Earlier on when you said you tutored yourself, did you say you taught yourself English?
I did, yes.
Now this is going to sound monumentally patronising but your English is incredible. I don’t understand how it’s so good.
Maybe it’s just being exposed to it? I made the decision that I didn’t want to be a French artist that then exports – I wanted to work with English people, and be European, from the get-go. So being around English-speaking people constantly has helped on the aural side, and as far as written English goes I don’t think I’d be able to progress if I wasn’t surrounded by it all the time. I think the best way to learn a language is to be exposed to it, get the pieces together and guess the rest. Then you progressively build a vocabulary and understand the mechanics of grammar and syntax without necessarily knowing the rules. So it’s like, ‘well I’ve never heard a sentence said like this, so it’s probably not right’. And you become a patchwork of all those idioms and styles of language. And that’s it!
What were you immersing yourself in, was it pop culture stuff?
Of course, but regarding songs, when I listen to an English song I often don’t understand the lyrics unless I make a conscious effort to understand them.
Most lyrics are nonsense, that’s the problem.
That’s partly why in the chorus of ‘The City’ is just nonsense syllables cut together – it’s how English songs sounded to me when I didn’t understand them. I just like the musicality of the syllables, rather than the meaning. For a long time I wasn’t interested in lyrics at all, actually. I didn’t feel like music was a good medium to express messages. What’s great about music is that it’s so abstract, and so emotional on a very primal level. You just feel it. And that’s more appealing to me than something that’s descriptive or has a narrative. it’s much more open to interpretation. So sometimes lyrics felt like they’d ruined that side of music, but growing up and listening to more music I find lyrics appealing as well, but in a different way. I don’t feel the need to have an emphasis on lyrics in my music, though. But in answer to your question about what English I was exposed to, I was exposed to movies, TV shows, basic stuff.
Put that in your grammar pipe and smoke it
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