When Belgian singer-songwriter Paul Van Haver, aka Stromae, first heard “Coward” by Yael Naim he was moved to tears. Upon learning this, Naim invited him to collaborate on a video for the track. A year later the plan finally came together, Van Haver, driven by his label Mosaert’s mission to foster creativity across disciplines, signed on to direct.
Naim and Van Haver enlisted Wes Anderson collaborator Martin Scali (Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr Fox), Mosaert artistic director Luc Junior Tam and stylist Coralie Barbier.
The video tells the story of an old woman, a former superhero now retired, our heroine is in denial of her condition’s decline, not accepting the physical changes of growing old. Choosing a superhero as principal character addresses the antithesis of cowardliness, as main topic, in order to highlight it, because by definition a superhero is never a coward. Moreover, it also permitted to stick to Yael Naim’s writing that evokes motherhood, but more generally, the feeling of cowardliness that we can all experience when we’re confronted with serious steps in our lives. The clip questions the thin subjective border that separates courage from cowardliness and vice versa. To what extent her relentlessness can be seen as courage? Is it not simply the fear of the future?
The centerpiece of her newest LP Older (out now) “Coward,” is a ruminant cabaret tune about the loss of control and freedom. In addition to the official video, Naim recently revealed a live version of the track (performed with hundreds of fans) in Paris, France.
Yael Naim, Born in France, raised in Israel, and residing in Paris since age 21, Naïm is a true citizen of the world who has forged for herself, as the New York Times attested, a “prestigious artistic career.”
Naïm’s third album, Older (out now) chronicles life, death, and the transformation in between. The album soulfully chronicles life, death, and the transformation in between. The LP is anchored in the personal (Naïm became a mother and lost a grandparent while writing it) but tethered to world events including the paris terror attacks (she performed at the official memorial for the Bataclan victims).
Produced by her creative partner, musician-producer David Donatien and mixed by Michael Brauer (Coldplay, Grizzly Bear), Older is driven the birth of Naïm and Donatien’s child (documented in the nursery-rhyme-like “Make a Child”) and the death of her grandmother, eulogized in chanson-folk style on the album’s spectral closer, “Meme Iren.” Older represents an artistic turning point for Naïm and Donatien, in their insistence on finding meaning in that which initially unsettles them.
catch Naim in Philadelphia (12/6 @ World Cafe Live) and New York City (12/8 @ Highline Ballroom).