fans love your music because they connect with your story?

When I released “Million Eyes”, I had a lot of people come up to me talking about anorexia or homosexuality. They felt that same feeling of being watched and judged by a lot of people. My first album Selfocracy was a way to truly talk to them and to sort of give them advice. That’s why I think they’re still here for the second album.

I’m just a 24-year-old boy writing about his feelings and thoughts while growing up. My fans may ask themselves the same questions I asked myself. Maybe, with this album, I can give them the answers they need.

Do you consider Sillygomania a continuation of Selfocracy?

Yes! It’s like Yin and Yang. The first album was dark, but now we have a much brighter and lighter side. They are still pop songs, but more “solaire”, sunnier. In Selforacry we didn’t have dance songs. When I was on stage, I saw that the crowd was there to watch a story, but they weren’t moving. So, when I composed the second album, I wanted to make it a pop album with a little touch of dance. I wanted to make them move.

Speaking of dancing, you’re not only a gifted singer but also a gifted dancer. How does dancing influence the way you make music?

When I compose, I imagine the stage with it. I imagine the choreography, the outfits, and so on. When writing, I’m already imagining what I can do with dancers. It’s something I love to incorporate in my performances.

We’re always blown away by the set-up, the stage, and how you bring your music to life. Is that sometimes difficult to do when you have an idea that’s perhaps a bit too big?

I’m a huge fan of American concerts and shows. It’s my dream to fly around like P!nk and to do huge shows with big screens and 50 dancers beside me. I really like that. I’m not frustrated though. I love what I’m doing right now.

You mentioned Sillygomania being different. For example, you even added a French song to the tracklist this time. Is that because you have a lot of French fans?

I do have a lot of French fans, but this was more like an exercise to me. It felt like a huge step. On my first album, I wasn’t ready to sing in French yet. When I sing in English, I, of course, know what I’m saying, but it’s not my mother tongue. It feels a bit more distant. When I sing in French, I know directly what I’m saying. Even more when I talk about vulnerable and sad things.

I see the English language as a kind of armor. I’m saying really tough things, but I’m protecting myself by singing them in English. In “Mr/Mme” I talk about my vision of life. My parents haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m a bit nervous for them to hear it. I’m sure they’ll call me up, asking me if I’m okay and happy with my life. I feel ready for that now, though.

Where did you get that feeling of being able to experiment a bit more with this album?

Of course, it’s important for an album to have singles, but I also think an album should be artistic. It’s the reason why I built mine like a story: you have an intro, an outro, and even a narrator. I love the idea of telling a story to my audience to really make it into a fairy tale. When you have an album with just singles, you have a commercial object. When you try to make new, unusual things, it becomes artistic. It’s the reason why I try to experiment.

‘Sillygomania’ is out this Friday (May 29) on all platforms.

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or are in need of a conversation, you can reach out to a suicide hotline in your country via www.suicidestop.com

Photos by: Zeb Daemen

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