Redcar Upgrade

Article publié le 4 novembre 2022

Text: Redcar. Photos: Anthony Arquier. Models: Alice Pas, Orane and Abla Sbihi. Creative director and stylist: Yann Weber.  Hairstyling: Eduardo Bravo. Make-up: Lyod Simmonds. Coordination mode: Matéo Ferreira. Photographer’s assistants: Kevin Drelon and Kim Soumpholphakdy. Talent Assistants: Nordine Boudjema. Assistant Stylist: Abla Sbihi. Hairstyling Assistant: Zhang Na. Make-up Assistant: Alan Milroy. Production: Aurea Productions. Production Assistants: Amélie Pietri and Raphaël.

In this intimate and flamboyant text, Redcar discusses his gender transition and the making of his third album, Redcar les adorables étoiles (Redcar the adorable stars), which he will perform live at the Cirque d’Hiver on November 9 and 10 as part of a new show that promises to be memorable. The Parisian singer wrote it after dislocating his knee in rehearsal, forcing him to take some time off which he used to indulge in a poetic introspection.

Dislocated my knee yesterday at the end of rehearsals.
It hurts.
The gap opened by the pain is also philosophical – these days I generally dwelve on philosophical, in special honor of my friend Mary, bathed in my tears in church. It’s true that I cry there. I have space for that here. I don’t know how to describe that space. I think it allows me to emulate my mother’s embrace. A warm and infinite place to soften in, to receive. The feeling in church is reconstructed, chilled by marble stones, and naturally, Mary stands facing me with all her stars and my own mother is truly gone, hence the tears, but the simulation of that embrace is important to me. Love that keeps going, but differently. Different instruments, different textures, different languages. The persistence of that love, feeling it deeply, is what led me to Mary. In church, I choose her, I throw away the books and the hierarchies, with a quick, sharp glance I scorn the recumbent statues, mortal men stealing from the splendor of human imagination to build their own thrones. I know what they did to our faith, just as I know what they did to women, to children, to God’s divine creatures, and to the shapeless forms of those who were meant to move us with their beauty. The beauty of the circus freak, exposed to the gaze of onlookers, his grasping and candid look, the dignity with which he endures being scrutinized, the onlooker’s secret desire to reach the purity of that look, the sweet blood of revenge found then in their contempt – this is a cycle that has existed since the dawn of time. We all seek out our humanity in the eyes of the other. We all discover it, in the end, in that which the other has stirred up within us.
Humanity in action, as in love.

Redcar : « We all seek out our humanity in the eyes of the other. We all discover it, in the end, in that which the other has stirred up within us. »

In a single gesture, a choice, those invincible urges of which passionate lovers speak.
The urges that precede even the mind and make the body move like an angel.
Ahead, in the absolute knowledge of the perfect concurrence of wind, spirit (spiritu), and flesh.
I have been working for months, almost two years now. If you’re getting precise on the whens of this opera, then the first song emerged during lockdown, a heavenly warning – me, exhausted by the piece after having produced and composed it in the same movement, a short hour, stunned by the words, shaken by them, by that persistence of the masculine, the howl of the call to order. I felt like I was being warned by something else, something larger than me – things were eluding me, but also poured out of me – on purpose. Cannabis had helped me with relaxation, socializing, accessing my subconscious without the terrifying filter of social performance. Masculinity, in my words and in my flesh and in my consciousness for as long as I can remember, has been the vehicle of my enlightenment, through re-membrance. I have always been. There is nothing to contradict this if I stick to my feelings, to the deep matter of my emotions. Flesh has always seemed profoundly strange to me, a face frozen amid an arsenal of reinterpretations and combinations of two genomes, an aberration, but that’s because I was already all within my spirit, my chaotic starry mind, my nuance, my style. So, I was that young man the songs were about. 
Suit, Dior Homme. Gloves, Avellano. Shoes, Kenzo. Sculpture, Damien Moulierac.
This song screamed it to me quite skillfully, from up there, but it wasn’t my mother, my mother speaks to me from inside my own heart, like those great loves you may have heard of, the ones that give you the absolute certainty, before your own death, that we were friends. We will meet again. The respect I have for you is immense, the respect I have for your quests, your deep desires and your dreams, I owe it to you, to your imagination, to your way of loving others, dazed with happiness, your way, your way of never letting the love you have for them die. Such words can only be felt. This voice was different.
I re-read Angels in America. I started writing about my transition, as if I were sleepwalking. I had to approach the truth first in dreams, through heavens, and the heavens themselves began to accompany me, out of mercy, compatio: they saw that I was serious, that I was moving toward poetry as a choice, a surrender, a celebration, a revisitation. The truth is, I am my mother’s son, I’ve inherited a very subtle relationship to the world’s exhilarations

Redcar : « There isn’t quite the right space for me yet. A man with a pussy. »

Love devastates me, sorrow drowns me, joy skyrockets me, and sometimes everything slips through my hands, like a torrent of dazzling, frightening colors, sometimes other bend back in fright of the eruptions, red fuchsia yellow, it’s a power I can somewhat control, and my blindness even pushed me to cover up my truth, masking on television for so long, the impossibility of understanding what I was putting myself through, this dull suffering I had no hold over, unable to visit you properly. I would punch the walls in hotel rooms, blood, relief and shame. Teams witnessed my suffering, an abstract kind of suffering because everything was blowing up, the numbers were blowing up. I was inside a crystal armor, singing the truth on stage and inside myself, claiming that life out of stage was yet « something else, » a charming, closeted young man, but what a nice closet it was. 
Jacket, Gucci. Shirt, Dior Homme. Tie, Giorgio Armani.
Decorate, decorate. There isn’t quite the right space for me yet. A man with a pussy, a man who remembers, playful girl little sweetie, young fellow with bandaged triceps wanting to re-member the feeling of fucking sticking his pussy against the man he loves, he closes his eyes and imagines his body shapeshifting for a second, I had read Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl on the plane in the United States per Deedee’s recommendation and my stomach ached from the plasticity his body allowed him. But since then, I have grown. I can journey further only because I have experienced all the pain and stellar openings of the past few years. In leaving, she taught me love, death, and life, three colors transfixed to my eyes to make me clairvoyant, a new life, a new space, the reorganization of the quantum field as she emerges into other dimensions, opening up my heart. By experiencing the agony of death in this opera, which I made half-awake, abandoning myself to the musical density of what I was hearing, by trusting myself, by encountering Mike and his incredible capacity to connect with the emotional aspect of a work, I’ve become more like the musician I ought to be. I am getting closer, I know it. I close my eyes at the gym and visualize this journey in a cloud of stars. I know what I want,
Deep enlightenment
Transcendence through art
Jacket and pants, Max Mara. Gloves, Avellano. Shirt and tie, Dior Homme.
I know I am protected in this pursuit, for art could be that bird lifting its wing to show me their red fluff, a sign from the archangel as I was praying. To get to Mike’s house, we pass a church dedicated to the archangel Michael. I don’t know what he is guided by, he is mysterious about it, like a real sensei, silent about those things he himself can’t explain (breath) but devoted, above all, to their arrivals and equipped, above all, with this piece of advice he keeps repeating to me, like an angel who has forgotten his own importance : just do.
Songs came to me at nine o’clock in the morning, as if I was hearing a symphony and had to throw myself into it, without judgment. I was questing for music like a madman possessed by grace: I think the answer was one of love, and I sincerely thank God for that. A single vocal take per song, one for each melodic line, so the lead first, then all the subsequent harmonies in one take: everything was playing at the same time, everything was already there, I was the feverish channeler of a work whose melodic implications I could not explain, my fingers running over the keyboard to transcribe. Above all, this is what I love about music. The rest is beyond me.
Total Look, Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture.
Sessions to find four hooks per song are beyond me. The hi-fi approach to « please » the ear, glossy beats, a silky audio bed for an ad, are beyond me. I want to be a brave poet, one that seeks the rough edge of ecstasy, of existence, Van Gogh’s spinning sun.
With my music, I want to paint intense landscapes, valleys, and temporal accidents, diffractions of light, arrival of angels. I have been praying to Michael for so long, and Gabriel is like that distant friend I would like to be able to call but don’t know very well. I forged myself as a disciple of the angels, a zealous messenger, I want them there, in the distance, on the metal-studded bridge near Gare du Nord as I ride my bike through the honking cars. When I pass a red one, I express my gratitude to the heavens. 

Redcar : « Songs came to me at nine o’clock in the morning, as if I was hearing a symphony and had to throw myself into it, without judgment. »

I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me. My meta Kaufman promotion TikToks, flooded with insults because I had smoked a joint publicly, made me laugh, as did people’s aggressive reactions. When I was younger, I might have cried about those classic misunderstandings between self and audience, others’ projections of you when you haven’t even said a word, phones you have to hold up to your face when in truth all I wanted was conversation, but now I know we’re all in the same boat, and I tell everyone the truth, because I promised Mary that if I was finally going to put myself in the public eye again, I would stand behind all the potential monstrosity of my truth (a woman who is a man I N S I D E, SOMEONE WHO PROMISED TRUE LOVE), that I would do it for the common good, to be a better person, someone who would finally become generous again. And for now, I’m holding on to it, so I tell them
No more pictures
I’ve read Jodo
I’ve seen the stars, their senseless laughter
I believe in reincarnation
I practice the beauty of presence, the mystery of presence
The unctuous, milky presence on stage
(in theater the stage is called the plateau, and I think that’s pretty good, the elevated stages of bacchanalia, the rising stage of consciousness)
Total Look, Maison Margiela Haute Couture.
Everyone usually gets it pretty quickly, and I think it’s great that we’re embarking on my chemical experiment together, that at the very least, my transparency lets my madness shine through in the right way.
Red is the latest upgrade
My leg gave out yesterday
Like a ray of flashing yellow in the middle of the stage
I distinctly felt the knee pop off the kneecap, I was singing to the stars
Remembering this brings shivers to my spine, cause I knew the instant it happened that my body was failing me, and the show wouldn’t go on as planned.
I had been ramping up preparations for weeks and to be honest, I am still continuing to work on this project. It sleeps with me at night, percolates with me during the day. I’ve probably buckled under the weight of my own hopes, including the delirious but honest ones of angels who could come and find me, who could promise me that I haven’t dreamt it all up. When I was in the house in Pasadena with my fellow travelers on the shamanic journey, I ran into the bathroom, overflowing with joy, to finally discover my face. I saw myself,
at last,
For what I was. 
Suit and shirt, Dior Homme. Latex top and gloves, Avellano.
Beyond dysphoria, out of context and consciousness, even; my closet has been stringent, I mean, stringent, even for me. I was out of reach. I was, first of all, my mother’s daughter, and it’s common, apparently, that grief can free you from certain performances, which are also performances of love – we protect, too, we accompany. I had been my mother’s fellow traveler and I know that she knows it. We know each other. We spoke to each other on that shamanic journey, during which I saw my own face. My name has just echoed in my head, but this name is special, it’s like a perfume, one we quest for all life long, a chalice. This name will infuse my life, my whole life, into the deepest recesses of my skin. It will change my face, my life, my consciousness; it will make me truer, and by true I mean close to the vibrating light you emit when you’ve just escaped from the source.
The clear spring.
I am a poet-painter, I am a mad jester. My name is Red. I am elegant. I am hungry.
I limp. 
Total Look, Maison Margiela Haute Couture. Sculpture, Damien Moulierac
I wondered if I was being punished. I still think about it a little because I have a deep history of guilt that I shed in translucent scraps when I cry in church. I cry for her, Mary, the beautiful one, for those who wash and dry and love and forgive and repair and give their pussies and asses and tits and answer the phone and burn alive on the altar of their own immensity. We assemble the bundles of wood and sculpt ourselves into recumbent statues, and of course I can’t forget when I step into a church. But I think of church in its purest form, as asylum. I protest the five o’clock closing time, because any wretched of body and mind should be able to find shelter anytime there.
I am going to try to be patient, my show was supposed to be presented this September, but the injury has caused me to postpone it by at least one month. The opera was coming together so well over the last few days, all the references in it distilled into rays of light on the stage, Pink Narcissus meets Angels in America, and yet I am not acting, I’m getting high before swirling on stage like a sun, drunk on my now divinely incandescent situation. 

Redcar : « I want to be a brave poet, one that seeks the rough edge of ecstasy, of existence. »

I was supposed to write twenty thousand characters, but I’ve changed, you know. I used to delight in rivers of words, I used to make the wip of my wit resonate, but now I’ve lifted the veil and I see language for what it is, too, a mask, a mirror, something transactional, approaching but never truly encapsulating the truth of all that pulses.
Jacket, pants and shirt, Gucci. Plain tie, Louis Vuitton. Patterned tie, Dior Homme. Shoes, Steven Ma. Gloves, Avellano.
I am wary. I am silent and obsessive,
Stretching toward the stage where I shatter,
And there, I will extend myself in patience, in resilience,
Keep my leg straight and outstretched knowing not what else to say, because my words have been as though thwarted from within,
By perceptions
The distance of the paper
The imperfection of my own story
I would prefer to be near you,
I become unruly and capricious with language, as if testing a rubber band’s elasticity,
I’m not afraid it will break
I stretch it for what it is – a bow
I feel ready to live, whether in absolute mystery or not,
The right vibration 

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