Nadeah Miranda is not French, but she’s probably a lot more French than you or I. After finishing school in Melbourne, she modelled and busked in Paris, eventually landing a record deal with Island Records and supporting the likes of Nick Cave and Franz Ferdinand with her band, The Lovegods in the early ‘00s, before branching out on her own and recording four albums as a solo artist. Her relationship with So Frenchy dates back to her time spent singing with Nouvelle Vague in the late ‘00s, and she was a natural choice to not just sing on the Yé-yé 2.0 project, but to help teach the others to sing a la Francais.
What was it like working with four artists who weren't French speakers, and acting as the top line through the recording process?
It was actually a lot of fun. It took a lot of brain power trying to work out how to explain how to pronounce words (we had to use all kinds of phonetic comparisons and imagery to get the intonation as close to French as it could be). I called in the legit Frenchies as well and often checked with Jean-Francois to see where we were at. It was very exciting to see how quickly the singers integrated changes.
Some words, an Aussie will never say like a French person, so you need to just enjoy the accent as is.
How hard was it to teach them the correct French pronunciation?
It was really hard, not their fault - French is bloody hard. Aussies all have a problem with the same vowel sound - it’s the first vowel sound in “murder”. It appears everywhere in French but I only realised this when coaching. And the French “R”? Forget it. I can barely pronounce it, let alone teach it. It’s something you really need to have been familiarised with as a kid.
Did you choose your own track to sing? What does that song mean to you?
When Jean-Francois wanted to try Alice Ivy out as a producer I chose the song that I thought was the most difficult to produce in an interesting way, “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher). I had been doing my own version (much slower, heavy guitar rock) in English throughout lockdown. I used to think the translated French lyrics sucked — very literal and non-poetic — but now I am kind of used to them. And I only ever sing it in French now. People just think it's sexier.
What is your personal relationship with Yé-yé music?
When I was in France I heard the occasional Yé-yé song and would think, “Oh my God, they have ripped off an English song,” but that was about it. Much of my relationship [with Yé-yé] started last year. Seeing as no French artists could come to Australia, Jean-Francois asked me to headline SFSC (I am the Frenchest artist he could find, I think, considering that the borders were all closed).
As we were planning out the show, we discussed how I could Frenchify my set and compiled a set of 60’s Yé-yé tracks. I literally listened to that stuff for weeks on my daily walks, trying to get it into my head. I’m not great at remembering other people’s lyrics in English, let alone French, so it was a lot of repetition.
What else have you been working on recently?
My side project, Christian Holiday Camp. Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague producer) and I started it in Paris before COVID stopped Aussies travelling. It is a very tongue-in-cheek minimalist electro take on life these days, more of an irreverent art installation with pop choruses and different characters singing the songs. They are not necessarily likeable characters, but it’s looking at all aspects of ourselves. Clare Bowditch will feature on it as will Irina Lazareanu, an awesome Canadian model/personality who was discovered by Kate Moss, along with some other Aussie Singers. CHC will be supporting Nouvelle Vague for their UK tour in Feb/March 2022.