What do you do?
Alain Le Lait
Where do you work and what is your title?
I am a musician, business owner and self-employed French teacher. I work mostly at home but several times a week I actually have to get dressed to go and give French lessons at some of my students’ homes, teach pre-schoolers at the Golden Hills Montessori School or play music at coffee shops, clubs or galleries.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
My time is divided between teaching French, performing (singing and playing guitar) at places such as It’s a Grind and Cucuru, and attending to my business, Yadeeda.com, which produces and distributes CDs of children’s songs in French, Spanish and English, worldwide. My responsibilities include taking care of three websites, mailing orders, sending lots of emails and making sure that the coffee pot never goes dry.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
I have been a musician for more than three decades, a teacher on and off for many years and a (small) business owner since the early ‘90s. On the Westside, since 2000.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
For all three jobs, the independence, but each one has its own rewards. As a musician, I have been writing, recording and selling children’s songs for nearly 20 years. Some of them are used in schools throughout the U.S. and Canada to teach French and Spanish to kids; that’s a good feeling. However, the most exciting moment of my career came last year when “Sesame Street” picked up one of my songs for this season. It is currently being played in three languages – French, Spanish and English. What a thrill! As a performer, I enjoy being able to sing whatever I like and surprising the listeners with some of the tunes I cover (from French Cabaret to bossanova to Bob Dylan). As a French teacher, I have met (and continue meeting) some very interesting, open-minded people of all ages and with very different backgrounds. Plus, we always have a good time with French pronunciation. Try this: “Ce goulu a voulu tout ce qu’il a vu sur le menu.”
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
I would like the opportunity to sing the French songs to an audience of children that are fluent in the language just to see how they would respond.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
Eating Mexican food (I like it, I just never trained for it.)
What makes working on the Westside special?
It’s far away from the Eastside.
“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.