How is your self-isolation going?
G:Self-isolation? Well, it’s going pretty well. At first I was quite upset, of course this is not good, but then I accepted this situation and more than that – I think the world needed such a break and in general I’m quite positive about it. You can sit down and think about the meaning of life, what you want from it and what you want to change…and you go back to yourself, and that’s very important…I just hope everyone is safe. And I hope that everything will return to normal again. I think the world will be better than it was before.
Do you think it’s will be better?
G: Yes, I’m absolutely sure of it! While you can’t go out on the street, while you are
limited in your choice, and even in what you want and what you can do-you return to the most important thing in this life. So Yes, I think it will get even better. And people will also become better and more united.
First of all, we would like to introduce you to the readers in more detail… You are currently working on your first album, but we know you as a dancer and actor, is there one art / discipline that you prefer to others?
Well, my name is Golan Yosef, I was born in the Netherlands (Holland), my roots lay in Israel. I started dancing at a young age, but was always interested in writing and other art forms as well. However, I started my career as a dancer and alongside I was acting and learning how to sing.. When people ask me: “Wow, are you a dancer, musician, or actor?” I reply I love everything! Ever since I left home I brought my first guitar with me and started singing and writing after dance rehearsals. The guitar went with me to Marseille, New York and eventually Paris. I was 17 when I lived in Barcelona and I got into a dance company but became more and more interested in acting. So it wasn’t a choice – rather, I had to do it. To return to the question, do I prefer one or the other?.. I think I like music and acting more today. Because I have danced so much in my life, giving a huge amount of time and passion to it, that today I prefer to write music, be on the other side, not work for other people, but create something of my own. Yes, today I am more focused on music than on dancing.
And you’re currently working on your first album?
Yes, I’ve been writing it for two years now. I wanted to move away for a while from musicals and stop being an inconspicuous character, and start talking and sharing what’s inside me. You know, when you play the role of a character, you live his life, express his emotions, but it’s all the hero, not you . So Yes, today I am working on my first album and the first song will be released within a month.
What is it about?
The songs? Well, sometimes it’s biographical.. not all the time about me specifically, but about a certain magic, imagination or situation.
And the first song that will be released, it’s called “Girl, you free”! And it’s about freedom, freedom of woman and the freedom in love. The guy says to the girl: ”Let’s go together, let’s hold hands, let’s fall in love. We can travel, we can do whatever you want, if you’re ready. If you’re not ready, then that’s is okay you can pack your bags and be free to do whatever you want.” And I chose this song as the first one because I think that the time we are living in now, love is devalued and often woman still don’t feel free today. I think it’s a beautiful message: “Girls, you are free.” The song “Twice” is about the conflict of two opinions or emotions within yourself.
It’s really wonderful. What inspired you to start dancing and why did you start singing / writing?
I was a very artistic child, very energetic. I had a lot of energy, I couldn’t concentrate, and my mother decided to send me to dance school because I was crazy about Michael Jackson. I collected interviews, Newspapers, photographs. I wanted shoes like his. Yes, I was really a Michael Jackson fan, haha! And today I continue to consider him outstanding in everything! So I was constantly singing and dancing, and my mother noticed this artistry. I became a professional dancer and for many years I really wanted to be a dancer, look for myself, be cool and normal, but I wasn’t! So everything happened because of my mother, and even though it was difficult, I am grateful to her, because she was right and pointed out the path that I should go. I started writing during my dancing career, because I traveled a lot. I left my parents ‘ house very early, at the age of 17, and moved to Barcelona. This was a new language, a new culture and everything had started… First, there were words, then the words turned into sounds, the sounds turned to stories, stories turned into songs.
I find great comfort in writing, expressing myself throughout the song, and being able to express what I would not be able to express in everyday life. It’s amazing to put it all into a song and let the melody speak… And maybe give a little positive message to people who will hear it, which I hope very much.
You’ve traveled a lot, but when did you start living in France?
Well, I lived in Barcelona until I was 24… Then I had a couple of trips and started traveling again. I stayed for 1 year in the South of France, then went to new York , where I lived for 5 years and got into a dance company. But I wanted to do new things, focused on music, theater, went to Paris in 2011, and I’ve been living here for 8 years….That is, 9.. Time flies so fast! In Paris, I played the lead in the musical “Dracula” (Dracula:L’amour plus fort que la mort) and have stayed here… I’m still here.
Do you love this country?
Yes! There is something special here in France. I’m not just talking about Paris. It is just a small part of this big country and beautiful culture. There are also many, many small towns and villages… You can come across beautiful churches and enjoy the beautiful nature. I love this language, I love their philosophy. And there is something different in Paris from the other cities I have lived in. For me, Paris is primarily about people. I find people who are great to talk to. I have many great friends-artists, some religious people. And Yes, this is probably the main reason why I still live here. Even after 9 years, I still continue to explore Paris. It’s so beautiful…Walk along the streets, get lost in the city, see artists and art objects… These are beautiful things.
Tell me, what difficulties have you encountered on your way as a dancer and artist? What were the most critical moments?
Well, I think the most difficult period is the one I’m in now, because a lot of people know me as a dancer, and that’s what I did first, and they also know me as a character from musicals. I mean “Dracula “and others:” Cats”, “3 Musketeers”… People know me as part of these projects, but I try to be myself now and be an artist. I am a human being, so I open my heart and myself as an artist. And this is the most difficult thing. The path when you start a new career. Yes, you’re not in the show anymore. You are YOU, you know? Yes, playing someone is easier, but now I want to talk about myself, my emotions, how I feel. And I want to open my heart to people, so this is a new thing and I’m trying to develop. This is a new page about me. I don’t have a producer but a lot of people help me… I also try to look at other artists and take an example and some background from them. Here you are from Russia, and I know your Baryshnikov ( Soviet and American ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, collector and photographer) – he is great … Started as a dancer, but then did a lot of other things after that, which I think is also great. I often look at other artists as they started out. Maybe I was not only inspired by artists like Baryshnikov, but inspired by other artists, for example, in the metro sometimes you can see beautiful artists or singers and I’m like: “Wow! It’s crazy, but look – he does these things.” Then you realize that everything is possible in this life.
Can you tell us a few words about your role and in particular about the symbolic character-Dracula in the musical l’amour Plus fort que la mort?
Yes, of course. Dracula was a great opportunity for me. This wonderful character to play, in a sense very bright, but not very complete, as he is in many of the films. He always does things beautifully, with art. Yes, it’s terrible that he kills Jonathan Harker little by little, day after day, but if you’ve watched the movie (especially the Coppola version), then you almost start to appreciate that Dracula get’s what he wants.What he did was really terrible yet beautiful.
It was very stressful sometimes, because when playing a role every day, it can start to make you a little crazy. This has had a certain impact on my life but definitely positive. Looking back, I think I was able to make my character a little different from the original image.
I interacted a lot with colleagues and fans. On stage you don’t have to talk to communicate, you can look at each other feel each other etc . For me, after doing a lot of research, of course, Dracula is very (I’m just trying to find a word in English, in French it’s so…) hmm-suspicious, that comes up in several versions I’ve studied of Dracula. Historical research as well, that is, things that really happened, and of course all the other versions, different films by Coppola, which is great, the book too. In general he became suspicious of people because he was let down by them, people turned on him so he couldn’t trust them. People were thus afraid of his superiority and eventually Dracula would isolate himself away.
You said he was cruel, but he was protecting his love. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy then?
It’s great that you think that, but I wouldn’t say that. He wasn’t protecting his love, because he fell in love with Mina’s reincarnation, right? Mina is already with someone else, and he killed Lucy, as you know. Well, many people consider him terrible, but as for me, he is not so terrible, but the historical character was a terrible tyrant.He killed people just to make a statement. I don’t like it either, but I see him as a very wise, romantic man, beautiful. And this is very sad.
Your Dracula is a silent. How does it feel to communicate with colleagues and tell a story in a dance?
Well, it wasn’t that easy, because you can’t use words or your voice, you show everything with your emotions, but it was very interesting to create words in gestures.I really tried to collect every detail of this story when I was on stage, and in every work with even the slightest movement to observe even the way I breathe.So it was a very interesting process and a great experience.
Another of your roles is the Duke of Buckingham in the musical “3
Musketeers” (Les 3 Mousquetairtes). How did your Buckingham differ from what was in the book?
Well, it wasn’t my Buckingham in a way. It was written for the musical and this version is less militant, but more romantic. I don’t remember who described it that way but someone compared him to a cat: “A man that was faster and stronger than anyone, quickest with the sword as one could be”. He is a very smart man, because in a short time he achieved power as a real politician, but at the same time a romantic. At least in my version he was more of a romantic than a warrior.
Did he really love the Queen, or did he cheat on her?
I think he really loved her, but of course it was a secret part of his life. He had to play a role because he and the Queen actually had two different religions and the threat of war between their nations. This was more than impossible for Europe. Love was mostly in my interpretation, but this love is a little different.. It makes him crazy.. Because he could have any woman he wanted. Any! But he wanted that one! And he thought it was possible – love at a distance, a chance to be with her. So Yes, I think he really did.
But she wasn’t his wife.
Yes, she wasn’t his wife, but she was his woman.
What does love for the Queen of France meant to him?
I think this love was an ” impossible love.” It was beyond all dreams. Very strong love. He could fall in love with any of the entire Kingdom except her. But it happened, and it became impossible. Impossible love.
And this will be a logical question. What is love to you?
Love for me is something unconditional, real.. True love is always wanting the best for the other person and for the people around you. And to do everything to help others. You just want the best for other people. But sometimes love means letting go…Romantically, it’s the same. Because this is not just a story about ” owning” an object of love or when you are owned, because here YOU love this person and you want the love of this person. Love is the ability to let go of the situation and be together despite the shortcomings of a person, not to change it. Even from an extreme point of view- someone does something terrible for you, but you love this person so much that you don’t pay attention to it. You say, ” Yes, I don’t agree with this, but I love you, and I give you freedom because I love you.”
You are a singer and composer. What are the next steps in your solo career?
Yes, I played in a couple of musicals. And I do not say that I don’t want to go back to musicals again. I certainly enjoyed playing many characters, and I would love to play in a play or in a movie, if it is a really interesting character. But now I’m 100% focused on my music. Because I’ve worked on this for years and I think it’s time to share my music with the world and with the fans, and I’m looking forward to what will happen when I release my first song. I’m currently working on distribution and it’s not possible to release an entire album yet, so I’ll be releasing song after song. The first one will be released this spring, then in the summer I hope to release the next one, and at the end of the summer I hope for a small album, something like an EP that will contain about 5 songs. After that, I will have a lot of concerts. My very first solo concert was in Paris this January. It was a great experience and the reaction from the audience was great. The next concert is planned this June-also in Paris. So Yes, this album is ready and there are several new songs on the way. Just written 25. This is a process that I work on day after day. Day after day.
This is really great!
What place did music means in your childhood and today?
Yes, I have already mentioned my mother’s contribution. I also constantly listened to music, such as the Beatles, the rolling stones, French music by Patrick Bruel and also Celine Dion.I loved old music and one of the reasons I became a dancer was because I was closely associated with music, because it’s always right in front of me. I was very passionate, very immersed in music, and one day I switched from listening to music to dancing.But when I started traveling, I tried to immerse myself in culture, I started listening to more flamenco and going to traditional concerts. When I lived in new York, I was interested in open air music festivals. And here in France, I like to listen to many artists. I’m also a big fan of classical French music. I’m talking about Edith Piaf and other French songs. In General, music is a big part of my life.
What’s your favorite song?
You know, I don’t really have any one favorite song, because they change all the time. One song I like now is called” Vienna ” by Billy Joel. Very beautiful song. It’s too hard for me to name one favorite, because there are a lot of different cool songs around. ” Ne Me Quitte Pas ” By Jacques Brel. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Continuing the conversation about the French language …. I love a song called “Quand reviendras tu?” by Barbara. This is a great singer. And Yes, a lot of modern in the style of pop, electro. I love Jack Johnson. When I lived in Barcelona, I listened to a lot of Jack Johnson…
What about rock songs?
I don’t really like rock, but what’s its name…. Marilyn Manson! I think it’s beautiful. Very emotional. And the rolling stones, there’s one song that stuck in my heart that was Paulo nutini. It sounds great!
Maybe French rock?
Well, there’s one I like… This is BB BRUNES – Dis-Moi. Very good and positive. French music is basically different from the English music I listen to. Because here you need to listen more to the text, not the music itself. But back to French rock. There is one singer that I think is admirable:”M ” (Matthieu Chedid). He’s very cool.
You know that our magazine is Russian. What do you know about our country?
Not many, but I knew a lot of Russian people in LA. My teacher was also Russian.I even learned a few Russian words. I have a passion for languages and I hope that one day I will continue to learn Russian. So I know very little about Russia. I know you like to make delicious soups. Of course I know about vodka, I won’t surprise anyone here.I like it too, sometimes I try it with other drinks, but not very often.
I hope to make a great trip to Russia one day. I saw a documentary about the long TRANS-Siberian railway, about trains that travel all over Russia. So Yes, I dream of traveling, and Your culture impresses me because it is so different from other cultures.Yes, you may be cold, but I think it will be interesting to see it from a different point of view and also dispel the belief that You never smile. A lot of people think I’m crazy because I like everyone to smile, but I’m not crazy – I’m friendly. Well, a little crazy, Yes!
But you’ve never been here?
No, unfortunately I never was.
Then we are waiting for you with your album here in Moscow.
Thanks. I hope you will come too.
Absolutely! Do you know any Russian singers or artists?
I know a couple of national songs, I know a Russian sports reporter – we met in new York and became good friends. His name is Sergey Gordeev. I think he is quite known in Russia. But I don’t know any Russian artists or singers. I listened to some Russian rap songs, but I can’t tell you who it was. It happened in my youth, my friends just showed me, so I can’t remember what kind of singer it was. But mostly, I listened to more national songs and a bit of rap music, Yes.
Tell me what are your plans for the post-quarantine period?
I hope that this will not last long, that at the end of April everything will be over and we will be able to go out again. And I want to finalize 5 songs that I’m working on now and soon I hope to be able to record them in the Studio with instruments. Professionally, it’s not such a bad time for me, and maybe I needed it to release my music. Now I’m doing online concerts on Instagram. This is not a live concert, but it is a huge experience for me and an opportunity to contact fans and present my music, because many people do not know it yet. So Yes – we are all waiting for the quarantine time to end and I will start promoting music and be able to go outside. I also hope that I will come with a tour to Russia.
What do you wish our readers?
Most of all, I wish everyone to stay healthy and safe. I wish to keep a little child in my heart and use the time of quarantine to communicate more with people around, pay attention to the most important things and come out after that even better than before
Interview author: Anastasia Carnot
Editor: Catherine Svergun
Prepared specifically for the publication «Из темноты кулис…»