We met him in his favourite hotel at the heart of his neighbourhood: the 10th arrondissement of Paris.
Dance was your first passion; after being picked for a George Michael music video, you almost got to dance for Madonna…
“When I started to take dance seriously and to have some success as a dancer, I had this obsession: to dance for Madonna. [She] was someone who would put different body shapes on stage, give space to individualities. After going through some health issues, I trained myself again, learned new types of dance, and finally made it to the audition. It was very selective. I went all the way up, until the last round. When they didn’t pick me, they explained it was because they couldn’t find me a suitable partner.”
What made you turn to a career in music?
“I came back from New York very deflated – I felt like I had done everything I wanted to do in the dance world. Then I reflected on myself, and wondered what I had to say as an artist, why I wanted to dance for that woman. The first time I was touched by Madonna, it was when she did ‘Like A Prayer’. It was my first political wake-up call. In hindsight, I realised I’d always loved music, always tried to make some. But being from a very modest family, it was difficult to access instruments. So I thought, ‘Instead of being on stage to support someone else’s message, why wouldn’t I create my own message, tell my own story? It’s worth telling’.
“I wanted to do it in a way that would make people dance, with a modern feel. House music, which was something I discovered through dance, was presented to us in France as something that wasn’t black and gay, but a very white and elitist scene. I first heard it through hip hop and house dance, although even house dance was itself a rather elitist circle. It’s only when a friend contacted me to come to a Jersey gig that I discovered it was the perfect mix between hip hop and house. That’s how I discovered the black, LGBT+ roots of house, and I felt it was the perfect medium for me to communicate without openly talking about homosexuality.”
Read this next: Politics and dance music are intertwined and there’s nothing you can do about it
You’ve worn many hats on the club and electronic scene: door picker, promoter, dancer and now DJ…
“Around the same period, 2010, I got a residence at the Social Club – Opulence. The first one was with MikeQ. And that’s the same time that I got into the voguing scene. Lasseindra Ninja and Steffie Mizrahi got in touch, told me that young people needed more competitions – they existed, but in non gay-friendly settings, like hip hop competitions. I went for the idea as a way to start my night, so when people came for the DJ set there was already a vibe. When I saw them dance, I understood how I would have loved to have something like that when I was younger. Immediately I wanted to get involved, help them with my existing contacts in clubs, find DJs, and so on.”