“Beyond the touchline, there is nothing”, declared Philosopher and former football hopeful Jacque Derrida – a statement that Eric Cantona has made a point of honour challenging throughout his life, most noticeably on 11th May 1997, when having played his last game and swapped his number 7 Manchester United shirt for his opponent’s, he put an end to a career beyond compare.
From that day, the man dubbed the “enfant terrible”, the “wild boy”, the “brat”, but also crowned the “King”, as much for his on-field heroics as for his wild antics, has made a name for himself beyond the pitch like no other great sportsman before him. As well as being an actor on stage and on screen – more famously for directors Alain Corneau and Ken Loach – he also paints, writes poetry and picked up photography, not merely as post-career hobbies, but as an extension of his lifetime achievement, stemming from the absolute necessity to express himself creatively. Music was to be the last missing piece in this compelling quest, an omission that he makes up for today with his first two songs “The Friends We Lost” and “Tu Me Diras”, for which he wrote the music and lyrics in English and French and soon to be followed by two more and a run of shows, leading to the release of a live album.
“Music has always been a part of my life”
Recorded and produced by Johan Dalgaard at the La Frette Studios (next to paris), and enhanced by his unique voice, “The Friends We Lost” and “Tu Me Diras” show us a side of Cantona that’s intimate and deep. Supported by a very classic guitar-piano-string combo, it connects with you, putting an instant smile on your face, in the way a long-lost friend does when he suddenly reappears out of nowhere.
Yet, living intensely remains something Éric Cantona has never stopped doing. Firing up crowds, setting passions alight like few others, he was determined to rekindle this feeling by making the stage the ultimate goal of his musical endeavours. “Next year, I’ll be playing with a band, but for now I’m starting with a modest piano to play alongside me in intimate venues. I’ll be starting in Manchester, because it’s a city that has stayed with me so much. For the football of course, but also the general atmosphere”. It’s a life dream that has become a reality.