“Elevator music has its virtues: you can hear it everywhere!” exclaims French pianist Richard Clayderman, 68, who is releasing his 35th album this month, after decades of sweetening the lives of his listeners.
“Forever Love” is the title of Clayderman’s new work, which brings together unpublished pieces and adaptations by artists far removed from his style, such as the British Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.
If anything has characterized the music of Richard Clayderman, it is his versatility, especially since his planetary success “Balada para Adelina”, from 1977. A very simple melody that sold more than 22 million copies in 38 countries.
Forty-five years later, this classically trained musician is still in disbelief at that enormous success. “I was very surprised. The composer Paul de Senneville proposed to me one day to adapt his ‘Ballad for Adelina’ to the piano. We said to each other: ‘let’s see what comes out…'”, he recalls in an interview with AFP.
Clayderman has given more than 2,000 concerts throughout his career, has recorded more than 1,400 songs and has sold more than 90 million albums in total.
The composition “was an incredible trigger for my career. And that we were in the middle of the disco period…” he recalls.
“It’s a simple melody, which became universal and touched the hearts of many people. Since then I haven’t stopped,” adds this artist who has two million followers on Facebook.
Clayderman is preparing to present his new album in Latin America, the United States, Canada and China.
He started playing at the age of five. Her father was a piano teacher and taught in the living room at home.
“I was naturally attracted to him. He gave me the foundations and I entered the conservatory at the age of 12,” he recalls.
After the success of “Balada para Adelina” he came to play thirteen times at the prestigious Pleyel classical music hall in Paris.
“I’ve always had detractors. Classically trained musicians still don’t understand it, except those who accompany me on stage,” he explains.
“At the end of the concert they realize the fervor of the public. It’s like a kind of revenge,” he adds.
“My best reward is the children who start with the piano through my songs,” he reflects.
Clayderman still considers himself “a modest interpreter”, especially of the French composer Paul de Senneville, who cannot play any instrument, but who “has the gift of finding melodies that speak to people”.
“My job is to retranscribe them for the piano and perform them. And I spend a lot of time making them sound good,” he adds.
Then-first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan, gave him a nickname in the 1980s that has followed him everywhere: “Prince of Romanticism.”
“I place myself between a classical pianist and a popular music pianist. This nickname of ‘prince of romanticism’ suits the music I play very well. In France it is a bit pejorative,” he acknowledges.
“It is already known: ‘nobody is a prophet in his land’…”, he says with a smile.