One thing is for sure: after discovering her tofit my musical taste, I would like to thank my friends Gwen, Florence and Laurent for introducing me to more of her work and making possible for me to attend the best live concert I have ever been to.
Mylène has sold more than 25 million records and is among the most successful recording artists of all time in France, so far landing ten #1s, which constitutes a record in the French Charts.
Her parents moved from France in the late 1950s as her father pursued an engineering contract on a dam. The family returned to France when she was eight, settling in the Parisian suburb of Ville d'Avray. At the age of 17 she discovered acting and took a course at a drama school in Paris. Changing her name to Mylène Farmer as a tribute to her idol, 1930s Hollywood actress Frances Farmer, she began to earn a living as a model acting in several TV ads. In 1984, Mylène met Laurent Boutonnat, a young film student, after replying to a newspaper ad for an actress for a small film he was working on. They became friends and forged a creative partnership, writing and producing the music. Boutonnat, whose ambition was to become a film director, was the force behind Mylène’s videos, which, as you will see, often become epic pieces.
Mylène gained fame with songs featuring shocking yet poetic lyrics, and explicit music videos: 'Maman a tort' was about the love of a young girl for her female hospital nurse. 'Pourvu qu'elles soient douces' contains hints of sodomy: the video, set in the 18th century, featured a caning. 'Libertine' is said to feature the first full frontal nudity appearance by a singer on a major music video. 'Que mon cœur lâche' was about love with condoms in the age of AIDS: the video for the song features a scene in which God tells Jesus he will not send him to Earth again because the last time 'it was a disaster'.
By the turn of the decade Farmer was a full-blown superstar in France, but it wasn't until the release of her third album, L'Autre..., and single 'Désenchantée' that she became iconic. The album's lead single, became a phenomenon in French pop music, striking a universal chord with its political lyrics. The song debuted at #12 in France and hit #1 two weeks later, remaining 9 weeks atop of the charts. Following the phenomenal success of 'Désenchantée', Mylène released three more singles from the album: 'Regrets', 'Je t'aime mélancolie' and 'Beyond My Control', the latter having a blood-and-sex-charged video that was banned from airplay. The success of the singles helped its album sell close to 2 million copies in France alone, having achieved Diamond status in 1992. It spent a then-record 20 weeks at #1 of the French charts, as well as topping the chart in Belgium and making top 10 in Canada. It has become Farmer's best selling studio album. On 14 November 1991 a man, who had been stalking her, entered the Polydor Records HQ in Paris and held employees at gunpoint demanding to talk to her. The man had previously written the singer some fan mail, which she did not respond to. He killed a receptionist and committed suicide. Following this occurrence Mylène shunned media attention and left France to live in Los Angeles for a few weeks.
During her time in California, Mylène started to write her fourth album, Anamorphosée, before inviting Laurent Boutonnat over there to reconcile after the bitter incidents of 1994 and to start making music together again. In summer 1996 she embarked on her second, hugely successful, concert tour, which I was lucky enough to see at Paris Bercy, the French equivalent to Wembley. The corresponding live album, is currently the best-selling French live album ever. Mylène Farmer's Discography
Mylène Farmer - Comme J'ai Mal (1996)
Mylène Farmer - Pourvu qu'elles soient douces (1988)
Mylène Farmer - Rêver (1996)
Live at Bercy, a concert I was very fortunate to experience
Mylène Farmer - Que mon cœur lâche (1992)
Mylène Farmer - Je T'aime Mélancolie (1991)
Mylène Farmer - Sans contrefaçon (1987)
Mylène Farmer - Désenchantée (1991)
Mylène Farmer - L'Âme-stram-gram (1999)
Mylène Farmer & Moby - Slipping Away / Crier La Vie (2006)
Mylène Farmer - California (1996)