Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian (born Lara Crokaert January 9, 1970 in Etterbeek, Belgium) is an international Belgian-Sicilian francophone singer, known for her vocal prowess and skilled technique. She often sings in Italian, Spanish, and English in addition to French. She has also sung once in Portuguese, though she is not fluent in the language, and also once in German back in 1988 for a German version of "Croire" ("Glaub"). She does not speak German either. She has sold over 12 million records worldwide so far. She also possesses a Canadian citizienship achieved in 1994 at the time she began her career in Québec.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lara's early years

Lara was born to a Flemish father and a Sicilian mother. Her name comes from her parents' inspiration of the theme song of the film Doctor Zhivago. Although born in Etterbeek (Belgium), she spent her first five years in Catania, learning Italian as a first language, before moving back to Belgium, in Brussels. Lara began singing, dancing, and taking piano lessons at a very young age and began formal music lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels at age eight. Lara began writing and performing her own songs during her ten years study at the conservatory. Lara's songs were greatly influenced as much by her classical vocal and music theory training as contemporary artists as Barbra Streisand and Queen. During this time, Lara entered a number of European competitions and won several prizes. A consequence of winning one of those contests was the release of her first ever single " L'Aziza est en pleurs" / Il y avait " (written by the Belgian composer Marc Lerchs) a homage to the deceased French singer Daniel Balavoine, in the year of 1986.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Music career in 1988 - 1993

In 1988, the RTL TV channel in Luxembourg invited Lara to represent the country at the 33rd Eurovision Song Contest, held that year in Dublin, Ireland. The song presented to Lara was a composition made by Jacques Cardona and Alain Garciac entitled Croire (Trust) and reached a respectful fourth place that night. The winning song belonged to Switzerland, whose singer was no other than Céline Dion with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. "Croire" became a big seller single that year in Europe reaching nearly 500.000 copies. Lara still performs Croire live today.

Upon finishing her studies (Lara was originally planing to devote her life to child criminology), in 1990 Lara travelled to Canada to promote her third single Je Sais and fell in love with the province of Quebec. In 1991, with two suitcases and $1,000 in her pocket, Lara moved to Montreal, Canada to embark on a career in North America. She began her own music label and publishing company, Productions Clandestines. She didn't leave Brussels all by herself, as her then friend and music collaborator Rick Allison had also left his native Belgium and travelled with Lara to an adventure which became Lara's rise to fame and her career so far. Rick first met Lara in a jazz bar in Brussels some years prior and was impressed by Lara's vocals on Ella Fitzgerald's Summertime. The pair worked steadily on writing and recording songs.

In 1991, Fabian's self-titled French-language debut album, Lara Fabian, which had been recorded earlier in Belgium, was released in Canada in August 1991 and sold over 100,000 copies. The debut album went on to be certified Gold in 1993 and then certified platinum the following year. The success of such upbeat Dance-pop singles like Le Jour Où Tu Partira, Les Murs, and Qui Pense à l'Amour gave Lara the exposure she needed on the radio. Lara received several nominations at the 1993 ADISQ awards and a poll published around that time revealed that Lara was considered Quebec's most promising singer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Breaktrough in 1994-1996

Her constant touring in Quebec helped her 1994 album Carpe Diem to be her breakthrough album. The album went gold in less than three weeks of its release, and had three hit singles:Tu t'en vas, Si tu m'aimes, and Leïla. The following year, the album went triple platinum and Lara’s SRO tour attracted more than 150,000 fans. This success was recognized at the 1995 ADISQ gala in which Lara received two Félix awards: Best Show Of The Year and Best Female Singer Of The Year, a category that is voted upon by the public).

In January 1995, Serge Lama requested for Lara to join himself on the stage of the Paris venue Palais des Congrès to perform "Je suis malade", which she renewed on her Carpe Diem album. Impressed by the audience's response to his and Lara's duet, Serge right away asked Lara to sing the song once more on her own, which again delighted the audience.

In 1996, Walt Disney Studios immortalized Lara's voice when they asked her to do the voice for the character Esmeralda and sing a song for the animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney also included Lara's French version of the song on the film’s (English) soundtrack album beside that of Bette Midler's version, which was a unique move for the company.

Friday, November 23, 2007

1997-1999 success on international stage!!

Lara's 1997 album Pure, was a two million-selling album in France from which came the anti-homophobia anthem "La Difference." The album went platinum in less than two weeks. Lara again was bestowed with awards, being awarded a Félix for Popular Album Of The Year at the 1997 ADISQ gala and was also nominated for two Juno Awards in the Best Female Singer and Best Selling French Album categories.

This recognition once again attracted the attention of movie studios. The producer of Daylight, (starring Sylvester Stallone), asked Lara and Rick Allison to write a song for the movie. The song they created is Tant Qu'Il y Aura de l'Amour, the French version of the song performed by Donna Summer and Bruce Roberts.

Lara then signed a contract with the French Polydor label for several albums, and Pure was released in June 1997. Upon its release, Lara's European career skyrocketed. Sales of Pure hit the 2 million mark, while the singles Tout, Je T'Aime, and Humana each sold more than 1 million copies. In January 1998, Lara sang a duet with Johnny Hallyday at a benefit concert given for the Restos du Coeur in France. Lara's own tour during this time had two sold-out shows at L'Olympia (France). A month later, on that very same stage, Lara was given the Discovery Of The Year award during the Victoires de la Musique Gala. Soon after, Polydor released "Carpe Diem" in Europe.

After a sold-out two-night stint at the Paris Palais des Sports in April, Lara was even more in demand. Once again she was invited to perform with Johnny Hallyday during several concerts given at the Stade de France in front of 240,000 fans. The following fall, Lara undertook a European tour that reached audiences of more than 100,000.

Lara's popularity is perhaps exemplified by the famous Grévin Wax Museum's decision to unveil her wax effigy, as a Quebec City museum had already done. She thus became the first female Canadian singer ever to be honoured by the Paris institution.

In November 1998, Lara received the Félix Award for Artist With The Most Recognition Outside Quebec at the ADISQ Gala. In December, Lara was chosen Revelation Of The Year by the magazine Paris Match, which put her on its cover to mark this occasion.

Lara spent most of fall 1998 in France, where she embarked on an extensive tour of 24 cities including Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Geneva and Monaco. During this sold-out concert tour, Lara performed for audiences of more than 150,000. In May 1999, Lara was honoured at the World Music Awards in Monaco, where she was given the award for Best Selling Record for the Year 1998 for her album Pure.

In July 1999, with over 6 million records sold across Europe, Polydor released Lara’s eponymous (her self-titled debut from 1991) album. The European version of this early album contained slight modifications, such as a new album cover and the addition of the song Croire.

Lara released a live album, Lara Fabian Live, which debuted at #1 on the France charts in 1998. This helped solidified the international buzz around her and she received an international recording contract from Sony Music, which released her self-titled, English-language album, "Lara Fabian", in 2000

Thursday, November 22, 2007

2000-2001 US and Latin America tours

In the summer of 1999, Lara crossed the Atlantic to record her first English-language album Lara Fabian (2000) in New York and San Francisco for the Sony label. The songs were written and produced with the help of her partner Rick Allison and Dave Pickell as well as with Walter Afanasieff, Glen Ballard and Pat Leonard.

Lara has recorded songs for several Hollywood motion picture soundtracks such as "The Dream Within" for the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within soundtrack and, "For Always" for the AI:Artificial Intelligence soundtrack. Lara has also ventured into movies, appearing in the film De-Lovely, performing Cole Porter's So In Love with Mario Frangoulis, and the song appears on the movie soundtrack as well. Lara also appears on the soundtrack "Songs From Dawson's Creek, Vol. 2".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back in French in 2001-2002

Nue (Naked) was Lara's fourth French album to be released in the Fall of 2001 in both Québec and France, making her return to her French singing roots. Her rollercoaster experience surrounding her first English recording album was so intense and, although critically praised, personally exhausting. Her emotional ride through the last previous years was somehow documented in a very personal record to which Lara, alongside her partner and producer Rick Allison, called "Nue". An album that undressed Lara from all the bad remarks she had suffered over the years as an artist and presented a much more vulnerable and fragile yet with an exceptional vocal strength to open up her heart and mind.

Her fist single released in the summer that year was the anthem "J'y Crois Encore", a top 20 French hit followed by the release of the album later that month. The album reached #1 in Belgium and #2 in France (but saddly did little impact in her home beloved Québec). Other singles followed, such as the Lara's personal favourite track "Immortelle" (a strong song that remains constantly present in Lara's live concerts), "Aimer Dejá" and the nominated song of the year in 2002 hit "Tu Es Mon Autre" (a duet with fellow Belgian friend and singer Maurane), which scored the top 5 in France. This has become another trademark song in Lara's carear as she has performed it so many time with so many other artists (including Rick Allison during her 2001/2002 tour).

In addition, this album was also released in Portugal (having reached the top 10 on the album charts during the fall of 2001) as a consequence of her tremendous success of her previous English album, presenting the Portuguese audience with her French singing repertoire.

At this very same time, Lara was once again touring but in a more intimate and acoustic way at the Casino de Paris every November Monday night. An acoustic set that became her transition towards a new Lara Fabian that the public was on verge of knowing and worshiping. During this tour Maurane and Daniel Lavoie were two of the main performing guests duetting with her on "Tu Es Mon Autre", of course, and "Je Suis Mon Coeur", written for Lara by Lavoie himself. This acoustic also led to another live CD/DVD release in the end of 2003.