Grégory Lemarchal (here pictured with Lucie Silvas), one of my all-time favorite singers, a boy with amazing potential that, despite his producing some of my favorite songs ever, had not even begun to be fulfilled, has just passed away.
I knew he'd just recently had to cancel a concert on the advice of his doctors and he's always had health problems--cystic fibrosis, he's had to go into the hospital multiple times--but I'm in complete shock. This is horrible, incredibly sad news, and my best wishes of course go out to his family and friends.
Sigh...where to even begin?
It boggles the mind that someone that full of life can just suddenly be gone...literally only two days ago he was apologizing to his fans for having to cancel a special fan appreciation concert, saying that his doctors had told him he had to take three months of rest. He'd had to take similar breaks in the past, and been rushed in for surgeries, but who could have known...
I treasure his debut album, Je deviens moi (his only studio album; he's got a live album out, too); I know I say this every time I write about him, but I cannot recommend it enough (you can buy it here). Yes, there are some covers on it, but it contains three of my favorite songs ever. Ever. On one album. A debut album. Most people will probably know him for songs like "Ecris l'histoire" and his duet with Lucie Silvas, "Même si (What You're Made Of)," both of which are lovely and show talent. However, the songs I will always associate him with go far beyond the simple loveliness of those, instead being giant sweeping epic songs in the very best pop sense. The trilogy that anyone who listens to music must have in their collection is as follows:
"Je suis en vie"
The best Eurovision song that was never even a contender. I always hoped that Gregory would enter Eurovision in the next few years, maybe even next year--with his stunning voice, predilection towards knock-you-off-your-feet songs, and good looks, he would have been a perfect candidate.
"Le feu sur les planches"
Utterly amazing--one of the brightest songs I know. Uplifting, still with that sense of epicness and sweeping, and yet intimately reassuring. Also a case of a perfectly matched video and song.
His masterpiece. More than six minutes long, and I wouldn't lose a single second of it. Quite possibly--in all seriousness--my favorite song ever. The first four minutes are filled with anticipation--you just know that build, that climax, is coming, and the song teases you, starting to build but then dropping back to its simple piano ballad state. That cycle repeats, leaving you never bored but so desperate for that peak you know is coming that when that sped-up piano kicks in, you're worried that the forthcoming explosion of electric guitars is going to be overshadowed by all that pent-up anticipation...and yet, somehow, it never is; the gloriousness of the song never fades, those soaring highs are just as effective at sweeping you away...and when it's over, you're left exhausted, spent, unable and unwilling to do anything other than bask in the afterglow in silence--nothing else could possibly follow it up.
This is undoubtedly a huge personal loss to those who know him; with only a few weeks until his twenty-fourth birthday, he was clearly far too young. It's also an enormous loss for music as a whole; anyone who could give stunning performances like these...
...when he was only twenty-one--he won Star Academy with more than 80% of the vote, which is incredible for any reality TV show--clearly had a bright future ahead of him in the music industry.
To one of the few popstars who could bring out the swoony fangirl side of me, certainly with his looks but more importantly with his soaring, beautiful voice: you will be missed. To his family, friends, and anyone who knew him: my deepest condolences and I wish you the best in this difficult, difficult time.
In memorial, there will be no further posts here today or tomorrow.
L'endroit où, d'un clin d'oeil, j'espère
Fuir de l'ordinaire
Fuir de l'ordinaire
Cet endroit où l'on pourrait se faire
Une vie moins ordinaire
Croire ce qu'on veut
L'existence en plein dans les yeux
Imaginer des rêves sans sommeil
Ils s'ront beaux pareil
Pour me plaire, j' saurai me faire
Pour nous plaire, on pourra se faire
Une vie moins ordinaire
-from "Une vie moins ordinaire," the final track on Je deviens moi