Barbara Pravi: “My anger is a force”

France discovered her on May 22, 2021 at the Eurovision Song Contest, where she came second with “Voila”. A warm and deep voice, a dark gaze, precise gestures and a strong presence: Barbara Pravi made an impression that evening. The adventure continues with a very successful album, “We do not enclose the birds” produced with the excellent Jérémie Arcache.

Was it important for you to quickly follow up with an album, so as not to be labeled “the Eurovision girl”?

I was ready before Eurovision and most of the songs on the album were also ready for a long time. I knew that the show was going to accelerate my project, but that it would be a different impetus.

You grew up in a family of Serbian, Iranian, Jewish and French origins. Did that shape your artistic openness?

Yes, but I only became aware of this very recently. When you grow up surrounded by different songs and languages, it’s natural, it’s like a habit. My grandfather is Serbian and he always spoke to me with his accent. I discovered magnificent instruments like daf, percussion… It’s so part of me that I don’t really think about it. When I imagine my songs, I hear a classical orchestration, I work on a melody, on words. It is undoubtedly after Eurovision that I started to question my roots, that I wanted to put a cello here or there…

How did you get the urge to compose your own songs?

I thought you had to know the codes, know how to read and write music and since I am incapable of it, I thought it was not for me and I was told that I could never compose songs. So I composed with my voice. I learned to master my instrument. For writing, on the other hand, the question never arose: I have always written.

We know your commitment to women’s rights: the title of the album, “We do not enclose the birds” speaks of that?

I think it’s above all a summary of what this first album tells: these last six years, those of a maturation and a culmination. I hope that each of my albums will be the summary of what I just knew. The birds, which come back often in the album, evoke the feeling of freedom: no matter how hard we try to maintain ourselves, when we are free, we just have to spread our wings …

You talk about old age in “Prayer to stay beautiful”: how can we be afraid of aging at 28?

I’m not afraid of it, but I wonder what aging means. I am so in the present… I see friends around me who have had a child: their bodies change a little, wrinkles appear… I observe these lives with my 28-year-old eyes, questioning the evolution of desire: of oneself, of the other …

We often talk about your strong character. Does music soothe you?

I am the same when I make music and in life! When I was younger, I was very angry: a big flaw that hurt others as much as myself. I had to work on this search for calm, for alignment – this search for myself, quite simply. And of course, the music, but also my experiences, my family helped me with that. Today, this anger is no longer a fault, but a strength.

Barbara Pravi: album “On enfferme pas les oiseaux” (Capitol / Universal). Upcoming concert in Toulouse.