Turpin: “I believe and I sing my faith”

A "boulversée" life, followed by the return to Catholicism, spread around the Country and across the world with his songs

A warm and melodious voice, Grégory Turpin, “Christian singer”, according to his self-description, is renowned across the French Catholic world, and not only. Born in 1980, Grégory has a “boulversée” life, as the French put it. He discovered faith at 15, at 18 he entered the Carmelites of Montpellier with the wish to become a priest, but after a year he was forced to leave for health reasons. He started singing in the bars of Toulouse to make a living, and nightlife gave him the thrill of success, but also of cocaine. Years of anguish and hardships ensued, Grégory abandoned music and drugs and slowly climbed the slope, until in 2004 he started singing again. Since then he released three albums, countless concerts, meetings and talks with young people. In his latest album, “Mes racines” (My roots, 2014) he “resumed the most renowned melodies, our childhood music and that path of faith of those inside or near the life of the Church and have not yet crossed the borders”, Turpin said in an interview with Sarah Numico for SIR Europe. You put music at the service of faith. How does this form of evangelization work? “To me evangelization means living and transmitting the Gospel. I have been writing Christian music for the past ten years. In the past I used to tell myself that I had something to say because I had a treasure inside my heart that I was proud of and wanted to pass it on. Now the more I go on, the more grows the yearning to leave and meet people, bringing with me those who want to follow me”. What kind of people do you meet? “At the beginning they were young people in particular. My music underwent an evolution, I am older and the public grows with me. Now my public consist in families, parents or grandparents with children. I think that faith is transmitted across the generations and I discover with joy that this cross-generational trend is lived through my music. The increasing attention I keep on receiving in the Christian environment triggers a virtuous cycle whereby increasing numbers of non-Christians come to hear me sing”. You often travel abroad to sing: in Iraq, Buenos Aires, Canada… “I live this as a mission. Having sung in front of my persecuted brothers in Iraq has deeply upset me. In those moments music takes on all of its meaning, it becomes a sharing of joy, suffering, a way to express those feelings. The fortune of travelling to perform in different countries gives me the opportunity to discover the Universal Church. Faith in Europe is different from South America. The primary goal during my travels is to speak about the ways in which I live my faith and discover that of others. In Iraq I discovered that music extends beyond the lyrics and that melody, evokes and relays a feeling that is stronger than words. In Iraq I discovered what it means to be a singer”. In this way doesn’t faith risk becoming a business? “I signed a contract with a record company from Paris and all I expect is that they sell my records. But it’s up to each one of us to decide if it’s a business or a sincere journey. It takes certain steps not to burn one’s wings in that environment, such as being supported, keeping within the realm of prayer, not seeking personal success but spreading a message. What most hurts a Christian artist is to be judged by his own community. The benevolence of those near us and of our spiritual families will help us progress in a positive way, answer God’s calling. I think that in our contemporary societies the media is the best way to spread our message”. What are the sources of your spirituality today? “My point of reference are always the Carmelites. The year I spent in the Carmelite monastery touched all the deepest parts of me. What I would like to do is to make people discover the intimate relationship with God”. What are projects for the future? “A new album, musical performance, a tour in France, with the goal of sing in theatres and concert halls. I think that Christians should re-invest in culture. In France we have deserted culture. The concert of past June 6 at the Olympia in Paris had this meaning: to show that there are Christian artists who perform in public spaces, Christians who come to listen and are present. I want to make sure that they are considered artists with this feature of having faith and sharing it”.

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