Ariane Moffatt, a francophone singer-songwriter whose music garners praise from critics and devotion from an ever-increasing fan base, will perform her latest album at the National Arts Centre in April.
Moffatt discusses 22h22, her twin boys and being out but private in this edited interview.
Daily Xtra: 22h22’s songs are in French, but you’ve previously written songs in English as well. What are the differences for you creating in English versus French?
Ariane Moffatt: There are many differences. First of all, vocally I realized afterwards that all of my English songs were different. I sang in a different range of voice, more low. It’s not my mother language and it was easier for me to write little short stories or scenarios that weren’t too close to what I really was living. Even though it was still my emotions, it was easier to put them in other environments in English because French is closer, so it’s harder for me to invent stories.
What is the significance of 22 minutes after 10 pm?
You mean the record title? I’m not into numbers particularly, but it was symbolic of this moment after the birth of my twin boys when I had space at that time of the night for creation to be back in my life. In the same week I ran into this hour three times, 22h22, when the babies were sleeping and I was in my studio in my little office waiting for this album to show up, you know? After being overwhelmed with baby care, I saw in this minute the opportunity of diving into it and seeing what was on the other side, which was this record.
You spoke to Daily Xtra in 2012 about being comfortable being out, but wanting to be seen for your art first and foremost. Now that you’re a mother, are you still a private person or do you find yourself wanting to talk about your twin boys in interviews?
I talk about them more than I thought I would because the content of the record is so closely attached to this new thing of being a mother and this transition between Ariane before and motherhood. I speak about my family, but for me it’s not necessarily a gay issue, it’s a way of talking about what was inspiring for me through this process. I didn’t think I needed to talk so much about being gay, which should be normal, so I think I’m ready to position and normalize this situation more and for that I’m not shy at all. I think people know more about my private life because as I was going to be a mother I thought it was really important to be out totally.
Except for the song “Miami”, why is 22h22 a guitar-free zone?
It was coherent for the esthetic I wanted for the record, something almost New Age and really synth-oriented and a lot of reverb. For me, the guitar didn’t fit in this esthetic.
Your singing has such a natural and joyful quality that you make it look easy. Are you as comfortable as you appear or do you get stage fright before concerts?
Stage fright, I don’t think so, but I’m really concerned to make it happen, to make sure that everything [is right]. I don’t take it as maybe as light as my voice can make you feel (laughs). I’m a perfectionist and now we’re at the beginning of the tour. We’ve rehearsed, but I’m stressed and sometimes I have to say OK, we’ll go have a glass of wine and everything’s going to be fine.
You recently tweeted about Rihanna’s new single. If you could sing a duet with her, what song would you like to perform?
(laughs) I think her new single [“Bitch Better Have My Money”] has this badass attitude and this energy that I would totally want to sing.