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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The young French singer known as Camille loves to play with the sound of her voice. She makes her music by overlaying everything from a sniffle to a growl to an operatic F sharp. As part of our series, Musicians in Their Own Words, she says she finds a natural music in the sound of everyday speech. It's a music that's different in French than in English.

Ms. CAMILLE (French Singer): Languages are melodies, and I'd say English is more about vowels. Meow, you know? And French is very, you know, very intimate.

(Soundbite of Camille singing in foreign language)

Ms. CAMILLE: In rhythmical songs when you go very fast with words, you don't have to stay on vowels. Yeah. You just go for it. (Speaks foreign language)

(Soundbite of Camille singing in foreign language)

Ms. CAMILLE: I like to sing all these voices I have inside in characters.

(Soundbite of Camille singing in foreign language)

Ms. CAMILLE: Au Port is this song that I wrote about this little girl in love with a captain.

(Soundbite of Au Port)

Ms. CAMILLE: I describe the metamorphosis like she talks to herself, and she says, you're just a little girl. You're stuck in a harbor waiting for him. Be a captain yourself and become a woman and kill this little girl.

(Soundbite of Au Port)

Ms. CAMILLE: So I take this little voice, that's a distraught, little ironical, cheeky little girl's voice, and then at the end use a more operatic voice. And a friend of mine said, oh, it's funny, at the end you use this operatic voice like you've conformed into a woman.

(Soundbite of Au Port)

Ms. CAMILLE: This song is called Senza because I basically reproduce with my voice a senza, the instrument, a senza pattern.

(Soundbite of Senza)

Ms. CAMILLE: It's an African instrument with little metal pieces, and you just use your fingers and trigger these piece of metal.

(Soundbite of Senza)

Ms. CAMILLE: I was improvising on top.

(Soundbite of Senza)

Ms. CAMILLE: And then we deconstructed the pattern.

(Soundbite of Senza)

Ms. CAMILLE: I've been very concerned by different characters, different energies. I wanted something to link all that together, and to show that behind all these energies there's always something constant.

Bourdon means continuous notes on which you compose. It's been used a lot in religious music, middle age music, folklore music. You know, some people would get bored for sure listening to it, but I think what's interesting with that very simple, well, apparently simple sound is that it makes you focus. And what's going on really is more what's going on in your mind, I think.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

Ms. CAMILLE: Ta Douleur is a song about taking someone's pain.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

Ms. CAMILLE: It's kind of a gospel, but it's in French, and it's very minimal. It's my way of singing gospel.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

Ms. CAMILLE: In the rhythmical loop, I am saying, well, your body, it brings you pain, but it also farts and does silly noises.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

Ms. CAMILLE: Spirituality is physical. I think it's completely linked. You cannot - how would you say - elevate, illuva(ph), without something physical going on. Gospel has understood that.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

Ms. CAMILLE: You cannot feel pleasure and joy, you cannot celebrate without being physically involved.

(Soundbite of Ta Douleur)

MONTAGNE: The singer Camille, who says she doesn't mind if American listeners call her Camille. We heard from her as part of the series, Musicians in Their Own Words. Her new album is called Le Fil, which means the thread. For more of her music, you can go to npr.org.

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