The closing track heard on Womankind's full-length album 'Kind Of Love' has us traveling through the decades to reach 1793 outspoken and unbossed Olympe de Gouges. Before she met the guillotine during the French Revolution, she spoke out against slavery, oppression, and discrimination. The book written about her life and conquers is one of the first recognizably feminist texts published anywhere on earth.
Sylvie Burger, the brilliant front person of Womankind, not only strongly identifies with her struggle, but she creates anthemic lyrical motifs that can apply to any woman pushing back against the patriarchy and this not-so-kind misogynistic world. Being the clear inspiration for "Free Woman," Sylvie Burger keeps her observations sharp, her humor biting, her objectives plain, and her backbone strong.
Protruding through our speakers with a graceful ease that simmers in free-flowing jazz grooves that take on the influence of American blues and Latin pop, all members of Womankind work in a unified fashion to bring out the best in one another's talents. The soothing yet powerful quintessence packed into the punch of this record takes us through the importance of feminism in this prime example of storytelling. Sylvie Burger has a voice that cascades upon the piano forward ballad in a riveting manner.
Bringing powerful energy to the world, this is still a fight that needs to be fought, and Womankind is there to make sure it's not taken lightly. Rising to the occasion and placing every brave woman on their pedestal, "Free Woman" has us finding strength in solidarity and camaraderie amid a centuries-long battle for equality.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Womankind! There’s a great appreciation we have for records like “Free Woman” that emphasizes the importance of feminism. You have done an excellent job! What moment or story inspired this creation and its giant ode to Olympe de Gouges?
To be honest, the more important inspiration came directly from my personal life. I grew up in a quite misogynistic environment, and it’s been difficult to simply exist and to feel right as a woman from the beginning. Then I realized that the entire society was somehow on the same pattern, and I never could really understand what could make a man feel superior to a woman, just because he is a man and she is a woman… ? to me, it made no sense at all. Even though we have some physical specificities, we come from the same molder, and the main proof is that men have tits, as women do, because we are all just human beings with a brain, which should be used more often. The proper birth of the song was a rainy day. I was going to the gym after a big fight with my ex-partner. He was always blaming me for doing stuff like sports, seeing my friends, and so on, and that day, I managed to still go. Then I parked the car, went down under the rain, crying and singing at the same time, “you can get no control on me. I’m a free woman” this sentence came to my mind as a deep protest against the situation, it’s been probably a way to convince myself that I was right, that I was free and that’s how it started. Then the rest of the lyrics came quite naturally, asking the questions I always had in mind, why should I obey, why should I do what people want me to do? When I don’t feel like, when I don’t agree… ? to live or not to live? that is the question ☺
From there, I visited a dear musician friend in Montauban right after recording the album and the song, and when my friend and his wife heard the song, they said to me that we should film the video in their City as a tribute to Olympe de Gouges, and from there I went and read a lot of writings from this amazing woman, and I realized she had been a reel free woman, brave enough to challenge the male and political authority 200 years ago, I was and am in total admiration to this woman, and I had the feeling that she would have completely endorsed the lyrics of my song and this is how we decided to do it that way.
Could you please share a glimpse into the creative process when bringing this song to life?
Once the song was written, as well as 12 other songs ready to play, I started the band with four wonderful guys who believed in my project. We started performing live in Paris, and very quickly, we decided to record the album, so we prepared the studio sessions taking place in February 2020, but because of COVID, we could not finish the recording, so it’s been put on hold for a few months. Then after the lockdowns ended, we had a chance to finalize our work in the South of France in Toulon at HighSonix Studio. This is right after that we decided to make a video in Montauban for this precise song with my friend and partner Dhélia Breda from Art’Monny production. I wrote the song with the piano, which is my favorite instrument for composing music. for some reason I can’t explain, there is some Latin music in the chords, probably from my Mexican past talking, and then all the musician brought their experience and feeling to arrange the song to make it as it now. Each of them had the possibility to express themselves through the music, so the creation at the end is not only mine but a beautiful mix of all the Womankind member’s inspiration.
How long did the music video take you to film? What types of critical moments did you have on set that have made this experience even more rewarding?
The longest was not the filming but the preparation. Initially, the film director should have been someone else, but we started working on the scenario in the summer of 2020. I had the vision of walking in the street barefoot, followed by more and more women walking and dancing to end in fountains dancing in the water. That was the main idea. From there, we tried to ask the Montauban town hall for some financial backup, but they had other troubles and did not do anything, so we created a participative campaign to raise money, which took a little while, and two months before the footage, the film director decided that the budget was not enough to him and decided he would do it. So as I had met on New Year’s Eve with a wonderful person who happened to be a high-level cinema and television film director Chris Nahon, I gave him a call for help, and he kindly decided to come on board with us. We also asked the female firefighters of Tarn & Garonne to participate, and they said Yes! So we spent the three most beautiful days ever in Montauban end of July, at Benjamin and Dhélia Breda’s place, they had all arranged to have all of us there, the five members of the band, The choreographer & dancer Daniel Pop, coming especially from Romania, the photographer Namok coming from Sète, the hair and makeup artists coming from Toulouse, the Film director, and his assistant, with local partners like Au Raymond. We wanted to shoot some images live, so we had a short gig on the 28th at la Plage in Montauban, but none of these images could be used in the video. So we started the next day around 9:00 AM until 7:30 PM. We had a plan that we tried to stick with, but we let Chris do as he should do, so he also improvised a lot during the day. After many hours of walking and dancing barefoot in the streets of the City, under a beautiful son, I had to tackle a little break around 5 PM. At that time, Daniel Pop trained the crowd by teaching the choreography he had made, and when I joined them back, I saw everyone running and dancing. I had to learn the choreography very fast too, and I had not realized I should do it as well. Then the filming continued with the amazing firefighter girls, including one incredible breakdancer, to finish altogether in the fountains, dancing in the water while the sun was setting down, with perfect timing ever, under the so kind and professional direction of Chris Nahon, it’s been un absolutely unforgettable and blessed day to all of us. During the editing, I wanted to integrate the subtitles and also a special hand graphic design made by Hortygie illustrating the 1 2 5 4 I’m 3, with a concept kindly provocative called the “flower fuck’’ (timing 02:03), but Chris Nahon preferred to keep it discreet, as you will see, but the choice of the flower was directly made from Olympe de Gouges background with the French Lys royal flower, which is a way to say that, we do what we want to do and we don’t care really if you are not happy with that… a very personal but still elegant way to say it. We also asked the street art designer Mog to use the Olympe de Gouges Portrait at the beginning and at the end of the video. This painting is on a wall in front of the theater Olympe de Gouges in Montauban.
What is your advice for women struggling in a world designed for men?
Take care of yourself, Believe in yourself, believe in your value, and don’t wait for anyone, man or woman, to give this value to you! Don’t do things you don’t believe are good for you. Sometimes leaving is the right move. Keep your independence as much as possible, don’t let anyone take control of you for any material or any other reason. Trust yourself, listen to yourself, to your feelings, and if we might be, for some reason, sometimes vulnerable, this is part of the beauty of the world too. Think twice when you get orders before obeying. Get connected to yourself, your intuition, your emotions, and inner Love! If some men believe they have more value just because they are men, well, everyone can be mistaken, and let’s be more clever than this. No use to fight against it directly; Love and respect for any human being are the keywords! Let’s keep our way on, build our lives up, let’s make the best out of it anyway, let’s keep positive spirits, let’s do as we feel because life is beautiful (albeit a little bit short)!
What’s next for you?
Continue my personal fight for life, keep pushing the band further and perform all around the world! We still have a few music videos to make out of the KIND OF LOVE album, maybe still four more songs Sex angels (a poetic aspect of Love), Love is a lie (even though it’s not true), Unique, (all about desire and how we can lose our mind) and I hate you for loving (this can happen right after when it doesn’t work). Then we’ll prepare The new album. We also will create songs together with the musicians, which is already the case on a few new titles not recorded yet.