The final of the Voix des Outre-mer competition was held on January 10, 2022, in Paris. Pierre Olguens Mathieu, Guyanese candidate, looks back on his musical adventure. This physics and chemistry teacher describes this experience as a dream come true, an accomplishment and a seized opportunity.
The Voix des Outre-Mer 2021 competition ended on January 10, 2022. It was won by candidate Angélord Blaise, originally from Haiti. This year, the participants came from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific but also Haiti. Guyana was represented by Pierre Olguens Mathieu, 35 years old. This physics-chemistry professor at Lise Ophion college (Matoury) did not win a prize at the end of the national meeting. Nevertheless, the baritone leaves this adventure with his eyes filled with stars. In an interview, he looks back on his rich musical adventure.
How did the national final go?
We worked hard to prepare for the final, in a very friendly atmosphere. At the end, I had a feeling of accomplishment. The objective for me was to validly represent the territory of Guyana. I didn’t have a prize but I think I represented it well.
What song did you choose to perform in the final?
I chose to sing a song called “Questo amor, vergogna mia”. He tells the story of a boy who loves a girl. Whenever he confesses to her that he loves her, she laughs at him. After everything he’s done, he decides to let go of this relationship because he never gets there. Ultimately, he considers this relationship a shame. I have a friend I was bothering about because he loved a girl, but she didn’t want him, so he insisted. When I stumbled upon the song, I thought of him and thought to myself: “Ah! This is going to be good.”
What was the highlight of your adventure?
When I arrived on the stage of the Paris Opera! It’s a dream come true. I did what was necessary to get there: I participated three times in the Voix des Outre-mer de Guyane competition to be here.
What has your participation in the Voix des Outre-mer competition brought you?
I have met quite a few people, like the Japanese pianist Kazuko Awashima. Other finalists also heard me sing, came up to me and cheered me on. They told me that with the instrument that I have, even though I did not receive an award, I have the possibility of making a career. They inspired me a lot. So far, we are chatting via WhatsApp. We exchange advice, because to have a career in classical music, you have to be surrounded.
Today the competition is over, how is your return to your teaching life going?
For now, there is no demarcation between these two lives. When I teach I’m not a singer, but the two go very well. My students have known that I have been singing since my first participation in the competition. At each recess, they came towards me: “sir, we are counting on you!“They are great students! Every day, two to four students, especially from 6th grade, come to see me. It really touches me. I also performed my service with the aim of making them proud.
A word for Guyanese who want to get into classical music?
In Guyana, there are not 1000 opportunities for people who make classical music. The Voix des Outre-mer competition is one of the rare opportunities. At the conservatory, there are teachers who train us, but there is no show afterwards, for example. The message I want to send to young people is the following: the 2022 edition of the competition will start soon, if they want to get into classical music, they should take advantage of the opportunity this competition offers. For me, it was a very good experience.