Magali Folmer is a creativity coach who accompanies artists and businesses to develop their dreams and potential.
She interviewed Victoire du jazz nominee Grégory Privat to understand how he came to live his dream to be an artist and express himself through music.
As the French pianist strongly follows his heart in his artistic career, Diplomatico Venezuelan rum brand chose him to embody the values of the new generation of “Diplomats” – people who follow their heart and live their dreams.
Let´s discover his inspiring story…
Magali Folmer: Grégory, when was the first time you thought of becoming a musician?
Grégory Privat: I feel I was born a musician, and my family allowed it to grow in me. It has always been a necessity for me to play music. And since an early age, I always felt it was going to be a great part of my life.
My father is also a pianist and an autodidact, and he passed his passion on to me. He is not a professional pianist but he toured for years with Malavoi – a Martinican band with influences from across the Caribbean and Brazilian music, as well as jazz.
My parents wanted me to be able to earn a living in a stable way so when I turned 18, I decided to study Engineering. I was very good at school, I enjoyed mathematics and understanding how things work, so this was a correct option for me. Well, a rational one actually, as I wanted to satisfy my parents.
So I moved from Martinique to France when I was 18 to study, and after I graduated I worked as an engineer for some years.
I led a double life though, working in an office during the day, playing the piano at night, and touring while on holidays.
And when I turned 27, I felt the urge to give a chance to my music and develop my art, so I decided to follow my passion 100%. I took the power back on my life! I left a secure and well-paid job and recorded my album. This was a true relief to me as I could finally fully and genuinely express myself!
The first year was tough because I was making less money, I didn’t know how to organize my day as a musician, and I didn´t have many concerts.
But little by little I began to understand how to live my new life as an artist, and how to become my « true self » through music. And that´s priceless to me.
Magali Folmer: What makes you feel truly passionate about being a musician?
Grégory Privat: I love sharing the joy I feel when I´m playing music. It is absolutely thrilling to me and I want people to experience that as well.
Playing live music allows me and the audience to connect to the moment and to connect to something higher than ourselves as well. To me, music enables people to access an ” enlightened state ” – a state of well being in which we are totally connected to the best in ourselves.
Magali Folmer: So how do you connect your passion for the music and the piano with your origins, the Antilles?
Grégory Privat: All those elements are in me, in my musical culture and in my upbringing. They translate genuinely and naturally into my music. My last album with Sonny Troupé explores the connection between those elements. It is a duo between a piano and a Ka – traditional instrument from Guadalupe.
But I also try to go elsewhere. I like to explore a lot of different styles of music, discovering new things every day. Meeting different people, from different cultures is a great privilege. I’m very thankful to life to be able to live such wonderful experiences.
Magali Folmer: What is your main dream as a musician?
Grégory Privat: I want to find my true and own voice in order to bring something new to music, and to go on surprising myself in my musician life. Also, create a music that contributes to enchant the world.
Magali Folmer: mmm… interesting… And in what way being a musician and sharing your music helps to create a better world?
Grégory Privat: Music is so powerful! Sometimes when I play music, I can feel the energy spreading in my body, and in the audience.
I believe in human kind, and in the fact that there is goodness in each one of us. I want to help people connect with that beautiful energy through my music.
Magali Folmer: How do you inspire others to follow their passions and dreams?
Grégory Privat: By telling my story. Everything is possible when you have passion and big dreams!
Magali Folmer: What advice would you give to people who wish to follow their dream?
Grégory Privat: Listen to yourself. Take the time to ask yourself what you truly want.
Switch off your rational thinking and connect to your heart and guts!
Magali Folmer: Thank you Grégory for your authenticity.
Grégory Privat: My pleasure, Magali!
Music enables people to access an ” enlightened state “
“I want to help people connect with that beautiful energy through my music.”
“Switch off your rational thinking and connect to your heart and guts!”
Credit photos: Eddy Toral