With her incredible voice and introspective lyricism, Quebec folk singer-songwriter Geneviéve Racette is sure to have audiences “over the moon” for her brand new LP, Satellite.
With her debut EP premiering in 2014, Racette’s music career took off like a rocket and hasn’t slowed down since. Since then, she has won several prestigious awards for her songwriting and musicianship, including Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Award (2020). Racette is known for her “compelling, vulnerable lyricism” and her versatile ability to write and perform songs in both English and French.
In the following interview, Racette gets personal as she talks about what Satellite means to her as an artist, working with one of her favorite artists Dallas Green, and what success means to her as a songwriter. She also discusses her journey with self-love and the cycles of relationship that take place in her upcoming album, and hopes her growth will resonate with her listeners.
Racette’s LP is available on all streaming platforms as of March 18th.
So who or what inspired you to pursue a life of music?
I grew up in a very creative and musical environment. My mother is a classically trained pianist and my father is a music lover. Both my siblings play music as well. Art has always been present in my life, and I always knew I was going to pursue a life of music. I also have to mention my high school music teacher Serge Nolet. He gave me my first shot at performing on stage and he truly believed in me. I will never forget that. We still phone each other at least once a year.
How did growing up in Quebec affect your music and songwriting?
The fact that I write in French and in English is directly linked to where I live. I grew up in a bilingual family. My mother is what we call “franglaise” which is a mix of francophone and anglophone. My education was done in French but I’ve been speaking and writing in English my whole life. Québec’s culture is completely different then the rest of Canada. Québec is the only province whose sole official language is French. We have our own culture. It’s hard to understand until you live it, but it’s very particular.
How does performing songs in both French and English impact your songwriting?
I don’t have much control over my songwriting. It just sort of happens. And when it does, I don’t really know if the song is going to be in French or in English until I start mumbling random words over a melody! I will forever write in French, but I’ve been writing mostly in English since 2019.
What made you decide to pick “Satellite” as the title track for your upcoming album?
That’s a great question. I actually had the idea of calling the album “Satellite” before even writing that song. The record is about falling in and out of love. It’s about that cycle we go through when that happens. I had an image in my mind of something looping forever and ever. Endless circles. I am forever orbiting around love. Whether I feel it or not, it’s always there, it’ll always come back. That’s where the idea of the satellite came from.
What might be the song or few songs from Satellite that you are most excited to perform live?
I just spent a couple days rehearsing with my musicians, and I love playing “Satellite.” It’s the last song of the set and it feels so good to finally sing these songs with real humans in real life!
What was it like to work alongside one of your favorite artists Dallas Green? How did you both get connected?
Having Dallas Green singing on my record is a dream come true. I am so honored. I know he is human like you and me, but I’ve looked up to him for so long. I actually recorded a quick cover of his song, “Hello I’m in Delaware,” on my Instagram page back in 2019. He shared the cover on his Instagram and wrote to me in private to let me know he had listened to my record, No Water, No Flowers, and he called it “beautiful.”
That summer, Dallas invited me to perform with him at Osheaga. We sang “Hello I’m In Delaware” in front of 30,000 people. It was… bananas. I was so nervous I don’t remember anything from the performance. Since then, we stayed in touch and when I sent him my demos for my record, and he said he loved my song “Someone,” and he was interested to sing on the recording. I said: yes duh. And here we are today!
What is the story or message you’d like to tell your fans with the upcoming album?
Don’t give up on love!
What does this album mean to you personally?
This record represents my independence. This is the first album I’ve co-produced. I was creatively involved in everything from A to Z: the guitar tones, the drum beats, the chord voicings, the melodies, the lyrics, the videos, the photos, the mix, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I really had a clear vision of what I wanted everything to look and sound like. Of course I had help from my friends to realize the final product, but I really feel this album truly sounds and looks like what I was imagining in my head. It’s a good feeling, let me tell ya.
What does success mean to you as a songwriter and artist?
That’s a good question. I feel like my definition of success has evolved. I set goals for each album I release. But releasing a record itself is success. It is so much work.
What might fans anticipate from you post-album release?
That’s a good question. Right now I am focusing on getting back into shape for shows. Hopefully if everything goes well with the pandemic and all we can come out and play for you all!
Photos by Éva Maude