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Some things about the French entry that you probably didn't know!

12 April 2011 at 17:41 CEST

The following are extracts of the Press Conference organized by France Télévisions on April 8th in "Le Réservoir", Paris with

- Amaury Vassili, representing France in Düsseldorf
- Pierre Sled, working for France3 Entertainement Department
- Marie Claire Mézerette, Manager of the Entertainment Department
- Daniel Moyne, Composer of  Sognu together with Quentin Bachelet
- Bruno Berbérès, Head of Delegation in Düsseldorf
- Catherine Lara, commentator
- Laurent Boyer, commentator

Here's what they had to say!

Pierre Sled, France 3 Entertainment Department

"The last time France won the Eurovision Song Contest was  in 1977... 34 years ago! Such a long time ago!  Far too long! In the past years, we sent artists representing different musical styles.  Even if we did not manage to win, we were always proud of them representing the French touch with strong performances on stage. Now, as I said, 34 years is a long  time and that was one more motivation to chose Amaury Vassili, who's not an unknown artist as I could read here and there. Amaury has already released a successful album and sold thousands of CD albums. He has the advantage of being young with a fabulous voice. To sum up, I would say that our decision to pick up Amaury for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest was driven by our wish to continue submitting something different to the Contest and demonstrate once again our major interest in this international event. To be really clear enough, please keep in mind that nothing - I mean the artist, the song, the music, the lyrics, etc -  was decided or organized, trusting to luck. "

Marie Claire Mézerette, Manager of the Entertainement Department

 "We're extremely happy to have Amaury representing France Télévisions at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. Amaury is a talented artist, one of the youngest tenor in the world,  with a lot of charisma. I will never forget the very first time I saw him.  

France Télévision and the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

"France Télévisions has taken several initiatives this year. First, we broadcast two short programs several times a day to promote Amaury and Sognu. Second, we'll broadcast in prime time a show which will  be 100% dedicated to the Eurovision Song Contest. This show will be presented by Laurent Boyer and Catherine Lara. Several young new artists will join the show and sing Eurovision Song Contest hits. We'll also dive into the history of the Contest with lots of archive videos, etc. Finally, we have brought up this year a Eurovision Song Contest team with camera men and bloggers (Facebook , Twitter). This team will follow Amaury as soon as he arrives in Düsseldorf, will report about Amaury's preparation in Germany and will prepare a movie about Amaury's Eurovision Song Contest week. We'll broadcast this movie on May 14th, just before the Final starts."

Amaury on stage in Düsseldorf

"Amaury will be alone on stage, wearing a modern suit with a white shirt. Up to 6 persons are allowed on stage but we definitely want all the cameras to focus to him while the background LEDs and elements will create a special atmosphere with different clouds, skies, flowers and a few words explaining what the lyrics are about."

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Bruno Berbérès, Head of Delegation:

"This year, a budget of 28 millions EUR was allocated for the event. The Eurovision Song Contest was also awarded in the United States as the most watched entertainment program in the world.  . Such a success throughout the past 55 years and in the future is connected to a concept permanently adaptated, renewed and improved year after year."

Amaury Vassili

"I am extremely motivated. I have participated to many competitions and I really like that. The  Eurovision Song Contest is my next challenge and I want to make it a success. To do so, I am working very hard to be fully prepared for the final, meaning a vocal preparation obviously but also a physical preparation. I want to fell really well in my body on May, the 14th."

Daniel Moyne, Composer 

How was Sognu chosen?

"We initially chose Maria, first single of Amaury's album, for the Eurovision Song Contest but it turned out Amaury sang Maria when touring last summer. We could not participate with this song to comply with the EBU rules. That was somehow a weird situation as we had the singer but had to look for a new song. The coincidence was that I had recently started working  on a new composition so Quentin Bachelet and myself decided to start from there and finish the composition work. Amaury joined us later on to record a first version that was submitted to Pierre Sled and his team... And they immediately loved it."

Did you already know the lyricist ?

"Sure, we already worked with Jean-Pierre Marcelles for Endless Love interpreted by a duet, with Amaury and Katherine Jenkins. Katherine sang in English while Amaury sang in Corsican."

 Amaury's album is a mix of known and new songs, such as Cantero, composed by Jean Félix Lalanne with lyrics written by David Esposito. Amaury is a young artist and he wants to express himself with special compositions and songs adapted for Opera singing, just like he did with songs from Queen, U2, even Johnny Halliday."

What about the English version? Do you target an international market with it?

"In fact, Amaury has been touring a lot in the United Kingdom in big concert halls with Katherine Jenkins so it really made sense to have an English version of Sognu, in addition to the Corsican version. Don't forget his last concert was in London in front of 10000 people!"

Thanks to Dominique Dufaut and Alain Douit for the summary of the press conference.