Not so long ago, La Zarra was still a hairdresser in Montreal. Next Saturday, she will represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest, in front of millions of viewers. This shows the path traveled for this Quebec singer of Moroccan origin, who is now making a career in France.
We already know some things about his scheduled performance on Saturday.
That the song will be called Obviously, in a style mixing variety pop and French song. That she will wear a very glam big black dress. And that the staging looks “dangerous”.
In an article published Friday after her first rehearsal at the Bank Arena in Liverpool (where the contest is held), the French news site 20 minutes reports that the singer-songwriter will appear three meters high, on a cylindrical moving platform. .
“There’s a whole mechanic that’s going to make it go up and down. The Zarra will therefore have a seat belt, which she will have to unfasten when she finds herself on the ground, then reattach to go back up, ”says Alexandra Redde-Amiel, head of the French delegation to Eurovision, at 20 minutes. “Everything is carefully thought out for her, so that the performance is iconic. »
“With the right staging, she can sneak in,” says William Lee Adams, Eurovision pundit and creator of Wiwiblogs. “She’s going to please the jury because of her voice and she’s going to please the people because she’s from the people. She has the attitude of a drag queen, that confidence that seems to say, I don’t care what you think of me…”
This is not the first time that a Quebecer has taken part in the Eurovision contest.
Natasha St-Pierre also represented France in 2001, finishing 4th. Celine won for Switzerland in 1988. And a former Watatatow! performer, Annie Cotton, finished third in 1993, also for Switzerland.
Two English-speaking Canadians also went through Eurovision, namely Sherisse Laurence, representative of Luxembourg (3rd in 1986) and Rykka, again for Switzerland, 18th in 1996.
Three weeks ago, however, the singer gave her team cold sweats by refusing to appear on stage in Amsterdam during a preparatory show.
This absence “for personal reasons” caused a lot of talk in the French media, which criticized this apparent whim of a diva, a rumor fueled by a reputation as a demanding and not always easy artist.
La Presse immediately tried to talk to him, but the record company let us know that La Zarra was not receiving.
However, she ended up posting a message on social networks to reassure her supporters. “This is the home stretch and I am more determined than ever to wear the colors of France with pride and love,” she said on April 26. We are going to make the Liverpool scene sparkle. We have prepared a dazzling, dangerous and “so chic” French show. »
His “Eurovisian” performance is one more step in La Zarra’s astonishing rise.
Discovered in 2016 by Benny Adam, Montreal hip-hop producer of Moroccan origin, the former hairdresser, whose real name is Fatima Zahra Hafdi, was directly drafted by Universal France, without going through the Montreal box.
The multinational has obviously invested a lot in this promising singer, who claims as much Edith Piaf as the Algerian Warda. Her first single, Tu t’en iras, was certified platinum in France in 2021, while she appeared in a number of variety shows intended to promote the product.
Exceptionally this year, there was no preliminary competition to designate the representative of France at Eurovision. La Zarra’s choice was made behind closed doors. Through lobbying by Universal? Possible, but not certain, concludes William Lee Adams.
“Sometimes record companies absorb some of the cost of applying for an artist, it’s an incentive for the broadcaster. But in the case of La Zarra, I think she was really chosen for her talent. The French team is starving. She wants to win the contest more than any other country. So I would tend to believe that his choice was motivated by quality…”