Christine Hérin, professionally known as Dolche, is an Italian–French multilingual singer, composer and songwriter that caught my attention after releasing – right during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 – a great single dedicated to my hometown, Rome.
Dolche‘s music style is truly unconventional, alternative and eclectic, and encompasses a lot of different genres and influences, including classical, electronic and folk.
Following the success of this super cool track titled Roma, Christine released a single every month up until the release of her latest album Exotic Diorama, in October 2020.
I met her for a quick Q&A about languages, music and life.
Christine, you sing in Italian, English, German and French; how do you decide on the right language for a specific project?
It comes quite naturally. I usually write songs in French, but some of them just come better in Italian. I have quite a strong French accent in English because I’ve never sung in English before, and I started studying this language relatively late in life. So, English is still quite new to me, although I love it very much. What’s more, I love to speak and sing in different languages: despite being all different, languages can and do convey the same feelings and emotions. I composed a song called Why Because in which I sing in English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian and French altogether.
How did you come up with the track Roma, and what does the city of Rome mean to you?
This song was spontaneously born when I was living in New York, far away from Rome. A few places on earth are as special as Rome and New York… Rome is so romantic and melancholic and just feels like home to me… I learned so much from this city and from the Romans. On the other hand, New York is vivid and restless. I recently read an article written by The New York Times’ Rome bureau chief Jason Horowitz that basically describes the Romans through a lot of clichés calling them lazy and undisciplined, but my experience in Rome has been much more profound than that. There’s just so much in this town in terms of culture, diversity and respect… Rome has witnessed the rise and fall of entire empires over so many centuries. This city has helped me change so much, and for the better.
What was your dream job as a child?
I always wanted to be a musician, I never had a different dream job.
How would you define your music genre and where do you get your inspiration from?
This is a difficult question I’m always asked, and I never know what to answer! I play many different music genres using many music registers, my influences include Johann Sebastian Bach, Joni Mitchell, Björk and everything in the between. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Jimi Hendrix as “a visionary who collapsed the genre boundaries of rock, soul, blues, and jazz”; well, even if I am not Jimi Hendrix, I can relate to his vision and his dislike for strict definitions.
What do you think of TV programmes like The X Factor and BBC talent shows?
I never watch them, they make me quite sad, to be honest. I believe talent shows contributed to the death of independent music even though they were originally born to launch unknown independent artists. They also contributed to the misconception that you just need to have a good voice or some special talent to be able to make it, but there’s a lot of hard work behind the scene, and you must love every drop of sweat and every sacrifice you make, or you won’t last in the music industry. Many of these boys and girls get depressed after reaching success quickly and they failed even quicker. Being in the spotlight has never really interested me, and it shouldn’t interest any other artist either: we love to perform, we love being heard, we love to tell our stories and to make music. Playing in front of ten or ten thousand people has always felt the same to me; what really matters is to make and play good music. All the rest comes and goes.
This is exactly what Prince used to say, that “an audience of ten people deserves the same respect as an audience of thousands”.
What achievement are you most proud of?
To have learned how to believe in myself; it has been and it still is a difficult journey. I also learned to be proud of my unconventional way of being – always.
Are there any artists you would particularly love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with David Byrne, Jacob Collier and Stromae.
Would you like to add anything else? New projects, new plans?
In addition to releasing an album and a having baby this autumn, I’m also currently working on a new album. I already started writing the songs. Actually, I never stop working!
★ For more stories of inspiring women check our interviews with Academy Award winner Lina Wertmüller, Imelda May, Amy Macdonald, Tally Koren, Alice Merton, British Soprano Joanna Forest, Maia Zakay, Veronica ‘La Spora’ Benini and Katrina from Katrina and The Waves
★ And if you love songs about Rome, don’t forget to read From Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day to singing lullabies: interview with Morcheeba’s Skye Edwards