French postcard, no. 1152.
French postcard, no. C 101.
Controversy and boycot
Florent Pagny was born in Chalon-sur-Saône, France in 1961.
Pagny began his career as an extra in such films as the comedy Les surdoués de la première compagnie/The gifted of the first company (Michel Gérard, 1981), and the romance L'amour nu/The naked love (Yannick Bellon, 1981) with Marlène Jobert.
On TV he appeared in the drama series Les maupas (Jean-François Toussaint, 1982) with Yves Rénier, and Marion (Jean Pignol, 1982) featuring Mylène Demongeot.
He played a boxer in the adventure comedy L'as des as (Gérard Oury, 1982) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.
He also played supporting roles in other popular films like La Balance (Bob Swaim, 1982) with Nathalie Baye, and the historical war drama Fort Saganne (Alain Corneau, 1984) with Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.
Pagny had his first lead role in the musical drama Blessure (Michel Gérard, 1985). Interesting is also the Romanian film François Villon - Poetul vagabond/François Villon: The Maverick Poet (Sergiu Nicolaescu, 1987), in which Pagny played the title character.
In 1987, he wrote his first song N'importe quoi. He was discovered by artistic agent Dominique Besnehard, who gave him a record contract.
He continued working as an actor, such as in La fille des collines/The girl from the hills (Robin Davis, 1990).
Pagny's first album, Merci, was released in 1990. The album's songs, mainly written by himself, began to attract controversy, with the press eventually boycotting some of them. This led to a decline in sales, culminating in personal problems.
His follow-up album, Réaliste, was also not successful. He also made headlines because his love affair with singer-actress Vanessa Paradis.
Jean-Jacques Goldman wrote three songs for Pagny under the pseudonym Sam Brewski, and presented to him a new staff.
The album Rester vrai marked the beginning of his career as a performer only. Bienvenue chez moi, a semi-compilation released in 1995, was a smash success. Pagny also covered Caruso, the hit originally performed by Lucio Dalla.
French postcard, no. 519.
A New Life
Florent Pagny decided to go live in Patagonia in order to escape the French tax authorities.
He started a new life with his wife, Argentinian painter Azucena. They had two children, a son Inca and a daughter, Ael. Recently, Pagny said he had enrolled his children in Miami because he didn't want them to speak Arabic while returning from school.
His next album, Savoir aimer, was released in 1997. It was composed by a number of writers, including Jean-Jacques Goldman, Erick Benzi, Jacques Veneruso, Zazie and, Pascal Obispo, who also produced the album. Savoir aimer turned out to be an immediate success.
In 1999, Pagny released an album of cover versions of his old song, Recréation. Pagny then alternated studios and cover albums (at least in part) and regularly changed his look.
In 2000, he released the album Châtelet Les Halles, whose title song was produced by Calogero. He followed that with 2, an album composed of duets released in 2001.
In 2003, he returned with Ailleurs land. Its first single, Ma Liberté de penser, was composed by Pascal Obispo and Lionel Florence and deals with Pagny's problems with the French treasury.
In 2004, Pagny released Baryton, an album composed of opera songs, and in 2007 followed an album of covers of songs originally composed and performed by Jacques Brel entitled Pagny chante Brel. His latest album is Vieillir avec toi (2013). As of 2013, he has sold more than 5 million copies of singles, 10 million copies of albums, becoming the 17th best selling artist in France from 1955 to 2013.
Florent Pagny sings Savoir Aimer. Source: FlorentPagny VEVO (YouTube).
Florent Pagny performs Caruso. Source: FlorentPagny VEVO (YouTube).
Sources: Wikipedia (English), and IMDb.