“I still have the sacred fire”: at 76, Ginette Reno is far from retirement
MISE À DAY
Ginette Reno has said it many times. And at 76, she reiterates it loud and clear: the word “retirement” does not appear in her vocabulary. And she has no plans to add it anytime soon. As proof, the singer will launch this week not one, but two projects in which she reveals herself like never before: a 42th album and a first autobiography. “I still have the sacred fire. And fire, it creates,” she says.
Ginette Reno is a fighter. A force of nature, some would even say. Still recovering from two operations last December – one in the heart, the other in the gallbladder – the singer refuses to give up. And even less to shut up.
However, many would have seen these recent health problems as an invitation to retire or at the very least to slow down considerably. But it would have been misunderstanding Ginette Reno to think that she was going to capitulate.
From microphone to pen< /p>
Admittedly, she put down her microphone. But it was to grab the pen the time to put down on paper the main lines of his life and his journey. The result, an autobiography simply titled Ginette will be launched on Thursday.
This book, she knows, is one of the most anticipated. It must be said that she has been promising it herself for years, both to her fans and to members of the media. So the right time has come. Well, she hopes.
“I don't even know if it's the best time, or even if I'm ready. Basically, I don't know if I've always been ready for everything I've done in my life; I simply advanced, without dwelling too much on this question. For the book, it had to come out, so I finally wrote it. That's all,” she explains.
“That” is many things. Because over the course of some 300 pages of Ginette – written with the collaboration of the author–composer Lambert –, the singer reveals herself as only she knows how to do: without detour, neither filter, nor censorship . And she casts a wide net. Very wide, even.
His conflicted relationship with his parents is emotionally detailed. His lessons with the legend Lee Strasberg, in Hollywood, like his complex loves, his eternal quest for happiness or his addiction to food and his weight.
There is also this kiss exchanged with Father Sablon, behind the scenes of the filming of It's Your Turn, Laura Cadieuxand his health concerns. Without forgetting a significant National Day in the summer of 1975, a painful depressive episode and her unshakeable faith.
In short, she does not cut corners in any way to relate this journey which probably did not always bathed in joy and gladness. But the writing exercise was therapeutic for the singer. So well, in fact, that she says she has found serenity, peace and, above all, happiness.
“Happiness is not having success, fame or money; happiness is inside. We make the mistake of looking for it in big houses, cars, boats… all that is ephemeral. Even the people who pass through our lives, they are only lent to us. So you have to learn to find your happiness in yourself. And I, at 76, am happy. I'm fine with myself,” she assures.
A new vocation?
By her own admission, the autobiographical experience also sparked a new passion for writing in her. And maybe even the seed of a new vocation.
“I want to keep writing. I have been very privileged in life. So I want to share all that with people, to pass on what I know before leaving. If God gives me life, I want to write a book on the voice, another on the power of impotence. I see it as a new career. Not bad, all the same, a new career at 76,” she laughs.
Not bad at all, indeed.
“I miss the stage»
Ginette Reno's health does not allow her to go on tour to present on stage her new album, < strong>It's all me. But it's only a postponement, she promises. The singer is working hard to regain her strength in order to find, sooner or later, her audience.
“I miss the stage. A lot, even”, drops the singer.
“I no longer have the strength to give shows. But I go to Jean Coutu stores and book fairs to meet people and sign autographs. We're going to have fun anyway,” she continues, laughing.
Indeed, both the album and the autobiography will be on sale exclusively in pharmacies affiliated with Jean Coutu, across the province, starting Thursday. This distribution agreement, revealed a few weeks ago, aroused the ire of booksellers, excluded from marketing.
When asked about this, Ginette Reno was brief. According to her, the idea of authorized returns – a process of returning unsold copies to the publisher – weighed heavily in the balance.
“It is very expensive to return these copies, so I am very happy with the agreement we have developed with Jean Coutu. And people go to the pharmacy more often than to the bookstore; when they get there, they will see a display with my album and my autobiography. I think it's going to be okay,” she says.
Suffering and joy
The release of C 'est tout moi thus marks Ginette Reno's return to recordings, more than three years after her previous offering, Forever. The latter was successful, surpassing the milestone of 40,000 copies sold in less than a month when it was released in 2018.
The singer attests that finding pieces to fill an album can become more difficult over the years. After all, at 76, you no longer sing about your first loves or your first breakups, she confirms.
“I have to choose them with my heart, with my experience. This album is very spiritual and very dense too. There are songs about suffering, but also others about joy. There are some really fun cases out there,” she says, immediately getting carried away.
Among these, one title stands out: Malatou, an ode to the “small sores” that inevitably accompany the passing of the years. Ginette Reno is very proud of this piece signed by her hand, written during the pandemic which, according to her, will rally the music lovers of her generation.
“It's possible to speak of our little sores without falling into the negative or despair! These things are part of life. And me, I like having fun in life, so I try to laugh about it, ”she says.
The great lady of song therefore has her head full of ideas to continue enjoying life in music. Because no, she does not intend to hang up her microphone. That is simply out of the question.
“I will never stop singing. Never. When I sing, my whole being vibrates, comes to life. So I sing every day, even if it's just for me, at home. And it does me a lot of good. I don’t see why I would stop”, concludes Ginette Reno.
►The autobiography Ginette and the album C'est tout moi will be on sale from Thursday in exclusive in Jean Coutu stores and on ginettereno.com
►Ginette will sing for the grand finale of The Voice, next weekend. She will perform for the first time on TV the piece Plus grand, taken from her new album, in the company of the four finalists of this year . Broadcast: Sunday, April 9, 7:30 p.m., on TVA
►In a meeting-event with Paul Arcand, Ginette Reno will recount the highlights of her career and his personal life, from yesterday to today, in addition to performing some songs from the new album and some of his greatest hits. Broadcast: Sunday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., on TVA