When it comes to the question of the music scene in Paris, France, Nelson Vard and Felix Ramaen are the go to guys in Paris for anything music.
Young, talented and knowledgeable about all things music there is nothing about the scene they cannot tell you.
I first met Vard in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris last September at Jim Morrison’s grave site where we had both gone to pay homage to the famous Doors’ frontman. At the time, Vard was looking at his 18th birthday in a few days and was celebrating it by coming to Paris to try out for France’s version of “America’s Got Talent”… “Nouvelle Star” which is a Freemantle Media production.
Vard won a spot on the show and made it to the finals. Vard’s first performance blew everyone away as he sang Morrison’s “Light My Fire” in an electrifying performance. Vard confided that he had a heart shaped rock that he had picked up by Morrison’s burial site in his pocket at the time and believes that he was channeling Morrison during his performance of “Light My Fire.” Although Vard did not win, it was quite a feat to have made it all the way to the finals given France’s proclivity toward pushing “electronic” music instead of “nostalgic” rock n’ roll as Vard put it.
In many ways Vard is correct about the current music scene being mostly “electronic” driven as that was what was the most predominate music being spun on the radio and on piped- in music in Parisian shops. It was quite surprising to hear The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” remastered into an “electronic” version which had a twist of rap music sampled in for good measure. Ah, but I was in Paris and it was raining.
According to Vard the only places to hear live rock n’ roll in Paris on a regular basis is to go cafe’s with live performances of “nostalgic” music or performers on the street. Vard and Ramaen did just that by the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre where they regaled their audience with The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and other assorted tunes. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak was a huge surprise and it was done well.
During my travels throughout Paris, I found Vard’s opinion of the current music scene to be quite accurate.
Vard is grateful for his time on “Nouvelle Star” as it gave him valuable information on performing, such as voice coaching which helped to put his vocal range into perspective. As for myself, I feel that Vard is a 21st Century Donovan and that any group that he and Ramaen join will be a plus. Both have just finished a run with a band called “SUSAN.” Vard and Ramaen have been friends for a few years and Vard had recommended Ramaen to the band “SUSAN.” Ramaen plays the bass guitar most of the time. FYI, Ramaen’s guitar teacher told him at age 11 that there was nothing more that he could teach him. Ramean adds that he has an “ear” for music like Vard and that he only had the teacher for 2 months…Ramaen is just 16-years-old.
Even tho Vard did not win “Nouvelle Star” and feels that it was because he chose rock n’ roll over “electronic” music, he does believe the info he gleaned from the experience was like cramming two years of coaching into a few months and worth every moment.
In more music news:
Hollywood City Council member Mitch O’ Farrell declared that October 9, 2015 was John Lennon Peace Day which was approved by the entire Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The proclamation was presented to Jerry Ruben by O’Farrell at a birthday celebration @Capital Records for Lennon hosted by Breakfast With The Beatles host, Chris Carter. Lennon would have been 75-years-old. Without Ruben it appears the event would not have become the large event that it is.
November gigs to keep in mind are: Hey Rosetta @TheTroubador November 1st; John Lennon tribute act Just Imagine @The El Portal Theater on November 7&8; LOVE revisited featuring LOVE co-founder Johnny Echols @The Whiskey A GoGo on November 17.
Two books regarding GENESIS are slated for release: Phil Collins has an autobiography coming out in October 2016 and a re-release on iBook of Armando Gallo’s 1978 release “Genesis: The Evolution Of A Rock Band” is anticipated soon.
Also, who knew that songstress and actress Juliette Lewis is in “Jem And The Holograms”! This movie is due out on October 23.