FAULT Magazine Issue 18 – the RAW Issue features Belgian solo artist Stromae. Stromae first burst onto the scene in 2010, when his track ‘Alors On Danse’ caught the attention of everyone from Kanye and Will.iam to Anna Wintour and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Photographer WOLAND and styling team A+C STUDIO photographed Stromae on location at DISCO Club, London.
The Belgian solo artist has a strong belief in the notion that there are two sides to every story. In Stromae’s case, the attention-grabbing visuals and catchy club beats of his music occasionally overshadow the other side to his personal story: that of a sharp, inquisitive and sensitive young writer and composer.
FAULT: Your music has tackled homelessness (‘Formidable’), absent fathers (‘Papaoutai’) and STDs (‘Moules Frites’). What first compelled you to write about such harsh issues?
Stromae: That’s life. I think that to hide these issues is the worst solution. I was never concerned with music that was just about having fun. That’s great but it’s not my life; my life has always had problems, I just prefer to dance on them.
In light of the success of modern hip-hop artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, do you find it’s easier for male rappers to show a sensitive side and to tell a story beyond the swag and braggadocio?
Yeah I think it’s much easier than before. For me, it’s thanks to people like Kid Cudi – the people who crossed that line between hip-hop and dance music. They come from the same family but in Belgium that was a really different line to cross. If you were doing hip-hop you couldn’t be carrying a skateboard but people like Kid Cudi, Technotronic and Snap! just changed that.
There are many dualities in your music- the puppets in ‘Papaoutai’, the cross-dressing in ‘Tous Les Me?mes’. Was this a conscious decision?
I love telling two sides of a story, and really I find it difficult to have just one opinion! I like to hear what other people think and see both sides. Obviously my vision will always be a part of my songs but I like to keep a certain degree of openness- I don’t want it to be all about me. I don’t think that my life is that interesting!
What is your FAULT?
That’s a difficult question because I can always find a way to make something out of my faults [laughs]! One of my faults in the past has been not composing when I’m on tour.
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