If music is the breeze of youth, that’s not the purpose we’ll assign it here. At 21, Lou-Adriane Cassidy offers timeless sounds and states of mind. On C’est la fin du monde à tous les jours, she sings about the daily nature of death, the small things that slip through our fingers, memories that never fade, and what’s left when our heart’s been emptied.
“It’s my first album, so I don’t feel there were any expectations about it,” says the artist, who landed on many a critic’s list of artists to watch in 2019. “I didn’t think it would flop, but I’m surprised and grateful for the way it’s been received. But I do wonder, on what do these people base their judgement,” she adds, laughing.
The album opens with “La Fin du monde,” a song that ties all the others together, “It’s only when the album was done that I realized that was the meaning,” says Cassidy. “I was afraid to complain too much on my album. But the end of the world every day is the perspective I wanted to impart through those complaints. I’m putting things into perspective.”
Known for taking part in many a song contest, Cassidy is adamant that this step had to be transcended. “The world I navigate nowadays is directly, or indirectly, because I participated in all those contests, and I feel very lucky,” she says. “But I was fed up of feeling like I was passing a test every time I got up onstage.” In her mind, the way she did things isn’t the only way to succeed. “I naturally fit in the contest format because I’m a songwriter, but that’s not the case for everyone, and that’s why I think it’s not essential.”
On her first album, Cassidy, to quote her 9translated) song lyrics, was “waiting for the burn to subside,” admitted that she “embraces excessively,” “spits on being 20,” and “devours with her eyes a body that’s already cold.” She draws the portrait of a carnal aura, of a love outside the bounds of her obviously young age.
The stories she writes are hers, but created with the help of Tire le coyote or Stéphanie Boulay, to name just two. As an alumnus of the televised talent contest La Voix (the Québec franchise of The Voice), Cassidy was strongly and negatively criticized as a singer, after the fact. During last spring’s edition of Francouvertes, she was criticized for not singing only her songs, and her first single, “Ça va, ça va,” was written by Philémon Cimon.
“It’s a question of one’s era,” says Cassidy. “My mom was a singer her whole life, so it’s something about which I have a privileged point of view. It’s truly typical of our era to be snobbish about people who sing other people’s songs. There are people who write damn good songs, but who can’t transmit them. Collaborations are beautiful! I love bringing my own interpretation to something that was created by someone else.”
She was told that one day, she should be able to make an album on her own. “But that’s not what I want,” she says. “Singer-songwriters are put on a pedestal, but collaborations are much more satisfying to me.”
Becoming One With Music
Having barely turned 20, being an emerging musician in 2019 is a peculiar thing. Given the changes that the industry is undergoing, one wonders what awaits artists who are just starting their careers. “There’s no way of knowing where music is going, because we’re in the middle of a storm,” says Cassidy. “My whole life has changed completely, every six months for the last three years. And when I look back at where I was six months ago, I can’t even understand how I got to where I am.”
In her mind, the key is knowing how to diversify, a strategy that aligned with her approach to music: one can wear many different hats. “I want to keep playing with Hubert Lenoir [who she accompanies onstage as a musician and backup singer], write music for stage plays, produce albums,” she says. “My goal in life is not to make albums as a singer-songwriter. There are other possibilities.”
Thus, Cassidy creates a universe where she’s the master, but where it’s also allows others to gravitate to her. The door’s open, everyone’s invited. And even though this album was created by many hands, Cassidy remains categorical: she’s in command and in charge of the emotions that it carries. “‘Amours immatures’ [written and composed with Rebecca Leclerc and Simon Pedneault] is a good example,” she says. “I think it’s a fun subject. It’s not a perspective you often see. I’m proud of being the standard-bearer for saying it’s possible to love someone by ignoring their age.”
Onstage, the songs will be strung together to take the audience from the very small to the very large. The gentleness of songs played solo on guitar will be followed by rock flourishes alongside Pierre-Emmanuel Beaudoin, Simon Pedneault, Alexandre Martel and Vincent Gagnon. “There will also be a few covers, and it’ll all be understated, without being overly dark,” she explains.
Cassidy appreciates the fact that her collaboration on Hubert’s project helped her shed some of her goody-two-shoes image, and she reminds us that she’s fully capable of holding her own, front and centre. “You know, it’s possible to jump around on stage for two hours, and have a deep metaphysical discussion right after,” she says. “We’re all complex beings. No one is only just one thing, and I’ll never be just my solo project.”