Montreal, Quebec’s Cœur de Pirate (singer-songwriter Béatrice Martin) makes her debut Seattle appearance this Monday, September 21st at Neumos. Martin, who garnered affection from music fans with her 2008 debut, Coeur de pirate, began studying piano at age three, and has played in bands since she was a teenager. She’ll turn just twenty six on Tuesday (Happy Birthday!!), and is celebrating the release of Roses, her fourth Cœur de Pirate album. As you can gather by the French name of Martin’s project, and the fact that she’s from Montreal, Cœur de Pirate’s albums have all been in French, with one exception, Roses, whose tracks includes seven English language songs out of the eleven tracks. Martin’s voice is gorgeous in either language. Roses, which changes her sound a bit, while maintaining what makes her unique, should deservedly introduce her to a wider audience. So, what’s a little part of Martin’s world like?
You’ve had some cool videos. What’s been your favorite?
Béatrice Martin: I think the last one that just went up on NOWNESS, a French song off the album, “Crier tout bas.” It was a very hard video to shoot, because I was dancing for twelve hours straight, but it’s the one I’m most proud of. The house was in the desert in Palm Springs. It really worked.
Did you study dance?
Béatrice Martin: No, I’ve never danced before the first video for “Carry On.”
When did you learn you could sing?
Béatrice Martin: Roughly when I was seventeen. It happened by accident. I started writing lyrics and music when I went through a really bad breakup, and I needed someone to sing them. There was nobody available, except for me, so I just went for it.
You’ve got a beautiful voice.
Béatrice Martin: Thank you. If you ever stumble across the first demo, which I hope you don’t. . . I didn’t know how to sing. It really came from practice and touring.
Cœur de Pirate (Béatrice Martin) – photo by Étienne Saint-Denis
The new album brings in a new, synth sound to your music. Where did that come from?
Béatrice Martin: I think it came from several producers; that’s their style, and that’s what they wanted to do. I gave them pretty much carte blanche when it came to arrangements and production. They wanted to go in a more pop direction, and it goes along with what’s going on in music now.
[Martin has a three-year-old daughter whom she named Romy after the actress Romy Schneider] Is your daughter similar to you?
Béatrice Martin: My parents always told me (that) when I was younger I would always put on a show in my head whenever music would come on. She is exactly like that. If she hears a song that moves her, then she kind of drifts. It’s great she has that kind of imagination, and she gets into her bubble.
Where did you get that awesome Alice in Wonderland tattoo?
Béatrice Martin: I got it in Montreal. It’s one of my first tattoos. When I was younger I would dress up as the bunny that was always late.
You designed a line of jewelry with uranium. Do you draw and sketch often?
Béatrice Martin: I still draw from time to time. I tattoo as well, rarely. I used to draw way more. If a company or a brand asks me to do it, I’ll probably do it. One of my friends needed something for a coloring book she was putting out. When it doesn’t involve something specific, I’ll do it for sure.
I saw you met Sting. How did that happen?
Béatrice Martin: We’re on the same label. I was with the head of the label in France, having breakfast, and he was like, “Sting is in this hotel too.” And then we saw him coming downstairs.
In other interviews with you I’ve read, you’ve mentioned being a TV fan. Anything new?
Béatrice Martin: I’ve started to watch Silicon Valley. It’s pretty funny. I was also a fan of Parks and Recreation and The Office. Anything with Amy Poehler in it.
How did you get Allan Kingdom on the track “I Don’t Want to Break Your Heart?”
Béatrice Martin: I saw his “All Day” performance with Kanye at the BRIT Awards, and I thought he was great, so I listened to all his stuff. I hit him up on Twitter, “Wanna rap on my song?” He was like, “Sure.” A funny internet story.
The art work on Roses is beautiful. Who created that?
Béatrice Martin: An artist called Hsiao-Ron Cheng. She’s awesome. I found her on the Internet as well. I asked her to do the album cover and all the art inside, and she was super happy. She’s based in Taiwan.
Is it more difficult to tour as a solo artist as opposed to with your band?
Béatrice Martin: For this particular tour, I’m coming back with my band. The last tour I did on the West Coast I was alone. I really can’t wait to come back. Alone is a little scarier. With a band you get to hang out with people on stage.
Have you noticed a difference between what you write about or want to express in French or English?
Béatrice Martin: The tone is different. When I’m writing in French, it’s a little more nostalgic. I don’t know why that is. In English, it’s more direct, more about moving forward. I think it’s probably more because it’s newer to me.
I saw your duet of “I Want it That Way” with the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter. That was great.
Béatrice Martin: It was pretty funny. I’m pretty sure he thought I was some girl who’d won a contest. Right after, he was like, “You sing really well.” He was nice.