Emile Bernard
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Emile Bernard

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter

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Part of why I love blogging about music (besides the free gigs), is the opportunity to uncover unsigned and undiscovered musical gems. You know, when you hear a song for the first time and it’s like BAM, your whole being is moved, and like a drug it infiltrates you, the beat makes your body move uncontrollably, the words echo emotions you didn’t know you had. You find a little part of yourself you had no idea you had lost. This is my addiction. I never explain music by genres, but by emotion, and that emotion is interpreted differently, depending on you or I, or him or her. For myself, Paolo’s music makes me both sad and hopeful, it makes me yearn for something, something I lost a long time ago, but I don’t know what it is quite yet. But mostly, there is a quiet strength and resilience so utterly moving in his music. London is teaming with raw talent, and I am lucky enough to be able to be in a position to expose some of the talents that move me. And so, I present to you Emile Bernard.
When I first met Paolo, it was at a mutual friend's birthday party a couple of years ago. The man wore a suit (the fact he is Italian goes some way to explaining this). The air thick with tequila fumes, cigarette smoke and yesterday's hangover. He opened up over cake, discussing life and passions. I believe we talked about being a Nomad Generation. His eyes glinted both mischievously and nostalgically.

That first image of Paolo, my first impression, is actually quite fitting to the artist I began to discover, under the name of Emile Bernard. There are many reasons why people chose music, to heal, to love, for fame, to express anger, forgiveness, happiness. And then there are those who live it, breathe it, it envelops their entire being. Just as air, it is their lifeline.

I sat down with both an artist and a friend to discuss his journey, life and music so finely intertwined.

LET’S START WITH A PRETTY STANDARD QUESTION: HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC?

I've always been into music since I was very little, singing songs over watching TV, listening to the radio instead of playing football, or any of those other things young boys are supposed to do. When I was 15 my brother forced me to buy a guitar with my little savings - the reason? He also wanted to pick up the guitar, but to impress the girls, he was too tight to buy the guitar for himself!
After a couple of years I started writing my own songs, a mixture of cheesy ballads, which are now long forgotten, but which were my starting point as a song writer.

AND THIS WAS ALL IN ITALY, RIGHT?

Yes, in the years after that I tried to achieve fame as a solo singer/songwriter in Italy. I even released an EP, but I quickly got bored of the non-existent music scene, so I decided to make the big move to London in 2005. Once there, myself and a few friends formed an alternative rock band named Blackfriars, and we got pretty successful, gigging at pretty much every venue or pub on the London scene.



I’M SENSING A ‘BUT’…

Yes, by 2009 the band fell apart, which coincided with a difficult breakup with my first love. I took to wandering the streets of London alone at night to drown the sorrow, and its vast parks during the day, searching for peace and a new musical identity. These moments gave me the main inspiration to write my following collection of songs.



SO, WHY EMILE BERNARD AS A STAGE NAME?

It's at that particular time that I stumbled upon Toulouse Lautrec's portrait of post-impressionist painter/poet Emile Bernard at The National Gallery and I found myself confronted by a spitting image of a more confident me. Borrowing Emile's identity and style felt natural and gave me the reason to start this new artistic endeavour in music. So after playing few solo shows at the end of 2009 I was ready to hit the studio to record the songs for an EP called Bye Bye Baby Blue but fate had different game in mind this time. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in early 2010, so I had to take the year off to fight the disease off and get back into form. Recordings were pushed back to 2011 with friend and drummer Simeon Rodgers (From This Is My TV and Orlando Seale and The Swell) and ended with a collection of 8 songs in May this year.



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?

The musical core of the songs is based around gentle acoustic instruments like acoustic guitar pianos, and autoharp which are supported and pushed by Simeon's robust drums. The soundscape is then enriched by ambient synths and post rock guitars. Lyrics reflect the sense of feeling often lost in this world and detached from our true self but with an underlying hope that a sunny blue sky will one day bring a new message of happiness.



SO, WHAT’S NEXT ON EMILE BERNARD’S MUSICAL ADVENTURES?

Upcoming gigs include an acoustic support slot for Stephanie O'Brien (ex Pu

ppini Sisters) at The Lock Tavern on 28th November and a night called "Geek's Out" at The Wheelbarrow in Camden on the 6th December. Also in the pipeline is a new video for the song "In Love Again", which will be the first single from EP "Bye Bye Baby Blue", and many other video clips of Emile playing small acoustic sets around London, Paris and many other places in between. "Friends in Time" was featured on the BBC Introducing mixtape recently, which is building on my confidence as a solo musician.

Words: Claire Malaika
- Idol Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

When you look like the artistic twin of an Emile Bernard painting, chances are there's a paint stroke of something special.
Frontman Paolo Fornasari is the latest indie poet to capture your imagination on stage.
Dressed like a suave scally from a Dickens novel and taking the post impressionist artist of Emile as his stage name, this modern vintage mash up makes for a unique sound.
With stripped down romance and quality like Villagers, and a raw voice joining ranks with the likes of Woodkid, Emile Bernard offers quirky poetry with tints of post rock and dark electronica (Charlie Matthews-Spindle Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazar)

Better known as a French Post-Impressionist painter who had artistic friendships with Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne, Emile has recently reappeared on the London scene as an indie singer/songwriter and he is now working on his solo debut EP Bye-Bye Baby Blue

The song 'Friends In Time' has been featured in Tom Robinson's BBC Introducing Mixtape
www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tomrobinson/…all-hours-of.shtml

This is what IDOL Magazine have to say about me:

idolmag.co.uk/music-interview/emile-bernard