A Conversation With Michel Rivard
Thirty Years of Music and Melodies
 More of this Feature
• Michel Rivard: Part One
• Michel Rivard: Part Two
• Michel Rivard: Part Three
• Michel Rivard: Part Four
• Michel Rivard: Part Five
  Related Resources
• Quebec
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Michel Rivard (Disques Audiogram; with lyrics, bio, and sound clips)
• Biographie Michel Rivard (MusiMax)
• Michel Rivard (ADISQ)

Paula: What inspires your songwriting?

Michel Rivard Michel: [long pause] It all starts somewhere in my life, in my everyday life. Very few times I've sat down and said to myself, "I will write a song on that particular subject." I think I did that twice in 30 years. Most of the songs just pop up when they have to and usually they are something that touches me in my entourage or something that I read in the paper, something that I see, or maybe a film will inspire me to write a song about something related to that. It's very had for me to explain or to understand even where songs come from. I'm still wondering where they come from and how to write them. I'm still a student, so it's always the same excitement and always the same anguish when it comes to write songs because after 30 years I still don't really know how I do it. Sometimes I really have the feeling that it won't come again, but it always comes back. I like it stay mysterious. I don't want to know everything about the process and the mechanics of writing songs.

Francis Covan Paula: When you look back over the 30 years of your career, how do you feel you have changed as an artist and a performer between then and now?

Michel: I think - I hope - that I am more focussed than I was 30 years ago. I think as the years went by I realized that the part that I like the most in show business is the show part and not the business part. As the years go by, I seem to go back to the essence of what I wanted from that craft. I seem to go back to the simplicity of just writing songs and singing them in a very simple way, with great musicians in an intimate setting. A few years ago I was, like many people, when you start to grow up in that business you wish to have more and more and more people in the audience and more guitars around you and more sound, and big trucks to go on tour, and the tour bus, and we all go through that. And after that you look at that and say, "I'm not a rock star, I don't want to be a star. I want to be a songwriter, and I want to sing my songs and have an ice everyday life with my family and friends and have the opportunity to sing when I want to and to write songs when I have to, and play guitar when I want to and when I have to. So, sometimes I think I've changed, but I'm going back to what I was before. [laughing]

Mario Légaré Paula: Coming full circle.

Michel: Yeah, coming full circle, and just having fun. This tour I'm doing, I'm playing with two of my best friends, and we don't have a fixed set list. We just go along each night, and like 15 minutes before the show I write down the set list. We have like 50 songs we could do tonight but we will only do a few. But it's really a sense of freedom and I'm going back to that sense of freedom I had before Beau Dommage and before everything.

Next page > Michel Rivard: Part Five >

Photos © 2002 Paula E. Kirman