After sharing a duet with Elsa Esnoult on “My Heart Tells You I Love You”, the timeless Frédéric François plays her own role in “The Mysteries of Love”, TMC’s flagship series. A great first time for the Latin lover … to follow on channel 10 of TNT!
Frédéric François is on the cast in the new episode of season 29 of the mysteries of love, airs Sunday, May 22 at 7:50 p.m. on TMC. This winter we met the star from Variety, who has sold 35 million albums and topped the charts with his latest album: DUET. Interview during the enchantment:
Frédéric François, who confides in the Journal des Femmes, it’s obvious your audience is made up mostly of women, right?
Frederic Francois: Make no mistake, I’m a love singer, but I can tell you that there are as many men as women for the shows. My discography is actually very family oriented!
The first picture I have of you is in front of my TV, I was 5 years old and you were a guest onThe fan school…
Frederic Francois: I have wonderful memories of the kids singing my songs, the parents in the room … Jacques Martin was like a father to me. It remains etched in my heart.
You also celebrate your 70th birthday, 50 years career, 50 years marriage … is it time to make status?
Frederic Francois: I do not count. Life surprises me every day on a personal and professional level. I always have the same desire, the same fear when I record a record and wonder if it will please me. I try to embrace the spirit of the times to advance musically because the listeners’ ears get used to sounds, of course without distorting myself. On the private side, it’s great to get your couple to hold on, to develop your relationship …
“It’s great to get your couple to keep developing your relationship …”
Physically, what is the secret behind your eternal youth?
Frederic Francois: I do not feel like I’m my age. People tell me that I do not age, that I keep the same look, the same silhouette, the same voice … It is true that I play sports and that I eat my spaghetti every day (laughs). In fact, I think it’s a matter of energy. I am a very optimistic person. My brain controls my body. As long as you have projects, the balance is on the positive side, charisma and life are smiling at you.
“I eat my spaghetti every day”
Precisely this smile that you constantly carry: is it a form of politeness, a way of never showing what is wrong?
Frederic Francois: It’s the joy of being there, the recognition I have for the public, and what it has done to me. My smile is to say thank you for being able to realize my dream of my father who left Sicily to work in the coal mines … and that I might one day become a singer. I smile at everyone. This is the happy reality of Francesco Barracato. I do not cheat.
“I smile at everyone, happy, I’m not cheating.”
You often talk about your parents. Is it important to cultivate memory?
Frederic Francois: My father means everything to me. He put on his impresario cap, looked for orchestras for “his son singing”, and I could join Sparrowhawks then The Wild Tigers. He bought equipment for me with his savings as a miner … and was only able to return to see his parents in Sicily two or three times in his life because he sacrificed everything for me. This rejection is magnificent. I love my parents and can not thank them enough.
You created this new album in a special health context, the threat of illness, of being diminished, of losing your loved ones … How did you find the energy?
Frederic Francois: There have been major pandemics before, like the Spanish flu, and they are over. It was about being careful, being careful. I limited myself, before everyone else, to a show on March 7, 2020 in Montpellier. My sound engineer did a home studio in my basement … and that’s where I recorded all the songs!
Does your wife appreciate having you around the clock?
Frederic Francois: This lockdown has brought us closer. I had never spent so much time with my wife, it was the first time we were together day and night. None of them have to give up. I changed my way of doing things, I started in the kitchen, I set the table, cleaned the glasses …
“I started in the kitchen, I set the table, cleaned the glasses”
You lived 50 years on the go, in concert, moved from one city to another … The pandemic locked you in for several months … You moved away from your children, you the Italian, tactile, warmth, you singer, had to stay away from those you love …
Frederic Francois: It was very difficult, a real pain, because I always took my children in my arms, I always kissed them … There I no longer went out without two masks and a scarf … Paradoxically, this imposed confinement gave rise to pleasure simple as watching series, soap operas on TV. All this with Bella, our young Golden Retriever next to us … And the urge to go back to the restaurant, to the cinema … We’re going to bite into life to the fullest!
You come from a background that has nothing artistic in the sense of showbusiness. How did you integrate the codes for this “ruthless” environment?
Frederic Francois: I am there thanks to my father who played serenade with a small group with a violinist and a mandolin in a small village in Sicily. When a guy fell in love, he came to find my father, and he said to him, here you are willing to sing a serenade on such a street, under such a balcony … When my father emigrated to Belgium, he resumed movements every Sunday with his guitar, opera melodies … My mother, who was making lunch, came out of her kitchen and came to hum a few words about a romantic chorus with him. At the age of 10, I sang with them and strummed some chords that he had taught me.
It’s even better than showbiz: my dad realized with me what he had always dreamed of doing. He became my manager, my agent, and entered me for singing competitions.
Until the day where?
In 66 I won as a 16 year old Microsillon d’argent and the recording of a 45 rpm and a passage in the first part of Johnny Hallyday and Michel Polnareff, who also drove me home … We had no car, no television, nothing at home … And he, Polna, the star brought me back in a Rolls-Cabriolet red Royce.
Success came as an adventure, or as a Hollywood movie, from the mining town to Paris. I was carefree, trapped in a magnificent movement, a whirlwind, a dream … until Disco arrived, a new fashion that swept me away, wiped me off the landscape …
“It was brutal. I sank into spasmophilia, anxiety, I stopped pleasing, believing that it would be enough to put my whole heart into it …”
There are two short years of interruption when I no longer wanted to be Frédéric François, I wanted to cure myself of my illnesses by becoming Francesco Barracato again. I traveled to America with my whole family … When I returned, I realized that I should not be touched by people who do not like my style, that I accept criticism, scorn, the closed doors … Armed with this shield I was able to chain the big hits through the 80s.
You’ve been singing about love for half a century: do you have the impression of being particularly loved, of being “lucky in love”?
Frederic Francois: I believe in love more than anything else, as the primary attribute of human beings. I have given my whole life to music, to the stage, what excites me, my DNA is love songs. That’s what my father used to sing, that’s what I feel deep down. This feeling is similar to the Delta frequency, it is the strongest, the one that keeps you in shape, in good health.
“I never get ‘hip'”
So the passage of time is not your enemy?
Frederic Francois: It is not a fear, not a fear, but an injunction to seize every moment. The present moment is very important: it draws the lifeline of the future. Every morning I get up, look at the trees, admire nature and take a deep breath.
A benevolent audience listens to you, several generations attend your concerts, but how do you react to the contempt of others, elitist and distant?
Frederic Francois: I easily resisted Eric Zemmour at Ruquier, I had Thierry Ardisson’s favor … I never get “trendy”, but a kind of respect has settled …
What is left of Italian or Sicilian in your home?
Frederic Francois: Many things! The blood runs through my veins … I lived until I was 4 and a half years old with my grandparents, I remember the smells, the tastes, the pasta, we ate at every meal. When I talk to my wife, I say 3 words in French and 3 words in Sicilian, I can not help it … Sicily is, in my imagination, a paradise … but I am definitely European.
Do you not miss the Mediterranean sun?
Frederic Francois: In Belgium, the days are gray and rainy, it’s true that the weather in the south is milder … I take vitamin D tablets and zinc to strengthen the immune system.
“I’m proud of this little family I’ve created to have come across a magnificent, intelligent woman”
What are you most proud of today?
In my private life, I am proud of this small family that I have created, of having encountered a magnificent, intelligent woman, whom I thank because since I met her, my life has really changed … Very often I tell myself that someone else would have been gone a long time ago …
And what is your most memorable memory? Your greatest professional achievement?
Frederic Francois: I imagine it is to have sung for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican because I am a believer … I am also very flattered by this memorial plaque that was placed on July 19, 2019 on the wall of the house where I was born in the small village of Lercara. In this village there is another plaque: that of Frank Sinatra, whose father and grandfather grew up in the same streets as me …