Maxim Meyer-Horn

22 Sep

Interview: Prudence Talks About Her Debut Album ‘Beginnings’

Covid gave us plenty of time to discover new music and somehow, we stumbled across the charming electro-pop of Prudence. The French-Finnish singer has toured the world as the singer of The Dø but is kicking it as a solo artist now. Since her last album with The Dø, a lot has changed in her life and that resulted in her new sound. We met the singer right before her show in Brussels, where she finally got to perform her incredibly sophisticated solo debut album ‘Beginnings’.

How was your trip to Brussels: the return to the stage?

I was super happy. There was a Monday night vibe, though, but it was cool.

You’re finally heading on tour again. Do you write your songs with the goal to perform them or is that a totally different process?

It’s kind of disconnected from each other. I write the songs first, and then I decided we’ll see for the live show. You always get to arrange the songs for a live performance anyway, so it’s very disconnected in my case.

There have been several big shifts in your life in the past few years. You became a mother, you were in the successful music project The Dø, and released your first music as Prudence. Has your approach to music changed because of all these events?

That’s a good question. I guess my approach to music is getting more and more personal. It has always been personal, but I feel like I’m going through something … It’s a tough one. I really don’t know how much it all has affected my music. I actually feel like I’m on my path, and it’s the natural evolution of my own destiny in a way. I’m not sure how much it affects my music; it’s just an evolution, and I always keep doing things I’ve never done before. That’s what kind of animates me.

Is making music as Prudence different compared to making music as part of The Dø? What are the similarities?

It’s different in the sense that we used to have a permanent exchange. This didn’t happen with this album since I didn’t have the same kind of dynamic with someone else because I worked with different people. That’s the main difference. Other than that, I’ve always worked on my own demos and pre-produced stuff. Sometimes, I got to work on beats that someone had send to me. That’s how some songs made it to the album.

There were different people involved in the production, but mainly that’s the difference. Otherwise, maybe I write the lyrics a little bit differently. Working in a duo is a permanent face-to-face where you have a conversation. That isn’t the case for Prudence anymore, which is a good thing because it means that I’m moving on.

Beginnings came out right before the summer. Is there still a layer of the album that hasn’t really been explored yet?

I guess what was missing was definitely the live show, which gives it the 3D dimension. Obviously, you can really love an album, but I think it’s a long process. First, there was Covid, and we couldn’t really do the things we would have done with the release of the album. It’s very precious to see the people liking the album. Some were The Dø fans, some just had discovered Prudence without knowing what I used to do. That’s a very exciting and new kind of energy. I’m currently building what’s coming next. It’s all about new faces, new people, and new audiences. I’m happy with everything that has happened now, and I’m looking forward to releasing the next stuff coming up.

Does the album feel like a debut album to you?

The challenge was to find my own sound, my own mechanic of the work routine. It was about the reflection on, for example, how to sing a song. If there was a melody that I felt would be more for The Dø, I would leave it because that wouldn’t really fit. It’s subtle, but there is a difference.

The most challenging process was the mixing and mastering because those were the last touches to the songs I’ve been working on for so long. I didn’t have fresh ears, so that was the difficult part. It’s kind of technical but still super important: that was the real debut experience for me.

As the creator of the album, which song has the closest place to your heart?

“Pretty” is special to me. The first few times I performed it in front of people, I was very emotional and felt overwhelmed because I didn’t expect that. There’s something between anger and softness that I managed to get in balance in the melody and lyrics.

There’s a bilingual song on the album. Why is “Offenses” in French and English? Was it a conscious decision?

“Offenses” is the only bilingual song on the album, so it could have been more. I would have liked to add even something Finnish, but it has to remain very intuitive. It has to be magnetic, and in that sense, I can’t be analytical about my writing. It just sort of happened with “Offenses”. I wanted to sing in French for a long time, and I was struggling to find the right tune or attitude to French. Now, I finally managed to write this chorus, which was kind of a victory for me. I hope I can manage to do that again, but it’s really up to something you can’t control.

What are the next steps you’re taking? Is a new album already in the making?

The live set has obviously taken a lot of my time, but I’ve been working on a remix EP that’s coming out in a couple of weeks. I’m super excited because it’s made with four female producers from Finland, Germany, and France. In November, I’m working on another Beginnings rework. It was inspired by a piano session we did with Akemi, my musician who plays the keys on stage. We got to the studio and reinterpreted a few songs with just piano and vocals. This will be reworked by Claude Violante, a good friend of mine who’s an amazing producer. That will be the yin-yang of Prudence: the electro part and the more acoustic side. These two will complete the Beginnings era in a very complete way.

Photography by Mayli Sterkendries
Make-up & Hair by Charlotte Blommaert
Outfit by LĒO
Creative direction & Interview by Maxim Meyer-Horn
Special thanks to Alexandra Esmaïl of Sony Music Belgium


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