Alan A.:
Singer-songwriter: Alan A. Photograph: Adam Moco

By day, Alan Audrain manages Bouchon Fourchette café on Mare Street. But making coffee and serving customers is just the tip of his talents. When off duty, he is Alan A., a singer-songwriter with a penchant for extravagant outfits. A regular performer at Gay Pride festivals, last month Alan A. released Astray, an electro pop album that is fun and melodic but with plenty of attitude – and innuendo.

Alan, how did it all begin?

I moved to London in 2004 from Nantes in the west of France. I’ve always been singing, whether it’s taking singing lessons or in a choir. When I was a kid I used to jump on benches and do concerts for my schoolmates. Then I started writing here and there, bits and pieces, nothing serious. In 2008 I moved to Montreal and met my first arranger, Frank, and we worked on the first album together. This is the third album.

Can you describe the style of your music?

It’s very poppy, very British pop. It’s kind of orientated to a gay audience. I always say gay audience and their lovers because it’s kind of like a story of a gay man in London. And it’s a bit witty and a bit cheeky, but at the same time I don’t want to shock people – I prefer to amuse them.

Your song ‘So What?’ tackles homophobia with lines like “So what if I’m a homo, any more you want to know?” How has being gay informed your music?

Well, I grew up in a very small village so when I discovered I was gay it was kind of hard to come out. It took me a couple of years to come out to my best friends and a few more years to come out to my family. It’s quite hard to discover something about yourself but not be able to express it, or have to hide yourself. The song is just a way of saying well that’s me and you have to take me for who I am or move along!

Your French identity is very part of your music as well. How important is it to let the audience know that you’re French?

I think that was quite ambiguous until this album really. That’s why I wrote the song ‘Excuse My French’ because I wanted it to represent that part of me. That’s who I am, that’s where my family is and where I go back to regularly.

If you were able to do a collaboration with anyone who would it be?

I think I would aim high if I could choose anyone. Maybe I’d collaborate with a DJ like David Guetta, because he’s French as well and he’s on the scene everywhere in the world. DJs like that would be great but obviously doing a record with Jimmy Somerville or Duran Duran or the Pet Shop Boys would be amazing.

Alan A – Astray 620

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