At the dawn of his 50-year career, French singer Yves Duteil wanted to write his autobiography. He recounts the importance of freedom, his love for his profession, the encounters made over time that have made him grow and above all his unfailing love for his wife, Noëlle.
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"I wanted to send a declaration of love to my wife, Noëlle", immediately confides the singer-songwriter, Yves Duteil. “She is at the heart of all my songs. »
Noëlle Léonore Mallard is the one he married in 1975 and with whom he had a daughter, Martine. From the first pages of his book, written in a long breath, like a long poem, we understand all the love he has for her.
Even the suffering did not get the better of these two soul mates. Moreover, the trigger was the great ordeal that his wife went through: a cancer diagnosed in 1999. If she got out of it, he would write a book to show her his love. Why should we wait for people to die to honor them?
Then in 2013, after a fall and a stay in the hospital, the singer learned that he had a heart defect and that he had to undergo open-heart surgery; he had to stop everything. Certainly, there will always be people who will be able to demonstrate resilience and benefit from hardship. “It united us and made us grow,” admits Yves Duteil.
For the singer, deprived of presenting shows, the pandemic was an opportunity to write this book and to revisit certain songs in addition to composing new ones. Carried by balance, even if music is omnipresent in his universe, he also favors silence.
"It's the cradle of inspiration," says the 72-year-old singer. I am very intuitive in writing. »
The importance of choices
Yves Duteil talks about the importance of making choices in his book, this is true freedom.
"I chose the best job in the world," says the man who received his first guitar at the age of 15.
In addition to professional choices, there are also the choices we make on a daily basis.
"I chose gentleness, not cruelty, not cynicism, but gentleness which is a crucial choice for me, even if I am rebellious and resistant", considers the singer who specifies that you have to be very resistant even when we choose sweetness. The choice of softness is everywhere, even to say things.
He also chose to cultivate respect and humility, even though 30 schools in France bear his name and in 1988 he received the distinction of the most beautiful song of the 20th century for Taking a child by the hand. .
He also chose to go into politics to become mayor in order to defend projects that were close to his heart, even if this represented challenges for the man with an artistic soul, far from the Cartesian profile with which the most politicians. He has also put his energies into helping the freedom of the Tibetan people and he sponsors many causes such as Little Princes who make the dreams of sick children come true. It's a bit like all of these paths to freedom.
Yves Duteil carries Quebec in his heart, like a beautiful love story, and he talks about it in his book. There are his Quebec fans, his Quebec public which he considers to be an extremely sensitive public on edge, and there are also Quebec singers who made him vibrate, those who, as he puts it so well, allowed to grow. These include Gilles Vigneault, whom he considers to be a master of the pen like Félix Leclerc, whom he met at his home on Île d'Orléans. He has precious memories of the times when he sang with them, accompanied by Jean-Pierre Ferland and Claude Léveillée.
It was before going to print, while rereading his manuscript, that he realized that practically every page of his book made a song emerge in him. “The songs complement the book,” says the singer. Thus, he decided to launch four CDs in the name of his book.
Yves Duteil is not about to stop, he is still just as passionate about what he does. He likes to create emotion with his songs, a work he has developed over a lifetime to bring out beauty.
“As long as there is life, there will be subjects for songs,” he concludes.