When Roxane Bruneau won the 2019 Félix Award for Song of the Year for “Des p’tits bouts de toi,” it was clear she was doing things her own way in terms of how artists operate. An industry outsider from the beginning, Bruneau first built a huge following on social media—and translated that into not only the hit album Dysphorie but also becoming one of the more prominent voices in modern Québecois music. She learned a lot since making that first album, and it shows in the particularly mature Acrophobie: “When I made Dysphorie, I didn’t know a thing about the music world,” the singer-songwriter from Québec’s Montérégie region tells Apple Music. “The songs were ones I’d had lying around for years, which I’d recorded for fun while working 45 hours a week.” She made Acrophobie remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown, with the help of producer and musician Mathieu Brisset, who also helped her craft her debut. As the title suggests, Acrophobie is guided, among other things, by the subject of fear. “For me, anxiety can just as easily be a brake as it can an engine,” Bruneau says. “I’m always scared of screwing up, and that’s why the album bears that name: With Dysphorie, I climbed so high that I was afraid of coming back down just as quickly, of falling into a void.” Here she takes us through all the heights of her second album. Intro “I was sitting at my computer and I didn’t really know what to do, so just for fun I started looking for snatches of interviews I’d given for my first album and I pasted them all together. I talk a lot about my anxiety and my fears, so this intro sets the tone nicely for what follows.” Acrophobie “In this song, I take stock of how I’ve evolved personally and professionally, with a few throwbacks to my first album. It came to me about two years ago while I was humming in the shower. When I got out, I went straight to Mathieu’s place and we composed it together. That’s often how ideas come to me and take shape—really fast!” Bienvenue dans mon cirque “It’s an old tune that I revamped. I must have written it when I was about 19, so that’s 10 years ago. The first time I sang it, I was in the basement at a friend’s place and she’d filmed me with her phone. I was fed up of working for minimum wage and I dreamed of making a living from my music. The Roxane in those days was convinced she’d never get played on the radio!” Aime-moi encore “It’s the logical follow-up to my tune ‘Des p’tits bouts de toi,’ which talks about an encounter and love at first sight. This one’s about the desire for the relationship to last beyond that initial intensity. Will we still be together after 10 years, with three kids and pandemics? And it’s also a bit like a cry from the heart to my fans: I ask them to carry on liking me.” À ma manière “It’s a hymn to differences. While I was writing it, my goal was to reach out to kids and tell them to do things their way. But I don’t want them to see this as an appeal to be different at all costs. If, for you, what makes you feel good is being part of the norm, that’s perfectly okay! I created it for young people, but I realized that it could strike a chord with anyone. I’ve understood that there’s no age limit for deciding to change in order to feel better about yourself.” 1 H “It’s the ultimate breakup song! Lara Fabian may well talk constantly about love, but me, I always talk about anxiety! At the moment, I’m with someone and things are going really well, but I let the Roxane who’s ultra-traumatized by her past relationships do the talking.” C’est n’importe quoi (Oulalala) “It’s a tune I did online with my fans during the pandemic. We were all on our own and really bored and I decided to play a game with them on Facebook. We set ourselves the challenge of writing a song together. I must have got 10,000 comments that I mixed together with some super-pop and catchy arrangements.” Interlude “I gave Mathieu free rein, because I thought it was important that he have a song all of his own. So he created an instrumental break that provides a nice transition with the next song.” Le cri des loups “It’s my favourite track on this album, the one I could listen to repeatedly even if it’s me singing. I like it because I took a completely different direction. I decided to buy myself a piano, an instrument I’d never played in my life, and that same evening I composed this song with my new purchase. It talks about depression, about the fact that when you’re not feeling good, you just want to be alone.” Le petit soldat “Once again, it’s not very lighthearted: It's about suicide. I conjure up loads of images that say that there’s always a way to pull though when things aren’t going well, even if it sometimes seems impossible. It’s the story of a tin soldier who turns into a little wooden soldier, which is easier to break. That’s why the rhythm sounds like a military march.” Si jamais on me cherche “This song expresses the side of me that was fed up with being cooped up this spring. And I realized that even without COVID, I never actually allowed myself to go away. For all sorts of reasons, it’s not always easy to just pack it all in and leave. What I wanted was for people to feel liberated when they listened to it, for them to picture themselves on a road trip, even if it was only a short one between work and home.” Crazy Glue “It’s my little cheesy song I wrote for my girlfriend. When I met her, she was broken into a thousand pieces because of the stuff she’d been through in the past. It was the first time I’d met someone who was more scarred than me! I wanted to tell her I was there for her.” Ma muse s’amuse “This track can be seen from two different angles: the one where I’m talking to somebody else and the one where I’m talking to myself. I feel as though I’m someone with two very different facets: There’s the clown side of me and then there’s the more timid and darker side. In this song, it’s like these two opposite poles collide with each other.” Et maintenant “I wrote it just after Dysphorie was released. I had no idea how things would pan out afterwards. It contains my initial misgivings about the music world. I decided to end it with empty space, with no instruments, as if I was singing in a large hall with no spectators. Like I was asking people if they’d be there at my next show.”

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