As a singer, songwriter and musician, Tété started his career busking in front of Parisian terraces with just his guitar. Now, the artist has five albums yet still enjoys being close to his fans. He gives acoustical concerts all over the world with three guitars as his companions.
Three acoustic concerts in ten days in Tahiti—what do you like the most about guitar and vocals?
Tété: I always come back to guitar and vocals between two albums and two tours. There is a certain freedom, a way of life. To have but three guitars as my travel companions is to travel light and be able to choose faraway destinations. This way, I have played in Japan and Australia several times over the past ten years and have been here in Tahiti for several concerts. I have been able to take the time to be here. It is also about proximity to the audience and genuine exchanges and encounters.
You are not only a singer and musician, but also a songwriter. How much does traveling impact your creativity?
Travel has always been the lifeline of my writing. I come from a blended family of African, American and other cultures that have nourished my soul. I believe this is what makes me a musician. What I see around me inspires me to create and tell stories. To write is a privileged moment of solitude and to try out new ideas during acoustic concert tours is a wonderful thing indeed. You get a sense whether the public connects or not and that gives me the chance to revise any material once I get home.
Where does your traveling start?
It depends. Sometimes, I arrive in a town in the middle of the night. It is only upon pulling the hotel drapes early in the morning that I finally realize I am somewhere else. As far as Tahiti, there is the long journey, yet the arrival is filled with flowers, music, dance and so much warmth and kindness. It was a huge surprise. It was a magical moment.
What kind of traveler are you?
The magic of traveling is to get lost in the streets and above all, meet people. This is what I seek above all. When traveling, you leave your regular schedule and way of seeing things behind. I strive to not have any preconceived ideas. In Tahiti, there is the sun, the lagoon, but I don’t believe that is all there is. I want to see this island through the eyes of those who live there, to just let myself to be led and surprised. I’ll post videos taken with my phone that will tell the reality of my encounters.
What do you take with you on every journey?
Usually three guitars, since they are not all tuned the same. Then on stage, I can change instruments depending on the song. I always have a voice recorder for any ideas that come to me as well as a journal to note any inspirations that flow to me at any given moment.
Interview compiled by Alexandra Sigaudo-Fourny