Popstar Sliimy Discovered by Hollywood Celebrity Blogger Perez Hilton
French popstar Sliimy first came to the world’s attention when an internet video of his cover of Britney Spear’s ‘Womanizer’ was discovered on MySpace by cult Hollywood celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. The video went viral, causing a tidal wave of interest in the so far unknown boy from Saint Etienne, France – and before long, everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Perry was tweeting about this tall, handsome and quirkily chic French pop star who has more than a passing resemblance to a young Prince. In fact so fast was his rise to fame that Sliimy himself could barely take it all in.
But that was just the start, and now boasting a critically acclaimed album, Paint Your Face, (which went to #2 in the French charts), opening slots for stars such as Kate Perry and Britney, rave reviews from the infamous MTV America and the UK’s NME and it’s no surprise that Sliimy’s path to success was pretty much a done deal.
Creative Mapping caught up with the stylish French popstar recently and talked about his unique musical road to success.
"When I write a song now it’s about being aware that’s it’s going to define me. It’s my life so now I’m taking care about that and need to concentrate a little bit more. It’s because I’m getting older now – it’s nice." Sliimy
CM: Did you have any formal training in music?
When I was 9 I went to the big music school in my hometown and they turned me down.. I wanted to take piano lessons and they told me I was too old. I was so sad because I went there by myself, didn’t tell my mother or father or anybody and was so shocked (to hear that). That’s when I started to concentrate on my voice – it’s also an ‘instrument’ you have and it doesn’t matter how much money you have – if you can’t buy a piano because you’re parents aren’t rich, you still have your voice.
CM: Sliimy, how would you describe your vocal style or singing voice?
I think you can’t define a voice type, for me it’s really hard, but voices can be really different and that’s what I like about music and what I like about my voice – it can be different things; I can sing really deep and I can sing really high, too. You have to learn how to ‘play’ with it (your voice) which is really hard, but it’s interesting because the voice is so ‘big’.
CM: What was your first real break in your career?
I started to write my own music and lyrics when I was 14, and I’m really lucky to be part of this generation because I started up a blog and had Myspace which I discovered the same time as writing songs. I started to share songs with everybody and lots of people started contacting me, enjoying (the music). It was weird because I was in my hometown in my room and the world was watching me (laughs). I went to Paris and started to play some concerts there and .... signed a contract with a (record) label. The second big (release) was Womaniser – a cover I did. It was on the internet, people wrote articles about it, the blogger Perez Hilton (one of the most popular and followed bloggers around) wrote something about it – it was just so huge.
(Sliimy sings an excerpt of his cover song ‘Womaniser’ for us)
CM: Does feedback from social media sites help or hinder a creative career?
It’s not that I don’t like feedback, but you have to be careful with the internet – everybody is behind the computer, you can’t see the person. I have really good people around me, my musicians for example, and it’s more about those people, because you can really get depressed when you’re making music, it’s the same with all the arts. You’re doing it for you and you have to express your personality and have the right people around – you don’t have to trust everybody (for feedback). First of all, music was about my own life. I was so shy when I was young I started singing instead of talking (laughs). Just express yourself and it’s going to help you maybe.
CM: Tell us about your hometown.
I’m from St. Etienne and it’s so different to Paris. It’s an old industrial city, quite tough and a bit sad. People there were a little bit harsh with me so I had to learn how to dream a little bit. The city doesn’t inspire, so you have to really use your imagination.
CM: Are you happy and creatively satisfied once a new song is written?
I used to be really happy but what’s interesting now – and it’s not negative – is that I’m asking so many questions about the production. I wasn’t really aware of that before, and I’m asking more questions about the visual side too and about the (song’s) message, so I need more time (than I used to). When I write a song now it’s about being aware that’s it’s going to define me. It’s my life so now I’m taking care about that and need to concentrate a little bit more. It’s because I’m getting older now – it’s nice.
Stéphanie Vaillant and Photographer Annabelle Tiaffay.