MIREILLE MATHIEU (French: ; born 22 July 1946) is a French singer. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages, with more than 150 million albums sold worldwide.
* 1 Biography and career
* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Debut (1962–65) * 1.3 Breakthrough (1965–67) * 1.4 Career 20th Century (1967–2000) * 1.5 Career 21st Century (2001 – present)
* 2 Personal life * 3 Discography * 4 Bibliography * 5 References * 6 External links
BIOGRAPHY AND CAREER
The Mathieu family lived in poverty, with a huge improvement in their living conditions in 1954, when subsidized housing was built in the Malpeigné quarter near the cemetery. Then again in 1961 they moved to a large tenement in the Croix des Oiseaux quarter southeast of the city.
Roger had once dreamed of becoming a singer, but his father Arcade
disapproved, inspiring him to have one of his children learn to sing
with him in church. Mireille included his operatic voice on her 1968
Christmas album, where it was mixed in with the Minuit Chrétiens
song. Mireille's first paid performance before an audience, at age
four, was rewarded with a lollipop when she sang on Christmas Eve 1950
during Midnight Mass . A defining moment was seeing
Mireille performed poorly in elementary school because of dyslexia ,
requiring an extra year to graduate. She was born left-handed , and
her teachers used a ruler to strike her hand each time she was caught
writing with it. She became right-handed, although her left hand
remains quite animated while singing. She has a fantastic memory, and
never uses a prompter on stage. Abandoning higher education, at age
14 (1961), and after moving to Croix des Oiseaux, she began work in a
local factory in
Mireille is Roman Catholic , and her adopted patron saint is Saint Rita , the Saint for the Impossible. Mireille's paternal grandmother Germaine née Charreton, assured her that Saint Rita was the one to pray to for hopeless cases. Beyond religion, like many artists, she is unabashed about superstition and luck. When asked to reveal some of her superstitions, she said: "The most important one is to never mention any of them." She has stage fright , and can often be seen making the sign of the cross before moving out on stage.
Mathieu began her career by participating in an annual singing
Mireille's private singing lessons were by Madame Laure Collière, who was also a piano teacher in Avignon. Self-described as very stubborn in her autobiography, she wrote about singing love songs that the audience thought were inappropriate for a young girl. Thus, losing to Michèle Torr in 1962 when she sang "Les cloches de Lisbonne" at the first contest, and losing again in 1963 singing Édith Piaf's "L'Hymne à l'amour." In 1964, though, she won the event with another Piaf song: " La Vie en rose ."
Her win was rewarded with a free trip to Paris, and a pre-audition for the televised talent show Jeu de la Chance (Game of Luck), where amateur singers competed for audience and telephone votes. Her participation and train fare were arranged by Raoul Colombe, the deputy mayor of Avignon. Accompanied by a pianist at the studio, and dressed in black like Piaf, she sang two Piaf songs to the audition judges and left dispirited. Non-French cannot hear it, but Parisians at the studio made fun of her Provençal accent, and her dyslexia scrambled words. For example, her sister and current manager Monique, is called "Matite" because Mireille couldn't pronounce "petite" as a child.
During a 1965 summer gala, added to the
Enrico Macias concert by
Raoul Colombe (her first manager), she met her future manager Johnny
Stark . Mireille and her father both thought he was an American
based on his name and manner, and nicknamed him l'Américain. Stark
had worked with singers such as
Yves Montand , and the relationship
between him and Mathieu is often described as resembling that between
Colonel Tom Parker and
Portrait for the New York Times by Reginald Gray , 1966
Mireille was invited to Paris by the impresario Régis Durcourt to sing on the "Song Parade" television program, on 19 November 1965. Stark promised to write to her, but after months of waiting she gave up on him, and accepted Durcourt's offer. The truth has never been revealed how, but Mireille was suddenly moved-up to compete live on the Sunday 21 November 1965 episode of "Jeu de la Chance," a talent segment of the popular French program "Télé-Dimanche." Stark's ex-wife Nanou Taddéi worked at Studio 102, and probably recognized Mireille, as she participated in her earlier pre-audition. Mathieu explained that "Song Parade" offered only one chance to sing, while "Jeu de la Chance" offered many chances to sing, but only if she won, and she intended to win. Both the studio audience and telephone voters gave her a slight lead over five-time winner Georgette Lemaire, so the producers called it a tie. Johnny Stark officially became her manager that night, and with his longtime assistant Nadine Joubert, helped prepare Mireille to win the contest the following week and bury Georgette. Stark and Lemaire had a mutual dislike for each other. In a short film called La guerre des Piaf (War of the Sparrows) Georgette and Mireille are interviewed separately, both are small and the same height. Mireille is surrounded by her sisters Monique and Christiane, with Johnny hovering in the background as she is interviewed for the first time on camera. She appears to be uncomfortable, staring at the floor during many of the questions, even looking dumbfounded once, like a deer in the headlights. Johnny finally comes to her rescue. In a later interview, she underscored the importance of the event, stating, "For me, Paris was the end of the world. I never took a train or saw a camera before. I did not know what the outcome of the adventure would be." Mireille has everything to learn. How to walk, how to breathe, how to enunciate properly. But no one should ever interfere with that voice. “ ” Johnny Stark, 1966
In the middle of her seven consecutive performances on
Télé-Dimanche she performed a concert at the
Paris Olympia , which
propelled her to stardom. She signed with
All was not going well at this point. Mathieu said "I was managed to such mimicry of my idol that I thought I was not able to do anything else. It was instantly one of the biggest disappointments of my life." Stark then abandoned the Piaf direction he was taking her. The Olympia performance convinced a skeptical Paul Mauriat to work with Mireille, and songwriter André Pascal joined forces to develop her into a successful act. Together they wrote new modern material for her: Mon crédo, Viens dans ma rue, La première étoile and many other hit songs. Her first album En Direct de L\'Olympia , on the Barclay label , was released in 1966. Highly acclaimed, along with the singles and EP 's from it, the album made her a star outside France.
A regular early contributor of material was Francis Lai , who wrote two songs: C'est ton nom, and Un homme et une femme for her first album, and often accompanied her with his accordion on television. Her first record was recorded in the EMI studios, with Paul Mauriat's band. Mathieu's success led her record company, Barclay, to claim that they controlled 40% of the French pop disk market. Johnny Stark and Mireille Mathieu, 1971
Mireille spent all of 1966 and 1967 touring. It was then, during a car ride to another concert, that Stark advised Mireille that she was finally debt free, and worth more than a million francs ($200k USD in 1967). She had always prayed that she could get her family out of poverty, but the touring and singing were much more important at the time. In her autobiography, she stated her first major purchases were a vehicle for her father's business and a large home for her parents and siblings. Most importantly, she had a telephone installed for the family, so her parents no longer had to go to the pharmacy to talk to her while she was in Paris. Her one regret, was that she was unable to see her grandmother Germaine in the hospital before she died because of all the tour contracts.
Mireille arrived in Paris with two dresses and a change of underwear, and Johnny set her up in style, sent for Mireille's two oldest sisters, and let them go shopping for a week. He then rented her a home and a maid in upscale Neuilly after she had won, and made sure she only had her singing to worry about. Johnny recorded all the expenses though, and he was fully compensated before a franc was ever put in Mireille's account.
Mireille sang twice at the
CAREER 20TH CENTURY (1967–2000)
Although the popularity of Mathieu's genre has suffered, given the domination of rock and roll and the global lack of interest in non-English popular music during her most profitable years, she remained a popular artist in France and Europe. Many thousands of fans have met her before and after performances for autographs and well wishes over the years, and the common refrain is how well she treats her fans. She easily interacts with the public. While the Mathieu sisters are quite wealthy, they have also made their songwriters extremely wealthy. Most of the record profits go to the authors, whereas Mireille had to tour and perform concerts live and on television.
While on tour in February 1968, Mathieu was in a car accident in which she fractured one of her vertebrae ; the injury sidelined her for three months. She writes in her book, that they received a note which said "we will get you next time" but it was not proved to be anything but an accident.
In 1971, Barclay was unable to meet the demands for records. Johnny
Stark then made a contract for
In 1972, Mathieu toured Canada and produced a live album. Johnny Stark suffered his first heart attack while making arrangements for this concert.
In 1974, Mathieu formed her own publishing company Abilene Music. Today this company is involved in publishing, printing of Music material.
In 1983, Mathieu formed another publishing company Abilene Disc. This is the company used to publish recordings, and her management agency run by her sisters Monique and Christiane.
In 1985, Mathieu joined
In 1986, Mathieu performed a concert in Beijing, China. In her
autobiography, she states she was the first Western performer to give
a concert in the city, but this was in error, as at least two other
Western performances preceded hers.
In 1988, W. Kordes\' Sons , a German rose breeding company introduced
On the accusations of being docile, Mathieu writes in her autobiography that she and Johnny Stark understood each other. She wanted to be a singer, and he was tired of people who just wanted to be famous. They were both hard workers, and he kept her schedule filled with lucrative contracts. She also writes that she was forbidden to read the press, and, having peeked at some of it, was content to follow that rule. Stark, of course, had a heavy hand in manipulating the press. Mireille writes that her mother was often surprised to read on the front page that she was engaged to someone famous, or was going to be in a movie by some famous director. Her guiding principle was just to sing, and never have her family return to the tenements of Croix des Oiseaux.
Many photographs and films from the early years show the life around Johnny Stark's villa in Roquefort-la-Bédoule (south of France). The villa, also named La Bédoule, allowed everyone to escape from Paris and relax. The home supported Johnny's telephone addiction with 28 telephones, with each car also having a phone. Mathieu lived here with her aunt Irène, and brothers and sisters would often visit. The pool was designed to be shallow all around, and deep in the center, as Mireille has a fear of drowning, and never learned to swim. The property was sold after Johnny's divorce.
In 1989, President
Johnny Stark left behind a legal "bloody mess." It took Mathieu and her lawyers years to close out and process his estate. "I was severely depressed, but I got out without needing analysis." The most controversial event of Mathieu's career, according to the media of the time, occurred when she took over Stark's office, and ended her business relationship with Nadine Joubert. She lost confidence in Nadine who tried to modernize her act after Mathieu's l'Américain album failed miserably, with the strain of Stark's legal affairs having set her back financially. Her sister Monique stepped in to become her business manager, and the two women have remained profitable in the industry ever since.
In December 1990, she gave a series of concerts at the Palais des
Congrès in Paris . Many videos of the concert are available, and it
shows her back on top, with a huge production. A large cast of
musicians and singers, was meant to take the concert to a level even a
Rock and Roll audience could appreciate. My songs always speak of
love, that's the way I like them. “ ”
In 1993, she released two albums devoted to her idol, Édith Piaf, essentially retracing her roots. One album was in French; the other, in German.
In January 1996, Vous lui Direz was released. Mathieu did not perform
live in France to promote the album, preferring rather to go to Los
Angeles, where she gave a tribute to
In 1999, Mathieu released a German album Alles nur ein Spiel, with Francis Lai on accordion.
CAREER 21ST CENTURY (2001 – PRESENT)
In 2002, Mathieu released her thirty-seventh French album: De tes Mains, followed by a series of concerts at the Paris Olympia in November.
Mathieu celebrated the fortieth anniversary of her career at the
Paris Olympia on 24 November 2005, and released her thirty-eighth
In 2007, Mathieu supported presidential candidate
Nicolas Sarkozy ,
the mayor of Neuilly, where she has resided since coming to Paris in
1965. Sarkozy was elected
President of France
On 1 November 2008, she was a guest of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and performed a concert in his honor. The two visited the tent of visiting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi . President Medvedev and Mireille Mathieu, November 2010
In November 2010, she was awarded the Russian Medal of Friendship by
In November 2011, Mathieu cancelled her concert in Israel for the second time in 2011. The promoter again failed to meet the required ticket sales.
In March 2012 Mireille, with Jean Claudric and his Orchestra, were in
Siberia, Russia visiting three cities:
During an interview in Moscow, Mathieu mentioned that the group Pussy riot had committed a sacrilege in the church by having a political demonstration against President Putin. French television program "On n\'est pas couché" edited out the second half of her statement, and called her a tool of President Putin. Her lawyer André Schmidt sued the station for defamation. The suit was dismissed at trial in July 2014. The part that was edited out was "as a woman artist and a Christian, I beg the indulgence of these three girls." The group of three women were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for being hooligans, and inciting religious hatred.
In October 2012 Mathieu announced on her Web page that she is
re-releasing her Chante Piaf, with two new recordings added, in
celebration of her 50th year as a singer, and the 50th year of Piaf's
death. Also that month, she had to cancel some of her shows in Russia
In December 2013, her lawyers won a lawsuit against MGM Home Entertainment for failing to compensate her production company Abilene Disc for the 1967 song Les Yeux de l'Amour (The Look of Love), used in the German version of the movie Casino Royale .
From 2009 to 2016, she has been the main guest star of the international festival of military orchestras "Spasskaya Tower", held in Moscow's Red Square. On 5 September 2013, during her concert event of the festival, she sang in a light dress under an icy rain and a gusty wind, refusing to take an offer for a coat as disrespectful to the people freezing in the stands. Russian TV's Culture channel praised her performance on that day as a feat.
Mathieu had an active tour schedule for 2014, celebrating her 50th year in show business (she dates her career from the year she won her first singing contest in Avignon). Her first concert was going to be in Kiev, and she held out hope it would go on, but finally cancelled it seven days before "due to the instability." Her France 50th Anniversary tour ran from October to November 2014.
Mathieu performed her 50th Anniversary tour in Germany and Austria from 1 to 16 March 2015, singing in twelve different cities to sellout crowds. She credits her sister-manager Monique for keeping the general audience ticket prices reasonable.
In March 2015 she announced on her web page that all the concerts in Russia were cancelled "due to the economic situation." On the concert web site, it states that the Russian currency had collapsed, and it was no longer possible to finance the concert and travel arrangements.
On 26 May 2015, Mathieu sang at the "Culture Without Borders"
(Culture sans frontière) project at the
On 30 July 2015, she returned, after 41 years, to Byblos, Lebanon for the Byblos International Festival . Her sisters (manager) Monique, and Marie France accompanied her mother on the trip, who then made a brief appearance with her on stage, escorted by the family servant Hervé-Marc.
On 20 March 2016, Mathieu's mother died at the age of 94 from a pulmonary embolism. She was entombed in the mausoleum Mathieu at the Saint-Véran cemetery in Avignon.
Mathieu has never been married and has no children. Unlike other celebrities, she does not have a publicist, or feel the need to expand on her private life. She is a devout Catholic and still participates in Catholic Mass with her family.
Main article: Mireille Mathieu discography
* Oui, je crois (Yes, I believe), with Jacqueline Cartier, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1987 * Моя судьба. История Любви (My Destiny. Love Story), Google Books, Translation by Jacob Zalmanovich, Moscow, Litres, 1991
* ^ International Who\'s Who . Europa. 2001. p. 368. ISBN
* ^ Le Point 2005, issues 1725–1737, p. 14: "Mireille Mathieu, 59
ans, a fêté à l'Olympia et en compagnie de sa maman, ses quarante
ans de carrière et ses 122 millions d'albums vendus."
* ^ "Une certaine idée de la frange". Libération. Retrieved 15
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* ^ A B Looseley, David (2003). Popular music in contemporary
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* ^ "Rev. of En direct de l'Olympia – Mireille Mathieu". Stereo
Review , Vol. 18. 1967. access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ Adler, Philippe (1 May 1971). "Talent in France: Poetry,
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* ^ Lemancel, Anne-Laure. "Mireille au grand coeur:
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* ^ A B Stéphany, Pierre (2006). Les années 60 en Belgique.
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* ^ Page, Christian. Mireille Mathieu. Paris: Bréa, 1983.
* ^ "Hot Roster Making Barclay a Pop Giant". Billboard . 28 May
1966. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
* ^ A B C D E "Biography: Mireille Mathieu". RFI Musique. Retrieved
22 September 2010.
* ^ "From the Music Capitals of the World". Billboard . 30 March
1968. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
* ^ "Miss Mathieu to Give First Concert Since Auto Mishap".
Billboard . 13 April 1968. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
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