"When I was 8, I realized that we had to fight"

From Annick Cojean

"The World" questions a personality from a decisive moment of its existence. This week the singer returns to the main meeting with her singing teacher.

Singer Barbara Hendricks celebrated her 70th birthday on December 10, 2018, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this occasion, the Swede born in Arkansas produced a compilation of classic tunes and an album of blues and gospel.

I would not be here if …

… If I had not met an extraordinary singing teacher, Jennie Tourel, while I was still a student of mathematics. She saw me, accompanied, inspired. But much more than that: she showed me what an artist could be and what a gift should be.

You hesitated to participate in a singing career?

I had a talent, it was undeniable. But the idea of ​​using this privilege to flatter my ego or make money did not satisfy me. And singing gave me so much intense joy that as a daughter of a good Protestant pastor I was almost guilty of making my work. I needed greater motivation, more noble, more inspiring. Something that surpasses me. Transcends me! Jennie Tourel gave me this cause to which I aspired. His dedication showed me that an artist is someone who puts himself entirely at the service of his art. With fervor and humility. It gave a deep meaning to my life.

And a responsibility?

Huge! Because you have to be at the service of music, you have to work hard and constantly question yourself. Releasing the need to seek public recognition to serve the score and the composer in a modest way. I remember a fashion designer making me a sumptuous and extravagant dress for a recital one day. So I had to explain to him: when I stand on stage and when I go out, OK, I think the audience thinks me elegant; but as soon as the piano and the orchestra begin to play, the dress must disappear immediately, no one has to think about it!

Because nothing is more important than music?

And that we all strive for this moment of grace, where the audience hears music with one ear and feels the same vibrations. As if the music bypassed our arrogant brain, desiring to keep everything under control, and went straight to the source to remind us, in a thousandth of a second, that we are part of this family called humanity. This is the raison d & # 39; être of art. Create a moment of sharing, remember this powerful and mysterious link that connects us with the origin of the human condition.