Jil Aigrot, the critically-acclaimed singer and voice behind the role of Edith Piaf in this year’s Golden Globe-winning film, “La Vie En Rose,” will release her first CD in the United States, “Words Of Love,” on March 11th. A tribute to the legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf, “Words Of Love” is being released by LML Music and features Aigrot’s interpretations of 19 classic and lesser-known Piaf songs. Aigrot will also be performing stateside for the first time in support of the CD’s release.
|1||Sous le ciel de Paris - instrumental||Jil Aigrot|
|2||Les flonflons du bal||Jil Aigrot|
|3||La goualante du pauvre Jean||Jil Aigrot|
|4||Y'a pas de printemps||Jil Aigrot|
|5||Plus bleu que tes yeux||Jil Aigrot|
|6||C'est à Hambourg||Jil Aigrot|
|7||L'homme au piano||Jil Aigrot|
|8||Mon vieux Lucien||Jil Aigrot|
|9||Mon Dieu||Jil Aigrot|
|10||Boulevard du crime||Jil Aigrot|
|11||Le chemin des forains||Jil Aigrot|
|12||Bravo pour le clown!||Jil Aigrot|
|13||Les mots d'amour||Jil Aigrot|
|14||A quoi ça sert l'amour?||Jil Aigrot|
|15||Je hais les dimanche||Jil Aigrot|
|16||La foule||Jil Aigrot|
|17||Mon manège à moi||Jil Aigrot|
|18||Non je ne regrette||Jil Aigrot|
|19||La vie en rose - instrumental||Jil Aigrot|
— Deborah Dearth (The Desert Sun)
“There is a good chance that Marion Cotillard will walk away with an Academy Award on Sunday night for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose.” If she has need for an acceptance speech, she should be sure to thank Jil Aigrot, who provided the voice of the French singer.
Aigrot will make her American debut to promote her upcoming album, “Words Of Love,” a tribute to Piaf due for release on March 11, with a concert tonight with Upright Cabaret at the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs. “It is natural for me to sing (Piaf’s songs),” Aigrot told The Desert Sun. “I think it’s the way she sang that I love.”
In order to better understand the music, Aigrot felt it important to educate herself about Piaf’s life. At a book signing for “Edith Piaf, My Friend,” she met the author, Piaf’s secretary and constant companion for 15 years, Ginou Richer. Unknown to Aigrot, Richer was also the script consultant for “La Vie en Rose.”
“I bought the book and talked with her and told her that I sing Edith Piaf, and she said, ‘Sing for me in the library,’” Aigrot recalled. That impromptu performance led to Richer attending her next concert, after which she told Aigrot, “That is the first time I heard a voice that sounds like Edith so much in 40 years.”
Soon afterward Aigrot was auditioning for director Olivier Dahan in Paris. “He asked me to sing ‘Milord,’ a famous but difficult song of Piaf’s,” Aigrot said. This was followed by a request to sing lesser-known music. “I didn’t know the songs of the movie because they were old songs, but I learned them in a week.”
The quick study paid off when Dahan announced, “I’m happy to tell you that you will be the voice of Edith Piaf,” Aigrot recalled. “It was a great joy – I realized my childhood dream which was to be a singer, to sing Edith Piaf.”
Aigrot’s greatest value to the film was to sing for scenes that had no representative recordings, such as during Piaf’s earliest days as a singer. “In the streets, she sings very loud; she sings because she has to eat,” Aigrot explained. “It was difficult for me because I had to forget all that I had learned about singing,” said the classically trained artist. To make the performances seamless, Aigrot prerecorded the vocals, Cotillard lip-synched the songs and then Aigrot overdubbed as needed for the perfect fit. The two worked together to ensure a believable portrayal and evolution of Piaf’s character and voice over three decades.
“It was long work for reaction and interpretation of the songs,” Aigrot recalled. “Marion asked me to do it as if we were one person, her and me.
“I was an actress and a singer before, and in this movie I am a singer who does the job of an actress,” Aigrot said. “This is something difficult; I couldn’t let my own vision of Edith Piaf grow in me – I must only be Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf.”
— Kenneth Young (The Buffalo News)
“Jil Aigrot got a huge break when she was cast as the voice of Edith Piaf in the hit biopic “La Vie En Rose.” Here she capitalizes on it with her first album, self-produced on a shoestring with piano and accordion. (Funny — I was in Paris last year and never heard one accordion.)
Aigrot nails the Piaf style and inflection, and the disc fairly reeks of Paris. That je ne sais quoi, that slurred Parisian patois of intoxicated amour, that smoky, banked-fire intensity — I had an uncontrollable urge to take a hit of absinthe, light up a Gauloise and sit under an umbrella. These are cabaret torch songs, all in French, of course, with no translations — but who cares? They’re all about love. This one may be hard to find in stores, so in the spirit of French culture, I plan to donate my copy to a favorite French restaurant.”
— Marco Werman (The World / PRI)
“The mystique surrounding French singer Edith Piaf never seems to wear off. Even now — almost 45 years after her death. Last year, the Piaf bio-pic ‘”La Vie en Rose” was a worldwide hit.
The film owed much if its success to actress Marion Cotillard’s performance. She played the part of Edith Piaf.
Cotillard has achieved the rare feat for a foreign actress of winning a Golden Globe for her performance — and getting nominated for an Academy Award too.
In the film, Cotillard lip-synched to either existing recordings of Piaf — or to the voice of singer Jil Aigrot, who herself was imitating Piaf’s sound. Jil Aigrot has just released an album of Piaf songs called “Words of Love.”
For the film, “la vie en rose,” Aigrot lent her voice to moments of Piaf’s life that were NOT recorded — such as auditioning at a night club, or busking on the Paris streets. “Comme un moineau—Like a Sparrow” sung by you Jil Aigrot your voice in that scene, so explain to moviegoers how that worked technically. Marion Cotillard is lip-synching on screen, so did she do it to your song already recorded, or did you end up dubbing to Marion Cotillard’s voice after the scene was shot?
Jil Aigrot: For most scenes, I first recorded the songs, then Marion Cotillard lip-synched them. But we also had to do it the other way around when I couldn’t be on the set.
Marco Werman: Now to illustrate for our listeners how uncannily you nail Edith Piaf’s voice, let’s take a taste test. We’re going to hear first Edith Piaf herself and then your rendition of the same song. This is one of her signature songs called “La Foule.”
Marco Werman: It is amazing how well you synch-up with the real voice of Piaf. Can you tell us when this love of this woman’s voice began for you in your life. How did it happen?
Jil Aigrot: I realized it when I was ten years old. But I think I always liked her voice. Edith Piaf was my mother’s favorite singer and she used to listen to her records. I think becoming a singer was my destiny, with or without Piaf because I always wanted to sing. But I was impressed by the energy that emanated out of Piaf
when she sang. The way she pronounced her lyrics — charged with emotion — was very touching. Also she sang a lot of love songs and they resonated with me, especially when I was a teenager.
Marco Werman: Did you find early on that when you began to sing you naturally sounded like Edith Piaf or was it something that evolved over time that you trained yourself to do?
Jil Aigrot: This voice came out me very naturally. When I was a student at the conservatory, I was told that my voice was not lyrical enough, that I should sing French pop songs. And I was often compared to Edith Piaf.
Marco Werman: How long have you been doing the Edith Piaf act? I mean your new album “Words of Love” shows you as Edith Piaf in photographs on the album cover.
Jil Aigrot: After the film “la vie en rose” came out, I stopped resisting the constant call to sing Piaf. So for the past 2 years now, I’ve been doing this Piaf concert program. I sing her songs on stage accompanied by a few musicians.
Marco Werman: So I don’t want to compare you to an Elvis impersonator but I’m always struck by people who emulate the sound and looks of other musicians, especially dead ones. So how do you manage that balance between homage to Piaf and Las Vegas side-show?
Jil Aigrot: In my homage to Piaf, I tell my audience that I’m not Edith Piaf. On stage, I can channel her sound and body language, but between each song, I talk to the audience and they can hear my own natural voice. I tell them anecdotes about the making of the film, about Edith Piaf, or myself. So I stick to reality, I don’t go for the look-alike contest or the Las Vegas side-show as you said.
Marco Werman: Well, Jil Aigrot thank you very much and I hope that if Marion Cotillard wins everybody will recognize that there’s a part of you in that Oscar Award.
Jil Aigrot: Yes I hope so too, merci.”
Cast as the singing "voice" behind the Golden Globe-winning film about Edith Piaf, "La Vie En Rose," Jil Aigrot was raised in Cannes, France, and at an early age began studying music, specializing in French Song. After performing in theater…