The young and talented phenomenon, Emma Shapplin, has been attracting fans all over the world with her dramatic, operatic pop performances. This French songstress has evolved through many styles and has recently come into her own with the release of Macadam Flower, an album entirely written and composed by Shapplin.
One wonderful day in Paris, I had the privilege to meet with Shapplin to discuss her experiences as a performer, her creative music, and some personal aspects of her life off stage, giving me a deeper appreciation for this accomplished artist.
"It’s part of me," Shapplin says of Macadam Flower. "It represents emotions that I had in one period of my life." This vocal prodigy went from training in the classical tradition of opera, then moved to rock, eventually creating her own unique style of music. Completely different from her previous albums, Shapplin describes this self-made diverse style of music on Macadam Flower with "influences including opera, lyric poetry, modern trance, rock and synth-pop."
A little bit of everything for almost everyone, Shapplin sings and composes in several languages on her new album including French, English, and ancient Italian. "The language is very important," she explains, "it is like material for dreams." This allows her to properly express the emotions and sensibility she is trying to portray in the song through the lyrics. It also explains why Shapplin’s music transcends cultural borders and continues to grow an international fan base.
Shapplin’s tour this year has taken her to Germany, Russia and the Ukraine, and also to Latin American countries such as Colombia and Argentina. "I had a chance to meet my fans there for the first time," Shapplin says of her tour in South America. She describes the lively audiences with a big smile where "fans rushed the stage! It was really wonderful!" Gifted Shapplin is called upon by dignitaries to perform at gala events across the globe, and has had the privilege of singing with several other artists such as Paulo Conte and Placido Domingo.
On stage, Shapplin’s performances are theatrical and dramatic. "What happens on stage is not very conventional." Shapplin choreographs the performances with her dancer and explains how almost every concert is different. She loves her freedom of expression and being involved in that aspect. "There is so much beauty in life and incredible things," states Shapplin about what inspires her. "Not only in art and nature, which is God’s art, but all around us. So many things to try, to experiment, to taste, to touch, to look at, and to feel. So on stage I try to bring back those emotions." Validated by over 2.5 million worldwide album sales, Shapplin is getting her message across.
Home for Shapplin is just outside Paris where she lives with all her animals. It is a serene place where she can enjoy her private life, explaining her need to be surrounded by peace, and kind beings. "Animals help me to relax. I love all kinds of animals," Shapplin admits "they are very important to me." However, the only lucky one that gets to go to concerts with her is the dog. "Oh la la! She hides under a coach back stage until I am done performing," Shapplin laughs about her little dog she takes on tour with her. "Sometimes when I do a sound check, she sits by my feet looking up at me."
Feeling like I'm in a dream myself, I must say that I greatly enjoyed meeting Shapplin, who is as lovely off stage as she is on stage performing. She has this grand singing voice, but is soft-spoken and petite, with the most delicate demeanor. "Life is wonderful," Shapplin says enthusiastically. "I can never be bored!" Currently, Shapplin is studying opera with Irina Bogacheva at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is learning to play the cello, all while learning to speak Japanese. A phenom indeed.
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