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Preparing a Path

This year, several events occurred that helped me focus on art. I decided to think about alternatives to business schools and explore what I still like to call to this day "the fun stuff." The year was 1995.

I turned 15 just before the summer. June marked the end of one of the best memories I had of my school time: I was leaving Champfleury to go to a rather impersonal and cold High School in the fall. For a bigger change, I was asked by one of my friends to join their rock band. Not only did I meet nice boys, but also, I would realize later, really sincere friends. Doobie System, as the band was called, had existed for a few years already and is still performing and recording to the day I am writing this page. This experience broadened my vision of music on many levels and probably made it decisive for me to envisage a professional career. My guys showed me the colors of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Cure, the Doors, etc, and playing live filled me with so much passion and energy, feelings I had never felt before with music. We performed together many shows for two and a half years, one day for a couple of lost tourists in a small village, another day, entertaining up to 5,000 people for a student party in Avignon.

Soon after I met with the band, I felt it was time for me to learn other instruments and started with the guitar. My instructor Jacques Berbiguier, a wonderfully sensitive guitarist, was extremely fond of teaching me "the guitar" rather than jazz or rock guitar, as he liked to explain. He pushed me forward into the instrument as well as in more advanced music theory, helping me fight my artistic laziness. I included singing lessons to my agenda quite quickly, at first with Ginès Sirera, a renowned French tenor. From him I understood the need for assertion and faith in whatever you sing, a critical element to interpretation. After two years, I turned to the choir and music theory teacher of my youth, not your typical opera soprano, but who rendered such lyricism and energy in her voice, a woman who brought to me what I needed the most, emotion in the technique, Christine Ladevèze. Christine gave me trust in myself with subtle, almost unconscious encouraging; do I have to add I admire her...

I also got my first summer jobs at the end of this new year in high school. I was asked to carry boxes on my little back and put them down wherever they wanted them: I worked in a fruits and vegetables warehouse, in daily contact with zucchinis and tomatoes. The second month of the summer, I was thrown in a much more interesting situation. Friends of ours (though we didn't know it at the time) owned large fields of corn plants that needed to be castrated so that they be fertilized by only a selection of male plants. A team of twenty or so demanding teenagers, we tanned like bricks of red clay under the royal sun of Provence, walking in the rows, grasping the poking out male reproductive organs of the female plants. Boy did I hate the starving mosquitoes that enjoyed feeding off of our muscled calves in the moist mornings. Interestingly enough, it seemed as though our bodies barely reacted to their saliva after a week of cooperation.

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