Julie Budet, the femme-fabulous of French pop group, Yelle, took time to talk with us while at her home in Brittany, France. A beach town best known for its lush forests and Medieval feel along the Atlantic Ocean, surely, is not the most typical breeding grounds for a stage rocker. Nevertheless, Julie was born and raised in this gorgeous region of western France. Her sweetly humbled and refined demeanor reflects an upbringing of tasteful surroundings. But let’s face it: the girl’s home town has castles. She must have some diva in her.
“This is where I have my family and friends, where I stay when we’re not touring,” she says. Time is hard to come by, though, when you are the lead singer and name sake of mega-popular indie pop trio. The group are now touring for the rest of this year, trekking from France to the United States, and across the equator to South America.
Listen to “Ce Jeu” here
2. Ce jeu
Packing for a trip like this requires great discipline. “It’s a little bit complicated,” she jokes, “we are six people touring including production and organization, and we are limited with luggage…I can only bring one big bag and one carry-on!” It’s basically asking for a pre-trip melt down.
She outlines her bags as if packing with me right then and there–she obviously has thought this one out. “In the big one, I need outfits for the stage, outfits for everyday…the US and South America don’t have the same weather. It’s hot there. I need summer stuff and winter stuff. And then, I have shoes.” Despite her plans, all her fans would like to imagine she only packs her standard stage apparel. No one can resist loving that red, full-body cheetah print hoody. No one.
This girl was born to dance and sing on stage in animal print outfits, which is why her confession came as such a surprise. “I used to dance like a robot on stage.” When Julie first started performing about 5 or 6 years ago, she actually had a dance therapist, for French-to-English translation’s sake. “I was not feeling my body. She helped me breathe and relax…Now, I am totally aware of my body, and totally in it,” she proudly tells me with her darling French accent.
Now, her friends ask her, ‘How can you be so comfortable on stage?’ She tells me, “I don’t know. It is the place I prefer to be in the world. It is the moment I prefer in the day, to sing and watch people. To make them dance and have fun.”
Listen to “Je veux te voir” here
3. Je veux te voir
After seeing her Los Angeles show this week at The Wiltern, there is no doubt how relaxed Julie feels while performing. What gives it away? Well, there are the pelvic thrusts, the sexual squatting, the head-banging, and every other infectious dance move she creates. Currently starting her South American part of the tour, it is certain that she is putting shame to the “cha-cha-cha.”
Believe it or not, Julie can’t wait to return to the US to spend more time in her favorite American city, Austin, Texas. That’s right, folks. She names it as the best city for her to live in the US. “We’re really into New York and L.A., and maybe Austin is in the middle [of the two]. It seems really easy to live for music in that city.” She praises its nice people, proximity to nature, hot weather, vintage shopping, and most of all, its music festivals and venues.
She even let me in on a little secret. “We’re thinking about maybe doing an American country music cover in Austin,” being their first English track to date. But don’t jump the gun too soon, cowboys and cowgirls. These Frenchies aren’t going to be ditching their native tongue any time soon. “It’s hard to find good words to express our feelings and emotions, and we like that in French. English is too complicated at the moment.”
That’s why the threesome have decided to end their tour circling back to France, where it started. Their last December show is set in wintry Paris. She explains the ending, “Playing outside of France, I really feel free. It is easier for me to not focus on lyrics, but in France, people understand me and I like to be understood too. Sometimes it’s a little frustrating to have a barrier between us and the crowd.”
No hurt feelings necessary, though. Julie admits, “In other countries, they just have fun and dance, and I love that.” But you can’t blame her: There’s just something about home.