After releasing his first album Dunes In 2019, the French electro-pop composer and singer Magali Cotta alias Canine returns this Friday, May 13, with a second disc, Source, more luminous, mystical and introspective. On this occasion, we met this fascinating artist who finds her inspiration several tens of meters under water as much as in the fighting strength of wild animals.
A broken toe, a calm voice and turquoise blue eyes like the Mediterranean Sea… Therefore Magali Cotta appears to us during our meeting, during which a crutch stands by her side. The one who started piano and theater at a very young age strongly defends Canine, her musical project founded in 2016. The 40-year-old Niçoise is releasing a bewitching second album this Friday, May 13, for which nature, animals but also her weaknesses l inspired. We find the androgynous, powerful and lyrical voice of Canine, which evokes those of Christine and the Queens and Florence and the Machine. While the first album released by the artist, Dunes (2019), was powerful, dark and convoluted, Source turns out to be more solar, intimate and introspective. “Source is an orchestral pop album shot with an electronic twist. It’s a live album. There are fewer turns than in Dune. It is also more refined and without artifice.” In the title STRENGTHCanine wanted to address the subject of accepting his weaknesses. “You can have the feeling that the real strength is not crying, not collapsing and being almost in hyposensitivity (reduced sensitivity). But in the end, the real strength comes when we accept that we are affected and that we are in bad shape. And it’s thanks to that that we can face anything.”
In this project, Magali Cotta, who took lessons in a jazz school as a teenager, has all the hats. She is the one who writes, composes, does the choirs and takes the directives for the lives and the clips. Appreciating solitude, Canine needs to manage the first phase of composition alone, then, like a lone wolf who needs to find his pack, the artist surrounds himself with his producer, his musicians, instrumentalists, choristers and his technical teams in order to perfect his songs oscillating between pop and electro. Unlike most teams, hers is made up mostly of women. A way to honor girl power. “I was fed up that women were put forward for the graceful side, the softness, the femininity, the elegance and the fragility. And that it was the men who held the house in key positions, on the drums, the bass or double bass. So it seemed essential to me to work only with women. My musicians, my choristers and my instrumentalists are women” confides Canine.
It’s his love for nature, yoga, animals and especially the sea who helped her to compose this new opus. She wrote this record as if it were a diary. “What’s amazing is that the brightest songs on the album were written at a time when I was the worst, when I was going through a big breakup. The worse I was the more I tried to go in a positive bubble by surrounding myself with forests and animals. For example, when I wrote Sunone of the happiest tracks on the album, I was at rock bottom.” Magali Cotta composed far from her native Mediterranean Sea, in Normandy, where she spent confinement and yet she wrote the most songs about her.
Water is the element that best represents it. And the whale, his totem animal. The magnificence, grandeur, splendor but also the gentleness of this animal flying over deep waters perfectly represent what Magali Cotta tries to convey in her musical project. The artist has also been diving for a few years. “Earlier this year, I dived in the Red Sea. For me, diving is a lot like playing live music. There’s a preparation, an excitement, and when you’re in it, there is really a real physical intensity. This is also where I seek calm and serenity. I feel like I’m flying. It’s both silent and intense. Like during a concert, you knows that we are experiencing something exceptional so we try to be as much in the present moment as possible to be able to enjoy. And I know a lot of sound engineers who go diving too.
In this innovative project, everything coincides, the idea of being named Canine comes directly from wild animals and their fighting strength. “I love the contrast of this word, which is sweet to hear as it names something sharp.” It is in this pattern of thought that in his clips and in his visuals the artist constantly highlights the triangular shape representing a canine in order to claim it like a crest. To continue in the distinctive signs representing her project that she animates with her collaborators, Magali Cotta has decided to put dance in the spotlight in her videos and during her shows. The choreographies are thought out in such a way that we believe that they have not been prepared beforehand. And it’s half the case, because Canine and her dancers are constantly looking for movements that translate, in a spontaneous way, the music they hear at the time. This creates a new harmony and helps the group refocus. There are also always two or more voices communicating with each other. “There is, in my songs, a central voice and a chorus. I try to form a real inner dialogue like a kind of musical questions and answers.” What let imagine a round, planned for the end of the year 2002, epic and moving.
Source (2022) by Canine, available on all platforms.