“I come back stripped and naked!”, quips Michel Polnareff who brings together, on his latest album, his greatest hits for the first time in piano-voice, before a series of concerts next year in France and Switzerland.
For this intimate return to the stage, after his last tour in 2016 interrupted by health problems, the interpreter of “We will all go to paradise” chose to reuse the poster of the Olympia 1972 where he revealed his posterior and which earned him a conviction for indecent assault, resulting in his exile to the United States.
Fifty years later, Michel Polnareff multiplies by three, always buttocks in the air, and wears blue, white and red shirts, in snub assumed at the puritan France of the 1970s.
“The fans wanted me to make a piano-voice album. I wondered if I could still sing. I was afraid of myself… On this record, I’m completely naked… I’m very happy to have done it and very proud of the result!”, confides the 78-year-old singer, during an interview with AFP, during his visit to Paris.
Four years after “Finally!”, which had put an end to nearly three decades of waiting for his fans (“Kâmâ Sutrâ” dating back to 1990), the melodist with the blond mane returns with a sober “Polnareff sings Polnareff”, eleventh album in which he accompanied himself alone on the piano in his personal studio in California.
>> To see: the recent clip of “Letter to France”
“Le Bal des Laze”, “Goodbye Marilou”, “Love Me, Please, Love Me”, “The doll that does no”…: Polnareff has only retained his hits for this exercise without artifice, which allows you to rediscover his work in a new light, like a private concert at the home of his fans.
With his intact voice, he sings a cappella a version of “Tout pour ma chère”. He also offers a spatial version of “Holidays”, his favorite piano-voice cover, “better than the original”, he believes. On “Letter to France”, after a moving piano solo, he hammers out one of the verses: “Once upon a time/You and me/Never forget that…”.
As a preview, he unveiled a clip of his song-anthem a few weeks ago where three avatars of the star, white glasses on their noses, appeared at the piano in the middle of the desert, dressed in blue, white and red.
“I’m not nostalgic”
“‘Letter to France’ is the Marseillaise of expats, he says. This forced exile will never be forgotten. It’s part of the pain of life. But I don’t like the past. I’m not a nostalgic: I like today and the future!”, he says again.
“I’m lucky: my voice is better than before. I can go up as much, and even a little more. Resuming my successes was painful because of personal things that inspired me at the time, but that I didn’t want to remember,” he adds.
“There are those who will say that Polnareff has no more inspiration and is taking out his old bags… It’s completely false! I’ve never composed so many new things!”, assures the singer who announces d other albums.
Before meeting Polnareff from May 24, 2023 in Nice where he will kick off his tour, his fans can still discover (without him) “PolnaRêves” (reference to the track “Polnarêve” from 1974), an “experience immersive and dreamlike 360 degrees” inspired by his hits, on view at the Le Palace theater in Paris until March.
“Polnareff sings Polnareff” (Parlophone).
Michel Polnareff in concert at the Arena, Geneva, on June 4, 2023.