Her record sales are worthy of London or Minneapolis. She is today the most successful French artist abroad, the proud descendant of Piaf, Chevalier, Montand and Co. She adopted a style of realist song perfectly suited to her warm and powerful voice. Popular at home, famous abroad, Patricia Kaas is a role model for French youth today…

Patricia Kaas was born in the mining town of Forbach, in the Lorraine region in the East of France, on December 5th 1966. Her German mother and her French father, a miner, recognised the vocal talent of the youngest of their seven children at an early age and greatly encouraged Patricia with her singing. By the age of 8 the young girl was already performing in working-men’s clubs and at local dances, singing covers of songs by French stars Sylvie Vartan, Claude François and Mireille Mathieu, as well as belting out American classics such as “New York New York”.

Beyond the Rhine

Patricia, who was accompanied on stage by her very own group, had become a true professional by the time she hit her teens. At the age of 13 the young singer signed a contract with the “Rumpelkammer”, a German cabaret in Sarrebruck, where she was booked to perform every Saturday night for the next seven years. It was here in 1985 that Patricia was ‘discovered’ by Bernard Schwartz, an architect from the Lorraine region. Impressed by the young singer’s powerful voice and her charismatic stage presence, Schwartz immediately got on to the Phonogram record company in Paris and arranged for an audition. Patricia’s audition tape then fell into the hands of François Bernheim, a composer who was a close friend of the famous French actor Gérard Depardieu. Depardieu, bowled over by the young singer’s voice, immediately offered to finance her first single. Patricia thus returned to the studio to record “Jalouse”, a song written by Elisabeth Depardieu, Joël Cartigny and François Bernheim (who would go on to become one of the singer’s main songwriters).

Patricia’s début single proved moderately successful but it was not really enough in itself to launch the young singer’s career. However, it did lead to her meeting Didier Barbelivien who wrote her the song “Mademoiselle chante le blues”. Released as Patricia’s second single on the Polydor label in April 1987, “Mademoiselle chante le blues” proved an instant smash hit. The press began writing rave reviews of this young singer who already had a full 10-year career behind her and the French public immediately took her to their hearts. “Mademoiselle chante le blues” went on to sell 400,000 copies and on her 21st birthday Patricia Kaas was invited to support Julie Pétri at the legendary Olympia music-hall in Paris.

Patricia Kaas’s next single, “D’Allemagne”, co-written by Didier Barbelivien and François Bernheim, proved to be equally successful when it was released in April 1988. By now Patricia Kaas was beginning to make a name for herself on the French music scene and in July of that year she was invited to support Michel Jonasz at the famous Francofolies Festival in La Rochelle. Indeed 1988 was to prove to be Patricia Kaas’s year of triumph. By the end of the year the singer had won a whole string of prestigious awards (including a “Victoires de la Musique” award for “Best Female Newcomer of the Year”, an “Oscar” from the SACEM for Best Singer and Best Single of the Year, and an RFI Trophée for her song “Mon mec à moi”). But in the midst of this phenomenal success, the singer was greatly affected by the tragic loss of her mother. Throughout the rest of her career, Patricia would carry her mother’s teddy bear with her wherever she went as a lucky mascot.


November 1988 saw the release of Patricia Kaas’s début album, entitled “Mademoiselle chante le blues”. The album soon proved to be phenomenally successful, selling an incredible 100,000 copies within a month of its release and earning Patricia Kaas her first gold disc. The young singer’s fame would rapidly spread beyond France, her album selling incredibly well throughout Europe as well as rocketing to the top of the album charts in Quebec and Japan. Ms. Kaas was to be one of the rare French singers to break onto the notoriously difficult Anglo-Saxon markets and achieve true international stardom. The singer’s delicate features, emotional lyrics and, above all, her exceptional voice soon earnt her a huge following of fans around the world and critics were soon hailing her as the new Piaf.

Following in the successful footsteps of Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel, the young singer from Forbach went on to win the prestigious “Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros” in March 1989. In April of that year Ms. Kaas embarked upon an extensive European tour, as a result of which sales of her début album topped the 600,000 mark, earning the singer a double platinum disc.

In the spring of 1990 Patricia Kaas embarked upon another extensive tour, her hectic schedule including over 200 international dates and lasting an entire sixteen months. After a highly successful week at the prestigious Olympia music-hall in February, Patricia Kaas went on to triumph at that year’s “Victoires de la Musique” awards, “Mademoiselle chante le blues” scooping an award for being the best-selling French album abroad. True to form, Ms. Kaas went on to win a whole string of awards in 1990 and, by the end of the year, her début album had gone diamond (selling over 1 million copies !)

Riding high on the tidal wave of her success, Patricia Kaas went on to record her second album, “Scène de vie”. Released in April 1990 on the newly-created CBS label (the company which went on to become Sony), this second album was mostly made up of new material by Ms Kaas’s two loyal songwriters Didier Barbelivien and François Bernheim. Like its predecessor “Mademoiselle chante le blues”, “Scène de vie” proved to be a phenomenal success, shooting to the top of the French album charts and hogging the n°1 spot for three entire months.

When Patricia Kaas performed six concerts at the Zénith in Paris in May 1990 tens of thousands of fans flocked to see her. Ms Kaas, who obviously loved performing in front of a crowd, proved to be an immensely popular live act. Throughout her career the singer was renowned for establishing an exceptional rapport with her fans, even when she played in gigantic stadiums in Russia.


In December 1990 listeners to one of the top French radio stations, RTL, voted Patricia Kaas “Voix de l’Année” (“Voice of the Year). And the media tributes would continue throughout the festive season, the French television channel FR3 organising a Patricia Kaas special hosted by French acting star Alain Delon. Patricia was also flown out to New York to record a special programme for American television in the prestigious Apollo Theatre.

By January 1991 Patricia Kaas’s second album, “Scène de vie”, had sold over 600,000 copies, earning the snger another double platinum disc. In February Patricia triumphed at the “Victoires de la Musique” awards yet again, when music professionals voted her Best Female Artist of 1990. With her phenomenal album sales and her ever-increasing collection of awards, Patricia Kaas had now truly earnt her place in the Pantheon of French music fame.

And the awards kept on rolling in. In May 1991 Ms. Kaas flew to Monte Carlo for the World Music Awards, where she was voted “Best French Artist of the Year”. Following the release of her second album in the States in July, Patricia then embarked upon an extensive summer tour of America to promote “Scène de vie”. She was invited onto all the most famous American chat shows (including “Good Morning America”) and featured on the cover of the most prestigious American newspapers and magazines (such as Time and Vanity Fair).

In the autumn of 1991 Patricia Kaas embarked upon a massive tour of Germany where she already had a huge following of fans. (The singer won over audiences across the country with her fluent German and charismatic stage presence). She followed this tour with a series of concerts in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In November of that year Patricia Kaas’s live album “Carnets de scène” was released together with a promotional video. Once again the singer scored a huge hit, her video selling over 300,000 copies.


At the end of 91 Patricia Kaas returned to the United States to star on the famous “Johnny Carson Show”. Then the singer flew out to Russia to give three concerts in gigantic stadiums, where audiences of 18,000 greeted her as if she were royalty. Throughout her career Patricia Kaas has remained enormously popular in Russia.

In February 1992 Ms. Kaas triumphed at the French “Victoires de la Musique” awards for the third time, “Scène de vie” scooping an award for being the best-selling French album abroad. (Patricia Kaas’s second album had sold a staggering 900,000 copies worldwide). In March of that year the singer was involved in the compilation album “Urgences” (the proceeds of which were donated to AIDS charities). Patricia’s contribution to the album was a stunning version of Edith Piaf’s classic “La vie en rose”, which the singer recorded with a string quartet.

In April Patricia Kaas embarked upon another tour of the States. She performed eight acoustic concerts with a quartet of jazz musicians, which proved to be a huge success. Indeed, American critics promptly showered the French star with rave reviews once again.

After enjoying five years of international stardom and achieving phenomenal record sales (which totalled almost 5 million), Patricia Kaas was now at the absolute summit of her career. The singer’s international tour in the summer of 92 proved to be another huge success, attracting 750,000 fans in 19 different countries. Patricia Kaas also continued her fund-raising work, flying out to Modène in Italy in the midst of this tour to perform at a charity gala with opera star Luciano Pavarotti.

The time was ripe for her third album, so in October 92 the singer flew to London to record “Je te dis vous” with the renowned English producer Robin Millar. Patricia wanted her new 15-track album to have a more sultry, sensual feel to it and believed that Millar, famous for his work with the English singer Sade, would be the perfect man for the job.

The singer’s judgement proved absolutely correct. “Entrer dans la lumière”, the first single released from the album in March 93, proved an instant hit. And when the album itself was released on April 6th 93 it fared even better than its two phenomenally successful predecessors, going on to sell over 2 million copies !


At the end of 93 Patricia Kaas embarked upon another of her extensive international tours, this time playing dates in no less than 19 different countries. In the spring of 94 the singer ventured into new territory, performing two concerts in Vietnam (in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh-Ville). Patricia Kaas was the first French singer to perform in Vietnam since the 1950’s and, true to form, she absolutely brought the house down. The French Foreign Ministry recognised Ms. Kaas as a veritable cultural ambassador to Vietnam, her songs renewing interest in the French language (which had been completely overtaken by English in modern-day Vietnam). Patricia continued her tour through Southern Asia (performing in Cambodia and South Korea) where her reception was much the same as in Vietnam, that is to say the audience bordering on total delirium.

1994 saw the release of a new live album, “Tour de charme”, recorded at one of the singer’s concerts in Caen (Normandy) on April 8th 1994. That year the famous American director Stanley Donen contacted Patricia to offer her the role of Marlene Dietrich in his film about the German star. Patricia, who had received offers of several film roles in the course of her career – generally to play cabaret singers – had never been motivated to launch an acting career before. But Donen’s proposal greatly interested her. Unfortunately, the project was never to be completed. However, the following year Patrica did become involved in the French cinema, recording the theme song to Claude Lelouch’s film “Les Misérables”.

1995 was also the year that Patricia Kaas triumphed at the “Victoires de la Musique” awards for the fourth time, winning an award for Best Album Sales Abroad as well as another for Best French Artist of the Year. Later that year the singer would add yet another trophy to her collection, after triumphing at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo yet again.

In June 96, Patricia Kaas went into a New York studio with top American producer Phil Ramone (famous for his work with international stars such as Paul Simon, Ray Charles and Sinead O’Connor) to begin recording her fourth album “Dans ma chair”. This album, which Kaas co-produced with Ramone, featured tracks by her loyal songwriters Barbelivien and Bernheim but also found the singer trying out songs by other writers (including James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, French singer/songwriter Zazie and Kaas’s boyfriend, the Belgian singer Philippe Bergman). “Quand j’ai peur de tout”, the first single release, was co-written by the American songwriter Diane Warren and the renowned French singer/songwriter Jean Jacques Goldman (who had already written Kaas a song on one of her previous albums under a pseudonym).

Patricia’s Look

Recording work came to a halt in June following the death of Patricia’s father. But, after a period of mourning, the singer returned to the studio and the album “Dans ma chair” was finally released on March 18th 1997. While Patricia’s deep, husky vocals were exactly the same as in the early days of her career the singer had decided to radically alter her look, adopting a sleeker blonde hairstyle and more sophisticated clothes. There was no mistaking the fact that Patricia, who had just turned 30, wished to make her mark on the music scene as a mature woman rather than some kind of Lolita prodigy.

Patricia Kaas devoted most of 98 to her live career, embarking upon an international mega-tour – which included a staggering 110 dates! In February Ms. Kaas brought the house down at Bercy stadium (the biggest venue in Paris) three evenings in a row, performing in front of capacity crowds. Hundreds of fans also turned out to see her when she performed in concert at the prestigious Olympia music-hall in June of this year. The star’s week-long stint at the Olympia provided fans with a retrospective of Patricia’s ten years in showbiz. A double live album of this exceptional performance – entitled “Rendez-Vous”, was released on August 18th 1998.

During the summer of 98 Patricia Kaas went on to give a series of concerts in Germany and Egypt. Then, after taking a well-deserved break in September, she flew out to perform a concert tour of Russia (a country where she was already a huge star!) Less than a year later Patricia shot back into the international music news with the release of the double album “Rendez-Vous” (in ten different European countries as well as Japan and Korea). The singer also rocketed back into the French charts with “Ma liberté contre la tienne”, the first single release from her new album “Mot de passe”. Needless to say, “Mot de passe” – which featured two tracks written by Jean-Jacques Goldman and ten songs by Pascal Obispo, who also looked after the production of the album – proved to be yet another best-selling success story.

As she had done with previous albums, Ms. Kaas hit the road after the release of “Mot de passe”, embarking upon her fourth major international tour. She hit music venues across Germany in the summer of ’99 then moved on to France in the autumn, the French leg of her tour including a popular stint at Le Zénith in Paris (12 – 20 November 1999). A few days later the indefatigable French diva jetted out to perform two concerts at the “Le Paris” Hotel in Las Vegas.

Patricia’s tour continued at breakneck speed, taking her as far afield as Russia and Finland! In fact, the singer kept up her hectic schedule right through until the end of August 2000 when her new double live album hit record stores. This new album is divided into two distinct halves – volume I featuring acoustic versions of legendary Kaas classics and volume II putting a symphonic spin on the singer’s hits. (Fans will remember that the singer has already experimented with symphonic arrangements of her work twice already, appearing on stage with a full symphony orchestra, first in Germany, then Luxembourg). Following the release of the album, Ms. Kaas was expected to enjoy a well-deserved ‘professional break’ after her intensive touring.

But in September 2000 Ms. Kaas re-appeared on stage (in an ice-rink!), performing at a “Holiday on Ice” special in Paris with several other music celebrities including Cheb Mami and Carole Fredericks. But for Kaas fans the highlight of the year came on 2nd November when Patricia appeared with the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra at the Palais des Congrès.

Flirting with the movies

Patricia’s fans had to wait for a long time to see their star on the big screen. Finally, in may 2001, having been won over by Claude Lelouch’s new project, the signer began shooting “And now…Ladies and Gentleman”, a romantic comedy with co-starring actor Jeremy Irons. She then flew off to London where she recorded the film soundtrack. Produced and arranged by Robin Millar—with whom Patricia had worked previously—the record consisted of a compilation of French standards translated in English. Awaiting the premiere of her film planned in Spring 2002, Patricia brought out a compilation of her hits including a previously unreleased tune entitled “Rien ne s’arrête”. Immediately following the release of the album in October 2001, Patricia travelled to Berlin where she gave a benefit concert for refugee Afghan and Pakistani children —the proceeds of which were donated for the German Red Cross.

2003 : “Sexe fort”

In December 2003 Patricia Kaas came back into business with an electrifying album, “Sexe fort”. The queen of French variety has produced an album of songs which are as much rock as blues : amongst the musical contributors are Jean-Jacques Goldman, Pascal Obispo, Francois Bernhein, and song-writers include Francis Cabrel, Eetienne Roda Gil and Renaud. Louis Bertignac, ex Telephone, plays a few riffs.

Better than ever on stage, the singer set off on a long tour in 2004, and her performance brought the Francofolies in La Rochelle on the 17th of July to a triumphant close. On the charity front, she took part in “Sidaction” 2004 (23rd and 24th April).

Patricia performed at Le Grand Rex, in Paris (14 – 16 October 2004) then went on to bring the house down at Le Zénith (21 & 22 January 2005). In March that year, she headed off to Russia to play concerts in fifteen different towns across the country. Then, on 29 August 2005, the singer performed the rousing finale of her French tour at the legendary Olympia, in Paris. After this, she embarked upon a tour of the U.S. in October.

2008: “Kabaret”

Taking a well-deserved break from touring after this intensive period on the road, Patricia returned to the studio at the beginning of 2008 to record a track with the Russian band Uma2rman (“Tu ne téléphoneras pas.”)

In December 2008, the singer made a spectacular comeback on the live circuit with a new show entitled “Kabaret.” Patricia decided to première this new show in Russia before taking it to audiences back home in France. The singer toured Russia from 22 November to 19 December, stopping off for a performance in Moscow on 24 November. Meanwhile, her new songs were made available to fans as a paying download on the internet from 15 December 2008.

Patricia’s new stage show “Kabaret” celebrates the glamour of the 1930s, paying tribute to the singer’s personal heroines who include Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Suzy Solidor and Martha Graham. All the songs included in the show are arranged by Ms. Kaas’s long-term collaborator, Frédéric Helbert. The all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza also includes performances by professional dancers from different backgrounds ranging from classical ballet to contemporary dance. “Kabaret” also boasts a stage set by Christophe Martin (Bob Wilson’s scenographer), choreography by the contemporary dance star Régis Obadia and costumes by Alber Elbaz, the artistic director of the prestigious Parisian fashion house Lanvin.

After presenting “Kabaret” at Le Casino de Paris (20 – 31 January 2009), Ms. Kaas embarked upon a major tour with her new show.

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