France seen from abroad February 2014
When it comes to international success, female French singers tend to do better than the boys. Lately, though, they haven’t always been so lucky. The latest news on Zaz, Carla Bruni, Lara Fabian, Mylène Farmer, Hélène Rollès, etc.
2013 was definitely Zaz’s year. Le Journal de Montréal (28/1) reminds us that, "Zaz was the most exported French artist in 2013, with her second album Recto Verso, which sold over 300,000 copies abroad according to a report by Bureau Export". That’s good news because the singer, known for her offbeat humour and live performances, is currently on a world tour. In March, Zaz will be in Latin America for a series of concerts in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. “From time to time, French chanson gives us a new voice,” reported the Argentinean daily La Nacion (29/1), which went on, "Like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone, the French singer’s stance and attitude (…) seem to come from another era.” This time round, "it’s the exquisite Isabelle Geffroy, alias Zaz, who will be performing in Buenos Aires for the first time, on 15 and 16 March at the Niceto Club." This summer, Zaz is also scheduled to participate "in the thirteenth edition of the biggest event in the region” in the Czech Republic: the festival Colours in Ostrava (GazetaCodzienna, Poland, 22/1). The woman who brought us Je veux, and whose "shows and incredible vocals remind so many critics of Edith Piaf", is one of the top acts, "two years after her last visit" to the Czech Republic.
Sophie Marceau has superstar status in China, and was recently invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For the event, the actress turned herself into a singer and “performed “La Vie En Rose” on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV’s New Year gala, (…) in a duet with Chinese pop star Liu Huan" (South China Morning Post, 31/1). This "hugely popular" star was watched last year by some “750 million viewers in China alone". Another Chinese TV channel chose a different French artist for a duet: Hélène Rollès, star of the cult nineties sitcom Hélène et les garçons, who sang a ditty with the local personality Lin Yilun (Sohu, 12/1).
So far in 2014, Carla Bruni hasn’t had much luck. "After cancelling her concerts in Gatineau and Quebec, the singer Carla Bruni, France’s former first lady, has decided not to perform at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at the Place des Arts [in Montreal] next April", went a report by Agence QMI, which was taken up by all the Quebecois press (28/1). The ex-top model "confirmed that she will be performing instead at the Maisonneuve Theatre, a venue half the size, on 21 April. Her team blamed the changes on scheduling problems. At the start of the year, the French media said the reason for the Gatineau and Quebec cancellations was insufficient tickets sold.”
Like Hélène Segara, who has reduced her schedule to treat a rare disease, Lara Fabian has said that she is "taking ‘fairly strong’ treatment to care for a deafness problem that forced her to cut short an international tour” (La Dernière Heure, Belgium, 27/1). "Lara Fabian was the victim of a hearing accident in the studio in May 2013 when subjected to a violent level of noise. The singer then had recurring problems when ‘exposed to sound for too long’ and experienced ‘sudden deafness’ at a concert in Dijon in October.”
Last but not least, Mylène Farmer "is getting ready to return to the studio, but not on her own,” announced Le Matin (Switzerland, 9/1). "This time round, the singer will be accompanied by the group Muse working on compositions." Although the star "explained last December that she had the blues after the end of her Timeless tour,” she is unlikely to put 2013 down as a bad year. "Mylène Farmer was the highest-paid French singer in 2013 with an estimated income of 4.7 million euro last year," noted the paper La Presse (Canada, 29/1). "The 39 dates of the Timeless tour she began in September attracted 420,000 spectators. The live album of the tour, released over the Christmas period, sold 200,000 copies in one month.” All of which bodes well for 2014.