Masks off: Brussels singer Blanche reveals her take on the corona crisis

© Saskia Vanderstichele

Every week, we talk to Brussels artists about the new truths that have developed behind our mouth masks. We are kicking things off with singer Blanche (20), whose album Empire has just been released.

BLANCHE

  • Born as Ellie Delvaux on 10 June 1999
  • Takes part in The Voice Belgique in 2016
  • Ends up in fourth place at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with “City Lights”
  • Released her debut album, Empire, on 29 May

How did you experience the lockdown?
Everything went quite well initially. But as time went on, I found the uncertainty about how long this crisis might last exhausting. I want to see my friends, go out, have a drink, play sports, go on holiday, etc.

Has corona changed the world?
The problems facing the world at the moment – climate change, inequality, racism, poverty – are so gigantic that they will not simply disappear. Some things have been pushed to the background now, whereas others have become more prominent. Is there more solidarity now that we have all survived the same virus? Is there more connectedness? (Sighs) I don't know. Everyone experienced corona in their own way, each country attempted to tackle the crisis in its own way. To be honest, I don't know if anything has really changed.

1711 blancheCMYK
© Saskia Vanderstichele

Will our lives go back to normal?
Even if the world has not changed radically, on a human level this crisis has of course had an enormous impact. Some people have discovered that they can bear isolation quite well. Others, like me, realize that they cannot live without human contact. Many of my friends are still studying and this period is exceptionally difficult for them.

Has it given your album, Empire, a new meaning?
I am actually quite pleased to be releasing my record now. To me, Empire is the world that I have built over the past three years, all of the collaborations I have initiated, all of the feelings and stories that have resulted from them and that we share with one another. Those are the stories that will survive, even after corona. All of the emotions that we experience as people are contained within it. Love, betrayal, doubt, joy, pain, sadness. I have always asked myself a lot of questions – perhaps too many even. But the one good thing about this lockdown is that people have been able to stop for a moment and reflect on their lives, and that they understand better what makes them happy or not and whether they can do anything about it.
Many people have hard lives, they go to work, and they spend the rest of the time doing stuff. They're always busy, they do not have time to stop and think – perhaps they don't want to, because it is too confronting. The message of this album is that we should learn to understand and accept our feelings. In short: to be honest with ourselves. And I think that is precisely what we can do with this period as well.

How do you see the future?
There is still so much uncertainty. Especially for musicians. I would like to look ahead and plan concerts, but unfortunately that is not possible yet. I don't want to be pessimistic. Next summer will no doubt be fantastic, when we can return to the festivals that we can't attend at all this year.

Empire is out now (Pias)

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