Divine&acajou delivers a second song, “You got me here,” which is entirely sung and written in English, nine months after releasing her first single, “Viens,” a hypnotic song that alternates between English and French as well as melody and slam.
Divine & Acajou explores the themes of hope, unwavering faith, and loving desire while switching between chamber and indie pop genres within her potent multiverse. She does this by letting her alluring crystal-clear voice soar. She layers African rhythms on top of a folk guitar, a jazz bass, and her voice.
Divine & Acajou’s voices are searching for us and discovering us; they move us with her celestial choirs as they dance around us, leaving us in complete peace. The song captures the sound of absolute joy. A call for love has already been returned. She comes from a different world and is “divine,” but she is also “acajou,” always grounded. You will keep learning more and more about how complicated she really is with every new song and the EP that will be released in a few months. Check out her latest single “You Got Me Here” and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: I’m French and currently living near Paris. I got into music at an early age. I played violin and got to sing in a choir. Just before the pandemic, I got invited to sing for Etat Limite – a French collective – on their album “L’Amour n’existera plus”. I then took advantage of the pandemic to create some music of my own.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: Both. I was trained during several years in a classical music choir, then I self-trained for years in music in general.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘DIVINE&ACAJOU’?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: My musical influences are numerous! I could not list everything but to pick a few, the oldest ones must be Daniel Balavoine, Michel Berger, Céline Dion, Véronique Sanson (for the French speaking artists) and then The Beatles, Simon&Garfunkel … and many many more! My more recent influences are Sufjan Stevens, Arlo Parks, Ibeyi, La Femme, Lykke Li, Stromae…
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: I think my music is for poetry enthusiasts and dreamers, and for people who enjoy to really feel music vibrating through their whole being, body and soul. I guess one could say my music is empowered. My sound is very eclectic, it is not bound by any rules. It is just free. I love to use my voice as the main instrument of my songs.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as FOLK?
I actually feel I had the originality beforehand, because time has passed and I have listened to so many different songs that I took all that in and had the time to digest everything over the years, to be able to offer my own genre from the beginning. I haven’t been creating for long. I also have been very much inspired by other singers, but I don’t think I have emulated other artists per se. Moreover, I don’t think I fit in any style. My latest song “You got me here” is indeed very folk, but the other ones are very varied, as you will discover in my future EP, due in 2023.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
There’s definitely spirituality in my music, though it hasn’t been conscious on my part. As for the rest, although I’m obviously very interested in music and in artistic expression in themselves, I have strong values and would like to make them heard if given the chance. Those values are for examples my commitment for the environment and for animal rights on one hand, but also my caring for women rights on the other hand. I do care a lot about people branded as minorities and about LGBTQIA+ rights. I’m still educating myself and trying to be more mindful and inclusive of people that are not considered to be the “norm” (whatever that means!). Also, I think education, including sex education is very important, for both adults and children (sharing suitable information, taking into consideration factors such as age, sensibility and maturity)! Subjects such as consent are very important to me in every part of life, not just within intimate relationships.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
I’m just getting started so it’s hard to answer. What I can say is that creating music is very rewarding in itself. The rest is almost dispensable, although I must admit that people writing to me saying they were very touched by my songs and my project is very touching!
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
I love to have propositions to get started on a new track. A sound or a beat is enough. I usually sit to create with a given intention in my mind or heart, so I just follow that intention and improvise the rest. I add up sounds and beats, and then I improvise melodies and lyrics. I let it rest for a few hours or days, then get back to it and continue the process. I do have an arranger who intervenes after the initial creation. He makes everything sound better and can also offer some great ideas! So far I’ve worked with Arnaud Hergès in “Viens”, but it’s Hedi Bensalem who has been helping me with “You got me here”.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: Self-doubt has been the most difficult thing I have been facing. I try to really stay true to my music and not let anyone influence it, because you can’t please everyone. So my top priority is to stay focused on what I want my music to sound like and how I want it to make me feel. Another difficult thing has been the fact that I’m self-produced, so I’ve had to take on multiple jobs at the time, which is near to impossible! I also work on the side, so it’s a lot to handle !
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
DIVINE&ACAJOU: Releasing two songs I’m proud of, all by myself, with the sole help of an arranger, is a success in itself. I’m really glad and eager to see what’s to come!
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Photo credits: Camille Decugis