Santa releases his first solo album: “Anyone who doesn’t like Celine Dion, I don’t like them!”

Santa releases his first solo album: “Anyone who doesn’t like Celine Dion, I don’t like them!”
Santa releases his first solo album: “Anyone who doesn’t like Celine Dion, I don’t like them!”

The singer of the group Hyphen Hyphen has just released her first album entitled “Recommence-moi”.

A record both epic and intimate which is already at the top of all the rankings.

The hit “Salted Popcorn”, the influence of Céline Dion, her time at Star Ac… She talks to TF1info.

After signing THE French-speaking hit of the year 2023 with the heartbreaking “Popcorn salé”, has Santa just released the landmark album of 2024? Barely published, “Recommence-moi” has just moved to the top of all physical and digital rankings. A record on which the singer of the group Hyphen Hyphen, her real name Samantha Cotta, explores her love of great melodies that are both intimate and popular.

Did the success of “Pop-Corn Salé” have an influence on the content of this first album?

He had an influence in the sense that he pushed me to release the album. Previously, the songs were written in piano-voice, but they were not “dressed up”. Just like “Popcorn Salé” which was not made to be listened to by people other than me. Suffice to say that it is a delight to see that a song written like that, in my room, has met so many ears and crossed so many hearts. It upsets me.

When you say that it was only made for you, is that modesty?

Strict modesty! (Laughs) It’s a very intimate love song that helped me get through a period of chaos. Because I think that love is the last and even the only great feeling that can save us! But it was not written with the awareness that it was going to be listened to. Moreover, the recording, which has now been listened to millions of times, was made in my room, a bit like a memo. Subsequently, I never managed to recapture this surge of sincerity that I had achieved with a microphone and a piano.

The public took ownership of this song and its lyrics. What don’t we know about him?

If I wanted to vent, I would have already done so! But that wouldn’t have been honest with myself. I hate immodesty and often regret it. What I wanted to say is audible in this song and I don’t like adding commas. It dilutes me.

Until now, you sang in English with Hyphen Hyphen. Where did the decision to switch to French come from? Is it really more intimate as is often said?

I never imagined myself singing in French. But I never imagined myself singing either! Initially, I got into it because there was no one to sing in the group. And I learned how to propel my voice on stage. Afterwards, I am often asked the question of the difference between French and English… and in reality, I have never asked myself the question! These songs come from an automatic writing impulse, a bit like “action paintig”. Often I’m behind my piano and I see my hands moving, literally. I am not in control of what I do. I’m just telling myself. But you want to know the real difference? There are way too many consonants in French! Even if I have a lot of fun with it. For example with the “r” in “Start me again”…

At Céline, I don’t hear the technicality. I hear someone talking


If I tell you that “Recommence-Moi” sounds very Céline Dion…

Now that I listen to it again, yes. But when I dial it, I just think my left hand starts vibrating and swinging. We are in a new rhythm, that of starting again. On the record, it comes after “Popcorn Salé” because it embodies a form of rupture and continuity in the sense that I continue to sing about love. But it’s spring, so we have to dance!

Dancing is also part of Céline’s world, right?

Especially in Goldman’s album “D’eux”. As someone who had never listened to French variety music before, it was a record that had an almost unconscious impact. Today, when we make French dance songs, there is a reminiscence of Céline Dion. But knock on wood, I blush at the comparison.

This may seem surprising coming from someone like you who has a strong Anglo-Saxon culture. But in reality everyone loves Céline, right?

Everyone loves Céline! In any case, those who don’t like Céline, I don’t like them! Let it be clear! (Laughs). At Céline, I don’t hear the technicality. I hear someone talking. And that’s why his songs resonated with me as they resonated with millions of listeners around the world. The emotion is pure.

One of the most beautiful songs on your album is called “Eva”. Is it inspired by a particular person?

I don’t want to say who Eva is. Already because it would remove a little artistic blur. Eva embodies a surge of freedom that exists in each of us. We imagine it. And then giving it a face would be as difficult as adapting a book to the cinema. Often, we are disappointed with the result. All I can say is that there’s a lot of me in Eva. And I hope there will be many of you.

If this album were a film, what would it look like?

It would be a Spielberg! But a Spielberg with a light that is as soft as it is flashy. It would depend on the plans. The scenario would be a continual “Up and down”. A bit like Thelma and Louise by Ridley Scott but directed by Spielberg. With immense suspense until the end credits!

On the record, there is only one guest, Christophe Willem, who sings with you on “Tears do not flow”. Why him and no one else?

At the beginning, I wasn’t going to do a duet at all on this album. Not out of lack of collusion with the other artists, but because I wanted to tell my story first. Christophe, we met on a radio set, and I saw a new voice that our two voices formed. A new budding friendship too, which is rare. I invited him for coffee at my place. The coffee has “lengthened”. It was such a lovely moment that I got behind the piano. And it happened. We talked about it and I wrote it for him and for us. Then we went into the studio and I think we took it somewhere new.

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We saw you sing at “Star Academy” with Helena. Could you have been a student in such a show?

No ! Besides, I refused all shows of this type when I started. I don’t judge them, I even think it takes a lot of courage to go there. It’s just not my way of telling myself. We are caught in a whirlwind and I like to be the master of my destiny. I think I would have lost control and it wouldn’t have been pleasant. That’s why I have a lot of respect for young people who do this because it’s so intense, so psychologically complex. I wouldn’t have been able to. In any case, I really liked this season and this kind of “entertainment” because it puts the song, and even the variety when we talk about Pierre Garnier, on a new level. So I welcome that with great joy.




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