Former F1 champion to release new debut album

Jacques Villeneuve

The 1997 Formula One World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, has announced he will release his debut album, Private Paradise, on February 19th in Montreal.

The album features 13 tracks. Nine of these are sung in English and the other four in French. The CART and F1 driver even wrote six of the tracks himself.

Villeneuve’s new album will be available on the Internet and possibly via Apple’s iTunes. When asked about it, the French-Canadian said: “I’ve always loved music. My grandfather was a piano tutor, my father played piano and trumpet and my sister is a musician as well. So music has always been in the family. I’ve been writing songs for many years, I’ve just never taken it to the next step until now. As soon as last season finished in November, when it wasn’t yet announced that I was staying with the team, I had nothing else to do, so I decided to go into the studio, get a few people together and see what it would sound like fully produced.

“I write my own music and for half the album I wrote the lyrics to the music, the other half is either songs from friends or songs that I liked. I think it’s important to have different material, not only stuff you write yourself, just to get a different influence. There are some great songs out there that need to be produced, some real hidden gems, so I wanted to do them and see how they would sound as well.

“Mainly I’m playing acoustic guitar. There are a few duets on the album. One is with my sister Melanie. Just after my father died, she had written a song about it that she had never managed to finish. So a few years ago she asked me to finish it, and when it was done I decided it would be great to record it, so we did it as a duet. Also, on another song, I got my little sister Jessica to sing a little bit with me, which was a lot of fun. It was nice to get the family involved.

“I have no idea if it can be a success or not. When I started, it wasn’t for that reason, it was purely to see how the music would sound if it was fully produced. I had been working on songs for a long time, and sometimes you can be proud of what you write, but you have no idea if it’s going to sound any good or not. It’s only your friends that hear it, and of course they’re going to say it’s great because they’re your friends and the same thing with the family. So it was important to me to see what could be done with them and we’re quite happy with the results, so it will get out there! There will be high criticism, of course, because I’m a race car driver, and anytime you do something that’s not your job it pisses people off, because why should you be doing it, and not someone else who is not doing anything with their life yet. So the criticism will be high, because it will be perceived that the only reason I did it is because I’m a race car driver and I can afford it.”

But Villeneuve says that music will remain a hobby as long as he is still racing cars (he will take part in his first ever endurance race at Le Mans driving for Peugeot this year). It will be interesting how successful this album will become when it hits the album charts in Canada this month.

More on Villenueve can be seen on his MySpace website.