Lara Fabian (en) life and biography

Lara Fabian (en) picture, image, poster

Lara Fabian (en) biography

Date of birth : 1970-01-09
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Etterbeek, Belgium
Nationality : Belgian
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-11-14
Credited as : Singer, songwriter, Eurovision Song Contest

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Lara Fabian (born Lara Crokaert) is a Belgian-canadian international singer who also holds Canadian citizenship. Multilingual, she sings in French, Italian and English.

The comparisons between Lara Fabian and fellow Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion are almost unavoidable: both got their start as singers in the French-speaking world; both make their home in Canada's predominantly French province of Quebec (although Fabian came to Canada during the 1990s from her native Belgium); both have done soundtrack work for Disney; and both eventually began recording in English to enter the very lucrative English-speaking music market. Being compared to Dion, Fabian told Interview, has not discouraged her. "I've been compared to so many people--Streisand, Celine--it doesn't bother me. Why worry about being compared to the best?" Dion, of course, has already become a highly successful musical star in English, but Fabian, whose English-language album debuted in 2000, is on the verge of breakthrough success.

Born in January 1970 in the Belgian town of Etterbeek, Fabian is the daughter of a Flemish father and a Sicilian mother. It was music that gave Fabian her first name. Both parents so enjoyed the love theme from the film Dr. Zhivago that they named their daughter Lara. Given Fabian's family background, her multilingualism is hardly surprising. She grew up speaking Italian as her first language (her mother's native tongue), but she was also comfortable speaking in French and Flemish, the two official languages of Belgium, as well as Spanish and English, both of which she learned in school. Although the family spent most of the time in Belgium, Fabian visited her mother's Sicilian homeland frequently as a child.

Fabian inherited her passion for music from both parents. Her father is a musician who plays guitar and once sang backup vocals for Petula Clark, while her mother is musical as well and introduced Fabian to classical music. For Fabian, there has really never been any question about what she would do with her life. "I've always wanted to be a singer, ever since I was a child," she told Canadian Musician. "I remember driving with my father as a five-year-old girl, and I turned to him, very serious, and said, 'I am a singer.' I knew back then that I wanted to be a singer and a songwriter, and I have always been dedicated to that dream, but it has been hard work along the way."

Fabian's parents recognized the singer's talents early on and enrolled her in the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels when she was eight. She was single-minded in her pursuit of musical training, she told Canadian Musician. "Nothing else really interested me; it was always singing, playing piano, writing songs and poems, learning, being taught everything I wanted to know. It was all music, and it never stopped. I had 10 years of lessons at the conservatory in Belgium, studying classical music. I learned how to sing, play the piano, and all the theory that I needed. By the time I left, I had confidence in my skills, and I knew that the experience had prepared me to become a real professional."

Even before leaving the conservatory and while still in her early teens, Fabian began performing in competitions in local and regional talent shows and appearing in clubs in Brussels. Her father, who had played guitar for her since she was a little girl, continued to provide her accompaniment on some of Fabian's early performances. In 1988 at the age of 18, she entered the Eurovision Song Contest, a competition created by the state-run television stations of Europe to find the best new popular songs, and won fourth prize for her rendition of "Croire."

Fabian's first single, "L'aziza est en pleurs," released in Belgium but marketed throughout the French-speaking world, enjoyed modest success, but it was followed up by "Croire" and "Je sais," which sold 500,000 and 300,000 copies, respectively. Her first visit to Quebec came on a tour to promote her single "Je sais." This crucial visit came at a time when Fabian was feeling frustrated at the lack of opportunities in Europe. "It is a very beautiful place but very conservative, and I was young and headstrong," she told Canadian Musician. "I was 18 years old, and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to explore my potential and express myself, and I was feeling stifled. People kept telling me what I should be doing and how I should conduct myself, but I didn't want to compromise, so I left and found a place where I could be myself."

When Fabian decided to move to Montreal, she brought along with her producer-arranger Rick Allison, a longtime friend and collaborator. Between them, they had two suitcases and about $1,000 in cash. Together they established an independent recording label and production company called Productions Clandestines. In August of 1991, Fabian released her first album, self-titled, in her newly adopted homeland. She had recorded the songs on the album earlier in Belgium. Her sound quickly won the hearts of listeners in Quebec. Among the more successful singles from the album were "Le jour où tu partiras," "Qui pense à l'amour?" and "Les murs." Another song, "Je m'arrêterai pas de t'aimer," offered convincing proof that Fabian was not only a compelling vocalist but a talented songwriter as well. By 1993, her first album went gold and the following year was certified platinum.

Carpe Diem, Fabian's second French-language album, was released in 1994 and quickly proved that the singer-songwriter was no one-hit wonder. In less than a month, the album had gone gold and by 1995 was certified triple platinum. Three of the singles from the album--"Tu t'en vas," "Leila," and "Si tu m'amies"--remained in the top 50 for months. To promote her second album, Fabian went on tour, appearing before more than 150,000 fans around the French-speaking world. ADISQ, Quebec's association of recording artists, rewarded Fabian's hard work with two Felix Awards in 1995: Best Female Vocalist and Best Live Performance. One of the highlights of 1995 for Fabian was an appearance she made at Paris' famed Palais des Congres with legendary Serge Lama. Together the two sang "Je suis malade," a song that Fabian had included on Carpe Diem.

In 1996, Walt Disney Studios tapped Fabian to supply the voice of Esmeralda in the French-language version of its animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as the song "Que dieu aide les exclus" ("God Help the Outcasts") for the French-language soundtrack. Disney was so impressed by Fabian's rendition of the song that it was included on the English-language soundtrack as well.

As impressive as sales of Carpe Diem had been, Fabian's third album, Pure, did it one better, soaring to gold in less than two weeks. Released in June of 1997, Pure produced three singles--"Tout," "Je t'aime," and "Humana"--that each sold more than one million copies. While touring in France in January of 1998, Fabian got an opportunity to appear onstage with another legendary French singer. At a benefit concert for Restos du Cur, she sang a duet with Johnny Hallyday. Thousands of French fans also got to see Fabian on tour, which included two sold-out shows at the famed Olympia Theatre in Paris. Only a month later the Montreal-based singer was honored with France's Victoire de la Musique Award, the French Grammy Award equivalent, as New Artist of the Year.

It was clear that France had taken Fabian to its heart. In April of 1998, she sold out a two-night stint at the mammoth Palais des Sports in Paris. Hallyday again invited her to join him onstage, this time during a number of concerts at the Stade de France before an estimated 240,000 fans. In the fall of 1998, Fabian was back on tour in Europe, appearing before audiences that totaled more than 150,000. Back in her adopted home of Quebec in November of 1998, she received ADISQ's Felix Award for the Quebec Artist Having Had the Most Impact outside Quebec. As if to confirm ADISQ's choice, France's Paris Match magazine put Fabian on its cover in December to showcase her as its Revelation of the Year. Six months later, at the World Music Awards in Monaco, Fabian received the award for Best Benelux Recording Artist. So eager was Europe's French-language market for more of Fabian that in July of 1999 Polydor released a slightly modified version of her 1991 self-titled debut album. The changes included a new album cover and the addition of the song "Croire."

In the summer of 1999, Fabian traveled to New York and San Francisco to record songs for her first English-language album, also self-titled. Released on the Sony label, the album was an important venture for Fabian, who told Interview magazine she wanted to reach the English-speaking world "because English is the universal language. No matter where you come from, if you sing in English, you can cross over to the world."

Fabian enlisted the help of some high-powered producers to help ensure the success of her debut English-language recording. Such hit-makers as Walter Afanasieff, Patrick Leonard, and Brian Rawling each produced tracks. As for the songs on the album, Fabian wrote or co-wrote about 90 percent.

Nue (Naked) was Fabian's fourth French album and was released in the Fall of 2001 in both Québec and France, making her return to her French singing roots. The album reached #1 in Belgium and #2 in France but had little impact in Québec. In addition, this album was also released in Portugal and reached the top 10 on the album charts during the Fall of 2001 as a consequence of the tremendous success of Fabian's previous English album.

In 2004, Fabian released her second English album, A Wonderful Life. The project was commercially unsuccessful but critically praised. The album did not come close to the success of her previous English debut effort but created a path for a sound and musical change that would trademark Fabian's future musical style. The more organic sound is due to the work of French guitarist Jean-Félix Lalanne, and also working with producers such as Desmond Child, Anders Bagge and the British team True North (composed of Take That singer Gary Barlow and Elliot John Kennedy).

In March 2005, Fabian re-appeared on the music scene in France (and also in Canada) with her fifth French album, 9. This title symbolically resembles "a change" and "a rebirth[...]the end of a period of time in one's life and simultaneously the beginning of another". It marked a completely different direction in Fabian's musical and personal life. The album is performed differently, with smoothness, serenity and with a lot of joy, far from the in-depth and dramatic vibes of earlier recordings.

According to messages left by Lara Fabian on her official site in 2006, her next studio album was to be her first Italian-language project. Few details have been released except that she has been working with Neapolitan singer and songwriter Gigi D'Alessio, who appeared once at one of her shows, and whose performance is included as a bonus on Fabian's recent live DVD, Un regard 9 Live. The two artists recorded a song called "Un Cuore Malato" (Ill heart), which they performed live during the fourth night of the 2007 Sanremo festival on Rai Uno, the main Italian public channel. There is also a French/Italian version of this duet "Un Coeur Blessé" and this was released to French radio in Summer 2007.

Lara Fabian returned to the music scene a few months after her daughter's birth in 2007 and has been doing some concerts in Ukraine, Russia and Greece. In Greece she was a guest in a concert by Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis, with whom Fabian had previously duetted on the song "So In Love" featured in the movie "De-Lovely" in 2004. Fabian has also made a few TV appearances (such as 60th Anniversary of Israel where Fabian performed a Hebrew song and duetted with Israeli singer Noa).

Fabian confirmed the release of this much anticipated new album, Toutes les femmes en moi, on her official website on 20 October 2008. Fabian stated on her website that Toutes les femmes en moi is "daring" and that "Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Klezmer, Tango, Neo Classic, White Soul [and Gospel] come close without disturbing each other...". According to Fabian's official website the album will be released on May 26, 2009. The first single release from this album is Soleil, Soleil, a cover of the Nana Mouskouri song, which was sent to French radios on March 11, 2009.

Throughout the first half of 2010, Fabian embarked on a European tour of concerts specially throughout France, Switzerland and Belgium incorporating the main repertoire of her last album "Tout Les Femmes En Moi" alongside some classic and fan favourites. The album containing a CD and a DVD was first released in Ukraine on 25 October but will also have its release in Russia on 19 November. It's planned to be also released in France later in 2011.

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