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Kids Can Flow! Dream Catcher

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Just back from tearing up the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Paris (and cutting his first album), 13-year-old rapper Enzo Hilaire settles in for a Zoom chat with Ray Au


Enzo Hilaire released his first album, Tic Tac L’album, with Warner Music in Paris, on December 17, 2021; he placed third in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest two days later; and he made it to the final with judge Soprano in season 7 of The Voice Kids France back in August 2020. It’s been a busy 18 months or so for the former Discovery College student.

Just back from Paris, quarantining with his family in Thailand en route to Hong Kong, Enzo enthusiastically agrees to a Zoom interview. Totally at ease in front of the camera, he’s clearly Gallic – a big gesticulator, almost constantly in motion. “It’s 21 days quarantine in all, and it’s going to be extremely long, but I’ve got food and I’ve got my phone, so I think I’ll be fine,” he opens with a chuckle. “Here in Hua Hin, I’ve got an amazing view as well; and we’re in a good hotel so I’m happy.”

Happy about quarantining? Enzo’s positivity is one of the first things you note about him, that and his wild shock of rap-star hair. His enthusiasm is infectious; his passion, drive, dedication, humility, and raw ambition quickly shine through. Am I sensing star quality? The bigwigs at Warner, Junior Eurovision and The Voice Kids France clearly think so.

French-born Enzo was in his living room, playing with his dog, when his father Francois received the email from France Television asking him to represent France at Junior Eurovision. “I was super happy, super excited,” Enzo says. “For me it was a dream to represent a country that I absolutely love, that’s in my blood.” And Enzo thinks he knows why Eurovision pursued him. “I’m a singer and a rapper,” he points out. “They listened to my YouTube channel, and on my YouTube channel, there are lots of urban songs, lots of pop songs, a lot of sad songs. I feel like there’s a range of different music styles.” (See for yourself at www.youtube.com/c/EnzoHilaire.)

Enzo was in Paris for six months. “I spent an absolutely amazing time there – every day achieving and realising my dreams,” he says. “I remember watching stars like Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson do studio recordings and interviews, being on stage, going on T V and that finally happened to me.”

Finally? Amusing as it is to anyone over, oh, 25, that a secondary schooler could feel his big break was a long time coming, it’s best to bear in mind how youth-driven the modern music industry is. Justin Bieber (Enzo’s a fan of The Biebs – check his superb cover of Lonely on YouTube) is 27 years old and has been a pop star half his life.

At 13, Enzo is just about the right age to start a music career in these youthful, TikTok/ Instagramhero days. He’s a step ahead of the game too – 30 million people watched him perform at Eurovision on a massive stage with video drones overhead. So, what was that like?

“It was the best part of this whole experience,” Enzo says looking slightly bemused. He’s being asked to state the obvious, right? “People are watching you but they’re just like, having fun… they’re jumping! Just thinking about it makes me want to do it again. It’s so addictive.”

No nerves then? “It was kind of nerve-racking but when you’re in the moment – you’re concentrating, you’ve got your microphone, you’ve got your back-up dancers, you’ve got your lights, you’ve got everything you could possibly have – your mind is straight. You want to achieve your goal. I was stressed but I put it to one side. My passion and joy always come first.” And how about the other contestants? Did everybody get along? “Of course, we did,” Enzo says gently, again slightly baffled by the question. “We were all in the same hotel and it was so cool to share the moment with them. They’re feeling basically the same thing I’m feeling – excited, kind of stressed. We just all love each other. Incredible!”

Tic Tac, the song Enzo performed at Eurovision, was written and composed by French singer-songwriter and music technician Alban Lico. Enzo points to its originality. “Thousands of songs come out every day but for me there’s nothing a bit like Tic Tac,” he says. “People either love it or hate it. I love that song: It makes you want to dance, makes you want to jump, makes you want to have a good time.”

Tic Tac, Enzo explains, also has an important message: “Slow down time, do everything with passion and don’t precipitate.”

ENzo profile

As prolific as Enzo is on YouTube, his first studio recording session was in France, and he goes into raptures about the learning curve. “Before I came to France I knew about music, I knew how to do the basics but studio recording… that’s like a whole different side of music. When we were making Tic Tac L’album (available on most streaming platforms), I saw the producers mixing the sounds; I saw them taking their time without wasting any time; I saw them doing everything efficiently.

“Seeing all these talented people working around me and for me was an honour, a responsibility as well,” Enzo adds. “Staying humble is the most important aspect of this adventure. Warner is one of the biggest labels in the world. Just to be on it is incredible; just to think about that is incredible.”

In France, Enzo got to meet a lot of Warner musicians, many of whom, like Barbara Pravi, he describes as his idols. He has a special shout-out for Alban Lico: “Just being in the same studio as him was amazing, I got to see different sides of his work. He’s one of the most music-talented and music-smart guys I’ve ever met. You might think he was only with me to record Tic Tac but in fact he came to record a lot of the songs on the album.”

Two of those songs, are Enzo’s own? “Yes!” he says, practically dancing in his chair with excitement. “On my album you can find two songs that I composed and wrote at home in Cheung Sha, and I got the chance to record them in a professional Warner studio. There’s Stars Aligned which I made just after The Voice final, and Broken Heart, a song that means a lot to me because it talks about my uncle who passed away a year ago. I was really close to him, that’s why I dedicated it to him.

“People see me as Tic Tac man,” Enzo adds. “But actually, I sing a lot of songs, like songs by Lil Baby and Travis Scott. They’re inspirations to me. I feel like people don’t know that. That’s why I think people should go listen to my album.”

Enzo is returning to France in two months’ time… He can’t say much about future plans but hints at another album in the works and a couple more singles coming out soon.

For now, he’s busy homeschooling with an online school (British Curriculum), which he loves. “It’s the perfect combination, a miracle! I’m learning important subjects every day but at the same time having more time for my passion, more time to work on my craft. “I heard an interview once and someone said hard work is luck. So, people can say I’m lucky or whatever, but I work super hard too.”

Ask Enzo how friends have reacted to his success, and he hesitates for the first time. “I wouldn’t say it’s a success,” he says. “I feel like I can say it’s an improvement. I’ve achieved a lot of my dreams but there are bigger dreams I want to achieve. It’s not over, I’m working every day, I can be better – we can always be better!

“Move on! Let’s go!” Enzo finishes. “Big things are coming soon – really big things! I think you’ll be surprised! Stay tuned!”

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Comment(s) on - Kids Can Flow! Dream Catcher

  • AlbaFernández. Reply

    I’m so proud of Enzo.He deserve all of this,and more.

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