Patricia Kaas was born on December 5, 1966, in a small town called Forbach in the Lorraine region at Eastern France, just by the German border.
Starting with the 6th century this region was a subject of constant battles between France and Germany. From 19th to 20th century it changed hands between France and Germany, depending on who was winning the war. It made an effect on the Lorraine culture. You can hear the German language here as much as French.
From her childhood Patricia was surrounded by both cultures, and it´s not surprising – her father was a French man, while her mother was German.
Irmgard, a beautiful German blonde with blue eyes, always dreamed of being an actress. But when she met and fell in love with Joseph Kaas she gave up her girlish dreams and dedicated herself to family life. They gave birth to 7 children – 5 boys and 2 girls. Joseph worked as a miner, and the family was not rich, but not too poor either. The children were satisfied in their cosy little house. Patricia tells that when she saw her friends going away to vacations she never was really jealous. «I was raised in a family where love and honesty were the biggest treasure», – she says.
The youngest child of the family, Patricia was very shy and modest. She loved spending time in her room, listening to Claude Francois´ music. He was her idol, she loved him so much that when he died she got into deep depression that made her sick for 3 days.
Patricia spoke only German as a small child, as it was the main language spoken in the house. Only when she went to school did she learn French. She didn´t like school. The problem was not with the teachers, but with her classmates who didn´t accept her. She didn´t like going out much, didn´t have boyfriends, didn´t smoke and was always by herself – she wasn´t «popular». She had one best friend, a girl who lived next door. Another best friend was her first dog, a Dalmatian named Cindy. But while she was uncomfortable with kids her age, Patricia felt great on stage. In this adult world she was happy.
Patricia loved singing since early childhood. She met her first stage at the age of 8. It was during a carnival in her hometown Forbach, she sang Claude Francois´ song Sale Bonhomme and won her first award – a bag of candy. Since than she was accompanied by her mother to all kinds of singing contests and carnivals. Irma believed in her daughter´s talent with all her heart. She went to every performance with her little girl, and whenever Patricia missed school because of her musical activities, mommy wrote the necessary notes for school. Joseph worked very hard at the mine, but Irma could now dedicate herself completely to her youngest daughter, and they had very close relations.
From the age of 9 until 12, Patricia together with her sister Carine participated in the parades that took place at Stiring-Wendel. During these parades kids dressed in special uniform, sang and danced with wooden sticks. Soon little Patricia got one of the leading places in the troupe. At the same time she joined the band Black Flowers where she sang popular disco songs.
At 13 Patricia got a contract at the German cabaret-club Rumpelkammer at Saarebrück, at the German side of the border. She sang 3 times a week, at times the performances lasted until 3-4 at night. Patricia became almost a professional singer and stayed in this cabaret for 7 years. Supported by her mother, Patricia decided to make a choice in favour of her future singer career and to drop out of school.
She was making good money and was allowed to spend her money the way she liked. Patricia mostly enjoyed buying fashionable clothes. She and her mother would go shopping together, talked about their hopes and dreams. Patricia was a good girl, she never argued with her parents about going out, the first time she ever went to a night club was when she was 17, and it was her brother´s club. She never was interested in boys either, because she was very insecure about her looks of a thin, petite girl with pale skin. «I always wore heels because I was so small, but most of all I was insecure because I was so thin, I had no breast and it made me miserable. I wore baggy clothes so that nobody would see my body but the results were awful. I wouldn´t even look at boys, I was good friends with them but I couldn´t imagine any of them would be interested in me. I started developing at the age of 17 and it felt like I had to wait forever… At 17 I grew about 15 cm. a year, which made me very fragile and weak. Only years later I gained a bit of confidence and realized that I can seduce!»
By the time she was 17, Patricia could pick by herself the songs she performed in the club, aside from the usual cabaret classics that were popular at the time (New-York New-York, Just a Gigolo, Lily Marlène and more).
In 1983, a man named Bernard Schwarz came into the Rumpelkammer club. This man was not a famous musical producer but an architect from Bitche (Moselle). «When I came into the club I didn´t notice her. I only heard a deep low voice. I looked around, and I was shocked to see this small fragile blonde girl.» Only a year later, in May 1984, Schwarz came back to the club with friends. Irma met him in the hall, and talked to him about her daughter all night. The next day Schwarz called his friends in Paris and arranged a meeting with Joël Cartigny, a director at the Phonogram studio.
It was the first trip to Paris for 18-year-old Patricia and her mother. In the face of Joël Cartigny, Patricia sang some french songs. Joël Cartigny recalls: «What I remember of our first meeting, is a girl with almost transparent skin, badly dressed, speaking rather bad French, but with extraordinary eyes and of course, that magic voice… I immediately felt that she had a monstrous talent and enormous potential.»
Cartigny fought with Phonogram to make a record with Patricia, but it wasn´t easy. He was told every time that she would`t sell because at that time the french chanson wasn´t popular. Meanwhile Cartigny decided to leave Phonogram and start an independent production. And he decided he would make Patricia a star. To get to know her better he went to Forbach, met her family at their little house. He shot a video cassette of Patricia during her performance at the Rumpelkammer club. Cartigny knew a few people in show business. He demonstrated the video cassette to Gérard and Elisabeth Depardieu. And then Patricia´s luck began, even if not immediately…
When a phone rang at the Kaas´ home, and Gérard Depardieu himself asked to talk to Patricia, she thought it was a joke. He and his wife were so impressed with her voice, they decided to produce her first single. Elisabeth co-wrote a song with François Bernheim (a songwriter who was also friends with Joël Cartigny) and Gérard produced it. The song was called Jalouse (Jealous). A promo version of the single was released in 1985 in France and Germany thanks to Gerard´s financing. Schwartz and Cartigny made promotion through France and Germany, they took their young singer everywhere. But unfortunately the song wasn´t much success. Patricia was rather disappointed and disillusioned with the profession.
At that moment Patricia´s mother falls ill. She has a ganglion cancer, with no hope of cure. It was her mother´s illness that had driven Patricia to chaise her and her mother´s dream. «I want to see you achieve greatness», – Irma tells her daughter. It is her dying wish.
Schwartz, who became Patricia´s personal producer, decides to finance another record for his protege. Again they turn to François Bernheim, and he turns to another fellow songwriter Didier Barbelivien. Barbelivien digs up a song, an un-exploited treasure, which he wrote back in 1977. A song called Mademoiselle chante le blues.
And the magic begins…
In the beginning of 1987, Bernard Schwartz and Patricia sign a contract with the record company Polydor, and in April of that year the record Mademoiselle chante le blues is released. The radio stations weren´t enthusiastic about it. Nobody wanted it at first. Patricia went to radio stations herself offering her new song. Finally the results came – the public fell in love. The song got requested again and again. Suddenly it was a big hit.
December 5, 1987, Patricia´s 21st Birthday. She rises to the stage where once performed Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Yves Montand, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many others. The famous Olympia hall in Paris. Patricia opens for the singer Julie Piétri. She was excited and nervous. It was her first big performance, and her mother is in the audience. She sings her Mademoiselle chante le blues and a standing ovation follows. Everybody sing along. A triumph!
In 1988 Patricia moves to Paris. She returns to the studio and records her first album. The songs all written in collaboration by Didier Barbelivien and François Bernheim. The second single is called D´Allemagne (From Germany), a serious song that tells of «another Germany», inspired by Patricia´s heritage. The song later wins the important Oscar SACEM for Song Of The Year. Patricia also wins Best Female Debut at the Victoires de la Musique (French equivalent to Grammy). Her next single Mon mec à moi (My guy of mine) is another smashing hit.
The album Mademoiselle chante… is finally released in November 1988. In a couple of weeks it becomes gold in France, in another tree weeks – platinum. It also gets gold in Switzerland and Belgium, and successfully sells in Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, Japan, Holland…
Patricia creates her own universe, bluesy, filled with impossible love stories. She creates her image of a fragile girl with tomboyish look and a huge voice. Soon she has a big fan base around the world. In the spring of 1989 Patricia starts a promotion tour around Europe and USSR. She is the new ambassador of the French music.
On May 16, 1989, after 3 years of illness, Irmgard Kaas dies. Patricia loses the closest and most important person in her life. This will leave a bruise in Patricia that will never really heal. In her sorrow she dedicates her entire career to her mother. Everything she does from now, she does not only for herself, but also for her mother, who dreamed together with her of a great singing career for Patricia.
In July Patricia already performs in Japan, in September she sings in Canada, where her album is already gold. In Belgium and Switzerland it´s platinum, in France it´s already double-platinum. By 1990 it´s diamond. The album sells 3 million copies worldwide, and Patricia becomes one of the few Francophone artists who broke into foreign markets.
On January 12, 1990, Patricia launches her first world tour. In February she is at the Olympia again, only this time she is the main act. At the same month she performs in Washington and New York. Her only regret is that her mother can´t see her on all these stages, at her glory. The dream came true, and Irma only saw one first moment of it…
On April 10, 1990, the second album is out. Scène de vie (Scene of life), under a new company, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting Systems). Polygram Group refuses to release the first album commercially outside France, only promo versions. But Patricia wanted to be recognized in Germany, for her mother. Bernard Schwartz leaves his position as a manager, in favor of real professional – Cyril Prieur. Schwartz opened the doors for Patricia, but he was after all an architect. And at this point she was a big star. Cyril and Richard – they became more than just managers. They are Patricia´s family, her best friends.
New management, new label. And a new sound too. The new album is more relaxed, more jazzy, of course with blues songs too. The same songwriters with a few new names. Her new single Les hommes qui passent (The men who pass) is another hit that as her previous hits soon becomes one of her classics. In Saarebrück, the city where Patricia´s career hit roots, she gets Golden Europa award as Singer Of The Year and a Franco-German Music award. In December Patricia is chosen as Voice Of The Year by the audience of RTL and FR3. FR3 dedicates a TV special to her, hosted by Alain Delon. The French press compares Patricia with Edith Piaf, but Patricia says: «I admire her, but I don´t want to be a second Piaf. We are very different.»
In January 1991 the first part of her tour ends after 8 concerts in Russia, 6 in Germany, 11 in Canada and 5 in Japan. Patricia is invited to the World Music Awards in Monaco where she gets the Best French Singer Of The Year award. In July Scène de vie is launched in USA and Patricia takes part in American TV shows such as Good morning America, Entertainment tonight, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and gives interviews to Times and Vanity Fair. Scène de vie is double platinum in France, platin in Belgium and Switzerland, gold in Canada.
On September 25, 1991, begins the second part of the world tour, which is named Carnets de scène (Scene Notebooks). On November 6, 1991, a live album Carnets de scène is released. Patricia´s energy and passion make the songs sound even better than in studio, and many of them even get a different production. As in old times, Patricia sings a verse of Lily Marlene just before the significant D´Allemagne. She also sings the jazz classic Summertime and Cocker´s You can leave your hat on.
In January 1992, the great French singer and songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman invites Patricia to the annual concert Les Enfoirés, which he arranged and which takes place every year with France´s biggest stars and all the profits go to charity. Patricia sings a duet with Goldman – Je te promets (I promise you) which he wrote.
In May Patricia and other 27 famous French singers volunteer songs for a compilation called Urgence, as part of the battle with AIDS. Patricia records Piaf´s La vie en rose. In April she makes 8 concerts in USA accompanied by four jazz musicians. In Germany´s Echo Music Awards Patricia is one of the 5 nominees for Best International Singer, along with Tina Turner, Madonna, Cher and Whitney Houston. In the summer Patricia is invited by Luciano Pavarotti to take part in his gala Pavarotti and Friends which takes place in Italy. Patricia performs her hit Les hommes qui passent.
That summer of 1992, Patricia decided to take a short break. She spent some time at home, alone and with her family, after 2 years of travels, of living her dream, of being adored by millions in different sides of the world. But very quickly the longing for music took over, and Patricia was already thinking about the next album.
«I started going through all my videos, TV shows, clips, read again my interviews and articles, and I realized that I had built a wall around myself. I was timid, even a bit cold at times. I always was alone, I didn´t really have friends and I didn´t miss that. Finally, I wasn´t myself. It´s normal, I left my family, my small town, I didn´t even have time for transition into this world of show business where I knew nobody, where I was answering to Parisian journalists with German accent. I was used to always being with my mom, and suddenly I was all alone… I needed to protect myself. And now I needed to break this wall, to become myself again. But I have changed, grown. And I also felt the need to seduce. Not just the public. I wanted to be found beautiful. From now on, I decided to be me.»
October 1992, Patricia begins the recordings of her next album. Never had she invested so much of herself into an album. She wanted this album to be truly about her! Together with Cyril and Richard she went through hundreds of songs that she had received. She met with songwriters, talked about everything and nothing, about life – her life. Songs were born out of these conversations. Y´avait tant d´étoiles (So many stars), Je retiens mon souffle (I hold my breath), Fatiguée d´attendre (Tired of waiting), Entrer dans la lumière (Entering into the light)… Other songs were chosen by Patricia because they spoke of what she wanted to say. Some sad, some sensual, some romantic. Je te dis vous (I tell you «sir»), the title song, told a double story – a meeting with a man who makes one realize that she has become a woman, and at the same time a love story of an artist with her public.
Once again Patricia works with Didier Barbelivien and François Bernheim, but now more songwriters join, such as Marc Lavoine, Joëlle Kopf, Michel Amsellem. Ceux qui n´ont rien (Those who have nothing) was written by Barbelivien, after he was inspired by Les Enfoirés concert in which Patricia took part.
At the same concert another song was conceived. Behind the scenes, Patricia talked a lot with Jean-Jacques Goldman. «Jean-Jacques Goldman and me, we are similar in certain things, I believe. We went out to lunch together, and I spoke a lot about the album. I spoke probably only about the album, the choice of songs, the sound, the tone. I was completely over-excited. I was listening to demos all day every day. I had told Jean-Jacques that I will refuse a song that sounds like a sure hit if it doesn´t touch me. I think that impressed him. Without me asking anything, he wrote «Belle» for me, and signed as Sam Brewski. He said that he wants the song to exist by itself.»
Belle – this is how Patricia lovingly calls the song Il me dit que je suis belle (He tells me I am beautiful). Only after it became a huge hit, and yet another Kaas classic, was it revealed that the man behind it is the great Goldman. Jean-Jacques and Patricia became friends, and gave birth to quite a few brilliant musical collaborations through the years.
Another man entered into Patricia´s career. Robin Millar, who produced Sade and Fine Young Cannibals, interested Patricia and she wished to meet him. He was now living and working in France, and he spoke French. «He knew me. He asked me what I love about myself, and what I didn´t want any more. I knew that I wanted an album of charm, emotions and sensuality. Because I have slipped from adolescence into womanhood, without thinking of it, carried by a swirl.»
And so they have met again and again, working on demos, on sounds, on ideas. And finally they went to London, where all Robin´s team worked. They recorded at Pete Thownshend´s Eal Pie Studio for 3 months. On December 5th Patricia celebrates her 26th birthday with her friends, Robin and his musicians at the Jazz Cafe. She was happy. She created an album that was her own. For the first time she participated in the arrangements. This collaboration with Robin had taught her a lot. For the first time she recorded songs in English as well, and one song in German. She learned a new way of singing, using her voice in different ways. It was indeed her album of growing up, becoming a woman. She wanted to be more feminine in every way. As she said, she needed to feel beautiful, seductive. Both inside and out.
And so with Je te dis vous album a new image was born, a new look. Patricia had sexy photo shoots before, but most of the time she was looking a bit awkward, in an adorable tomboyish way. But as she appeared on the cover of Je te dis vous, she was another person. A young woman, hair curled around her face, perfect make up, a longing look. She was stunning, breath taking. She was gorgeous. And just as she hoped, she was oh so sensual and seductive (Later that year, the magazine Globe Hebdo claims that according to their survey, 19% of men dream about spending a night with Patricia Kaas).
«Sometimes, we meet people who leave a mark on us for the rest of our life, but we know that we cannot return them love with the same intensity. So we refuse to protect them. I have lived intense love affairs. I speak in the past, because life goes on. But nothing is more important than the feelings, if it´s towards a lover, a dear friend or a mother. It counts so much more than anything else! In this album, I have put all my forces and all my heart, and I made something that pleased me.»
The new album was finally finished. Some told Patricia that a third album is always a flop. Some were wondering how the public would accept her new image. But she finally felt great, confident of herself, she felt beautiful, she was smiling, she believed in the songs and she couldn´t wait to sing them on stage. Patricia joined Jean-Jacques Goldman and Les Enfoirés charity concert again during February. On March 8, 1993 came out her new single Entrer dans la lumière.
On April 6, 1993, the album Je te dis vous was released in 47 countries. In USA and the UK it is called Tour de charme (this is also the title of her next world tour and the live album) and it has 2 bonus tracks – La vie en rose and A Saint-Lunaire. The Japanese version has another bonus track – Juste une chanson. In 5 weeks the album is gold, by the summer it´s platinum. On June 24, the Grevin wax museum in Paris adds a Patricia Kaas wax figure.
Meanwhile the real Patricia is planning her next world tour. She decides that the symbol of this tour will be a Cupid. Then she thought of stage decors – a cinema-like environment, a decoration of a hotel room. Each song inspired ideas. Two environments were specified: one intimate, another rhythmic. «I wanted the public to enter a universe which leads towards the paradise of desire, with smoke of candles, wind in the veils, lights that will turn them on and off gently. And this angel of love at the top, the symbol of the show. Everything plays with the movement, like an act of love.»
Patricia wears sexy gowns, showing off her slender body, feeling comfortable in her skin. She sings her new songs, and her old hits, re-arranged in the spirit of this Tour de Charme. During the song Une dernière semaine à New York (One last week in New York) she goes down to the audience, picks one of the male fans and dances a slow dance with the lucky guy! She also sang Marilyn´s I wanna be loved by you. What´s more appropriate than a famous song of the symbol of femininity?
The tour started at the end of September 1993. It begins with USA, then Europe, Russia, Japan, China, Australia… In Paris Patricia gives 10 concerts at the Zénith Hall. In Russia she sings a song in Russian with the Red Army choir.
By March 1994 Je te dis vous goes diamond. Patricia becomes the first French female artist to sell more than a million copies of each of her first 3 albums. In April Patricia records a song called A qui d´autre que vous (Who else but you) for a Renault commercial. The song is sold in a limited edition single with the journal Libération.
During May Patricia visits countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. She becomes the first Western artist to visit these areas (since Dalida in the 50s). Her album is platinum in Korea as well. Towards the end of the tour she even performs in Beirut, Lebanon.
The British Times news paper calls Patricia «The French Madonna» because of her sexy new image. This title sticks to her for a while. Especially when in the video clip for Il me dit que je suis belle Patricia appears naked… It´s all very tasteful and beautifully shot, but it still raises eye brows. Who remembers the kid who sang of Jimmy?
Patricia is a big Madonna fan, she is amused. But she is no Piaf, no Madonna, no Marilyn and no Dietrich. She is Patricia Kaas. In USA Patricia Kaas gets her name into the famous Billboard charts. The remix of the song Reste sur moi (Stay on me) mixed by Danny Tanaglia (who re-mixed Michael Jackson´s Thriller) gets into the Top 20 of Dance Airplay Charts.
In June of 1994 Patricia almost gets into an exciting cinema adventure. Back in 1993, an American director Stanley Donen decides to make a film about the legendary Marlene Dietrich. Patricia lately compared to Dietrich a lot – it´s her looks, her low voice. Donen meets Patricia in Montreal in April. He proposes the role to her. Patricia hesitates. The world of cinema intrigues her, but she fears this role is too big for her, especially as a first attempt. But Dietrich… Her mother adored Marlene Dietrich, talked about her all the time. The first song her mother taught her was Lily Marlène. Richard pressed: «You are fragile yet strong like Marlene. Just be yourself and it will be enough.» Patricia was convinced. She met Donen in Paris at the end of June. The movie was planned for April 1995, it was to be shot in Berlin. But first a few scenes need to be played in front of the producers, before the budget for the project is confirmed. Patricia studies the English dialogues in between concerts. She presents 3 scenes. Donen loves Patricia, he says he got his Marlene. Sadly, Donen never got the financing for his project. And we can only imagine what Patricia would be like as Dietrich…
Meanwhile Patricia´s Il me dit que je suis belle wins the SACEM award for Song Of The Year. SACEM also awards Patricia with a medal of Inspiration Of The Year. New records for Patricia – double platinum in Switzerland (first time for a French singer!), gold in Finland, Singer of the Year awards in Turkey.
In October 1994 Tour de charme comes to end. And what an ending, her last concert is in the native Forbach. Everybody went to see «the little girl return home». All her family and friends were there. It was a great celebration, a big ending to the tour. Patricia was very emotional and excited. On November 25 the live album and a video cassette of Tour de charme is released.
Je te dis vous and Tour de charme brought many changes into Patricia´s life. She developed musically, she transformed physically, her career went even more forward, she traveled through many countries around the world. But another important thing was brought into her life.
During 1993, a young Belgian musician opened for Patricia´s concerts during the tour. His name was Philippe Bergman. Patricia heard his music a couple of years ago and decided to invite him to open her shows. Little did she know that she was about to meet the love of her life. A few words backstage, a few glances, and they are in love. Within days Philippe leaves everything behind him and moves from his home in Belgium to live with Patricia in Paris.
Patricia who is always very secretive about her private life, couldn´t help unbosoming herself. At the end of the tour she wrote a book of memories about making the album and the tour, and at the very last page she wrote: «Finally, I don´t want to close this story without telling you a secret: Je te dis vous and Tour de charme were an occasion for me to meet a GREAT LOVE.»
1995 starts calmly. Patricia gets a double platinum in Sweden and platinum in Finland. In January she is on the cover in the Time magazine. Robert Altman uses the song Reste sur moi in his movie Prêt-à-porter. In February Patricia gets Most Selling Album Abroad for the 4th time at the Victoires awards in France. In March a new Claude Lelouch movie is released Les Misérables, and Patricia sings the theme song. Once again Patricia takes part at Les Enfoires. She also takes part at another charity concert for Chernobyl victims. In May she gets yet again an award for Best French Artist at World Music Awards in Monaco. Patricia also records the classic Que reste-il de nos amours? or I wish you love in French and in English for the movie Innocent Lies. But most of the year Patricia is resting and spending time with Philippe.
Yet in June 1995 Patricia decides to try her luck in the Anglophone market. She goes to New York, where together with producer Phil Ramone she picks 12 classic jazz tunes and records them. But eventually it was decided not to release the album (which supposed to be titled Black Coffee). It was printed in 3,000 copies only and very few fans were able to attain it. It´s transferred through pirate circles.
Patricia takes a long, needed and well deserved break. Only in June of 1996 does she comes back to New York to work on her next album with Phil Ramone. With each album more and more songwriters offer her songs. To the team from Je te dis vous join big names like Zazie, Franc Langolf and… Philippe Bergman. The faithful boyfriend co-wrote some of the songs on the new album. Jean-Jacques, a dear friend, gives Patricia a dramatic song – Je voudrais la connaître (I want to know her) and translates to French the wonderful Quand j´ai peur de tout (When I fear everything), an adaptation of a Diane Warren song. Many songs on the album are English songs chosen by Patricia and adapted to French. A big team of French and American, famous and less famous musicians create a new mix for Patricia. This album is more up beat, more pop. There are still jazzy-bluesy influences even if they are small this time around. Patricia moves to a sound more modern, more American. The producer, Ramone, had worked with Sinead O´Connor, Poul Simon, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and others. He lets Patricia co-produce. Again she knows exactly what she wants, and she has the experience to do it.
She aims for a modern sound, different from what she has done until now. She wants to try something new every time. This album presents a mixture of ballads and very up beat songs, of pop, dance, jazz and a bit of soul. With the unique touch of Patricia of course. The album ends with a quiet duet with James Taylor Don´t let me be lonely tonight which was originally recorded for Black Coffee.
Patricia also changes her look yet again. Her curls turn into straight hair died platinum-blonde. Her look is very modern, fashionable. She appears on the red cover of her new album Dans ma chair (In my flesh), more confident and sexy, more… touch. A cool glance stares ahead, but the same blue eyes shine under the heavy dark make-up. «The title Dans ma chair is the final goal that I wanted to achieve. The songs completely fit my new tastes in music, and my new appearance.»
The album is finally launched in March 1997, after practically 3 years of waiting for new material. The album is dedicated to Patricia´s parents. On May 16, 1996, Patricia´s father passed away. She had now lost both her parents. The sudden death of her father leaves Patricia shaken. She finds comfort in the arms of Philippe. «I do not know anymore what the future holds for me. I only know that I lost my deepest roots. Then sometimes, when my beloved takes me in his arms, I feel a bit like a child…» She speaks more and more of Philippe, of being happier than ever as she has found her great love – the man of her life perhaps?
«I don´t really know what that means, «the man of my life». I don´t know anything. But this is the man with whom I spend my time, in November it will be 4 years that we´re together. And he is still the man with whom I want to spend most of my time. We´re doing well, we´re a beautiful couple, we love each other. I would love him to be the father of my children.»
In January 1998 Patricia begins her third world tour, called simply Rendez-vous. It´s a conceptual spectacle which recalls the road Patricia had made this far. «I wanted the spectacle to create different environments, pointing out places where I had sung: the cabaret, the piano-bar and more». For the tour Patricia cuts her hair shorter, which gives her a softer look. She gives a show with scenery, costume changes, divers and visually outstanding.
The concert begins as the stage becomes a small cabaret, for the next section the cabaret disappears, chandeliers appear and with them Patricia with a new set of clothes. She dedicates Entrer dans la lumière to her parents. Later Patricia shows up in a coat and a cylinder hat, throwing roses at the crowd. The jazz and blues part begins, and Patricia takes off her coat to remain in a little revealing dress. Last scene – a big show of lights, choreography, Patricia sings her modern songs.
By February Dans ma chair is double platinum in France. In March Patricia sings with the Enfoires again. She sings L´aigle noir (Black eagle) as a duet with the great singer/songwriter Pascal Obispo. She soon adds L´aigle noir to her tour song list, due to public´s requests. During the summer she gives a free concert in Romania in front of an audience of 200,000.
In June a live album Rendez-vous is released, it´s taped during 2 concerts at the Olympia. The concert is also released on VHS and DVD. Inside the cover it is written: «Thanks to all the lights that shine in the dark, and to the two stars that shine in the skies.»
In October 1998 another dream comes true for Patricia. She is invited to a show called Sacrées femmes, where she performs La vie en rose in front of her idol – Madonna. After the song they talk a bit, joke about singing together. Apparently Madonna knows and likes Patricia. They hug in front of the cameras, and Patricia is thrilled, she is a fan – just like the all of us.
The Rendez-vous tour ends in November 1998. That same year Patricia´s dog Lolita dies. She was a white setter-albinos, Patricia´s second dog, and she was with her for years.
Towards Christmas Patricia gets an invitation from the famous tenor Placido Domingo to participate in the concert Christmas in Vienna. Patricia sings traditional Christmas songs with Domingo and the Mexican star Alejandro Fernandez. The concert is aired in 85 countries, and is released on CD and DVD.
The year 1999 begins, and Patricia is already in studio, working on a new album. This album is produced by Pascal Obispo. At first, Patricia only thought he would write a song or two for her. He offered 12. Patricia chose 10 of them, and they spent 4 months in a studio together. «I was so impressed with Pascal´s talent and his working habits. He can spend an entire day in the studio. We worked in an atmosphere of trust, he gave me ideas and I had the last word.»
Other songwriters who appear on this album are Didier Golemanas, Lionel Florence and Zazie. Jean-Jacques Goldman wrote 2 songs, the powerful hymn Les chansons commencent (The songs begin) and the quiet ballad Une fille de l´Est (A girl of East), written about Patricia. «Jean-Jacques is a dear friend, he knows me well. His honesty is very moving. The lyrics he writes for me there is something melancholic. I put my truth in Une fille de l´Est because that girl of East is me. The text doesn´t speak just about a girl of Eastern France, but also of Germany, Russia. We all have things in common – our pale skin, our restraint, and of course the heritage of war.»
On May 18, 1999, the new album Le mot de passe (The password) is released in 40 countries. It remains on the 2nd position in sales for a month, selling 1 million copies worldwide, 570,000 of them in France. Le mot de passeis melancholic, it deals with the passing time, nostalgia, the complexity of love. For the first time Patricia´s voice is accompanied by a symphonic orchestra conducted by Yvan Cassar. With Pascal´s guidance Patricia evolves and again finds a new sound. On the cover of this album, we see a simple photo of Patricia in a sepia shade, she looks natural, and for the first time we see her smiling on her album cover.
According to a survey made on the occasion of 50 years anniversary of the journal Paris Match, Patricia is classified as the 3rd greatest singer of the last 50 years, after Edith Piaf and Celine Dion.
The French press begins to question Patricia about the possibility of writing her own songs. But Patricia says that there are authors that do it so much better than her, and she is given texts that are very close to her heart. «Between having ideas and writing, lies a world.»
The press also begins to wonder when Patricia will become pregnant with Philippe. She has been talking about her dreams to have family with him for a few years now, and even suggested she has set a date with her baby when she´s 33, after the Rendez-vous tour. All the journals are dreaming about publicizing the sensational news. But despite the endless speculations, the couple surprises the press and the public. They break up.
The great love story sadly and quietly ends after 6 years, and with it end the dreams of family with Philippe. Patricia doesn´t speak about the reasons of the sudden break up. In fact, she does not discuss it in the press at all. She leaves her Paris home that she shared with Philippe and moves Zürich, opening a new page.
In June 1999 Patricia is invited by Michael Jackson to perform in the big charity concert Michael Jackson and Friends in Seoul. The only French singer in the project, Patricia performs on the same stage as Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Vanessa Mae, Zucchero, All Saints, Boyzone, Andrea Bocelli and others. She sings 3 songs from Le mot de passe in front of 45,000 people.
In July Patricia makes a summer tour in Germany with the Hanover Pops Orchestra (87 musicians!) conducted by Georges Pehlivanian. The concert in Hamburg was aired on French-German TV channel Arte. In September Patricia participates on various TV shows, such as Tapis Rouge where she sings with Françis Cabrel, and Viva Latino where she sings with Ricky Martin. She also records a German version of her song Les éternelles (The eternals) from Le mot de passe, she sings it as a duet in German with the Turkish tenor Erkan Aki. The song, named Unter der Haut, is used for a German mini-series Sturmzeit/Riding the Storm.
Patricia takes part in a charity concert in Kosovo, arranged by the American actress Vanessa Redgrave. She takes this opportunity to support the French troops, just like her idol Marlene back in the day Patricia sings for the soldiers, wears their helmet, talks to them, takes photos with them and gives away signatures.
Patricia´s face is nominated to be the Marianne of the year 2000. Marianne is the French Republic, and great French women´s faces were used to be Marianne, such as Brigitte Bardo, Catherine Deneuve and others. Marianne´s face is the symbol of France, and it´s a great honor to be chosen or even nominated. Patricia ends up third after French top models Estelle Hallyday, and Laëtitia Casta who finally was chosen to be Marianne. (Today´s Marianne is an anonymous French woman´s face).
In October 1999 Patricia begins her 4th world tour that shall be called Ce sera nous (It will be us – a line from the song Le mot de passe). Patricia decides that this tour will be designed in the atmosphere of East, she was enchanted by it when she visited Morocco. The scene is designed as a tent, covered with carpets, filled with candles, lamps and various objects, all in the spirit of East. Even the microphone is covered with an eastern style fabric. The show begins with African percussion sounds along with violins. The percussion sounds appears in many of the songs, the whole show is a mixture of different sounds – from one side of the scene there´s a string quartet and an acoustic guitar, while on the other – an electric guitar, a bass, a keyboard and the drums. Patricia wears light sexy clothes, and gives a grand show, singing her new songs along with old hits with new arrangements. She sings again Barbara´s L´aigle noir and also gives a tribute to Léo Ferré by doing his classic Avec le temps (As time goes by). At the end of the show she gives a splendid belly dance.
The new millenium begins, and Patricia takes her tour all over the world.
In February she takes part in Les Enfoirés, this time she sings the song Casser la voix (Strain the voice) with Garou and David Hallyday. In May Patricia is awarded with the National Order of Merit, a great honor. In June she is singing for sick children at the Necker hospital in Paris.
On the 14th of July, France´s Independence Day, Patricia makes a free concert at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. She performs in front of French mayors, and accompanied by the philharmonic orchestra of Lilles. The concert is broadcasted live on French television. On August 29 the live album Ce sera nous / Les chansons commencent is released on a double CD. It is also released on DVD and VHS.
On October 17 in the town Müllheim (Germany), Patricia becomes a godmother of the 3rd regiment of hussars. The next day she receives the Charles de Gaulle – Konrad Adenauer award in Berlin, this award is given to those who symbolize the friendship between France and Germany. On November 2, 2000, Patricia gives the last concert of her tour in the Palais de Congress in Paris. She is accompanied by the National Orchestra of Paris conducted by Yvan Cassar.
Patricia is thinking about taking another long break. But after a couple of months she feels the need to work again. And at that point, the famous French movie director Claude Lelouch, known around the world most of all for his movie Un homme et une femme approaches Patricia with an interesting offer. Lelouch met Patricia back in 1995, when she recorded the theme song for his movie Les Misérables. 5 years later, as he searches for the lead female for his new movie, he thinks of Patricia.On December 18, 2000, in great secrecy, Patricia makes the auditions for the new Lelouch movie And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen. On December 26 the journal Le Parisien announces that it is Patricia who was chosen to the female lead. She is Jane, a jazz singer disappointed with love…
Through January 2001 all the French press is talking about Patricia´s debut in cinema. On January 29 Patricia performs at Les Enfoirés, and in a black wig she sings Les brunes ne comptent pas pour des prunes (Brunettes don´t worry for nothing) as a duet with Elsa. In February Patricia advertises the Crédit Mutuel bank, there are commercials on the radio, TV, and posters inside the banks. She also records a song Close your eyes for an animation movie Gloups, je suis un poisson, the soundtrack is released on March 2001 and the movie in April.
Patricia also goes back to studio to meet again Robin Millar, with whom she so enjoyed working on Je te dis vous. Robin is going to produce the soundtrack of And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen. The soundtrack contains classic French chansons that are usually sung in English. This is the first time Patricia has a whole English album. She has talked once about wanting to record an album that is all covers of classic songs. And now she was recording one. «I always wanted to sing my favorite French songs, but what´s the point of singing Ne Me Quitte Pas in French? I´d just be inviting comparisons with Brel, which is ridiculous. When I sing in a different language, it takes the songs out of that traditional context, it liberates them. English is the universal language. It´s a way for these songs to travel.» All the songs were chosen for the film, the production is very relaxed and jazzy yet the sound is modern, not like the more traditional jazz that we heard on Patricia´s Scène de vie back in 1990. «With this album, I wish to bring my personal vision of what the French chanson could be today.»
Meanwhile, John Malkovitch, who is supposed to be the male lead of the movie has backed out due extension of shooting previous projects in USA. On April 5, just a month before shooting, a new male lead is chosen – Jeremy Irons will be Valentine, a sophisticated English jewelry thief. Other actors in this film – Thierry Lhermitte, Jean-Marie Bigard, Yvan Attal and others. On April 6 Patricia performs in Luxembourg at the celebrations in honor of the Great Duke Henri´s coronation.
On April 30, 2001, the day finally arrives – the shooting of And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen begin. The shooting take place at Normandy (France), than in Morocco and finally in England. The film´s budget is 20 million euro. The shooting of the movie finally are finished in July. And on September 2001 the movie And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen is presented for the first time at the Morocco movies festival. As the shooting end, Claude Lelouch gives Patricia a unique present – a little white Maltese bichon dog (just like the one Jacques Chirac has). Patricia names the dog Tequila, and soon the two become inseparable, Tequila is with Patricia wherever she goes!
Patricia is now seen by people as a lonely woman. Rumors insist for a long time that she had an affair with her co-star Jeremy Irons, but Patricia dismisses them with amusement. She lives alone for a year now, in her Zürich home. The mixture of the French and German culture in Zürich appealed to her. It is also closer to her family, and the town is beautiful, life is more quiet and relaxed than the hectic Paris, and although she is recognized, people respect her privacy here.
For the first time she speaks of her break-up with Philippe more than a year ago. She left their Paris home to open a new page. «We lived a beautiful love story for 6 years. Love has gone… I don´t ask myself why. I prefer to believe that as with every couple, there was a beginning, a development, and an ending. We planned to have a child but it didn´t happen because the moment wasn´t right. It´s for the best.»
She denies the fact that she is sad and lonely. After all she has family and friends. She admits it´s hard to meet men, in fact, she realized that her independence frightens men. «I wish I wouldn´t scare men.» – she says with a shade of bitterness. Even though she had a few love stories, she still finds that at the end, men can´t handle strong women…
After the terrible September 11 tragedy in USA, there was an explosion at the chemical factory in Toulouse. On September 29 Patricia sings Les chansons commencent at the Solidarité Toulouse TV special which was dedicated to the victims of the explosion.
At the beginning of September, a new Patricia song hits the radios – Rien ne s´arrête. It´s the new song on Patricia´s first greatest hits album, Best of 1987-2001, also known as Rien ne s´arrête (Nothing stops). Sort of a conclusion after 14 years of career, more than 600 concerts all over the world, and around 14 millions copies of albums sold around the world.
The Best of album sells over 500,000 copies in France and 300,000 outside France. Through November/December 2001 Patricia took part at the French TV show Star Academy and the Téléthon which was aired on France 2. In January 2002 she sings at Les Enfoirés, this time performing Le France with Patrick Bruel.
The release date for the movie And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen is finally announced – May 29, 2002. About a month before, April 16, the soundtrack named Piano bar by Patricia Kaas. On the cover we see only Patricia´s leg, with eastern fabrics on the background, a red rose on the floor which turns into water. This is the most beautifully designed Patricia album from inside out, the gentle warm colors and the exotic images put us in the right atmosphere to listen to the relaxing quiet songs and imagine we are in a piano bar in Morocco. Patricia is involved in this design and insists on the cover, which is entirely her idea and other small details.
On May 26 the movie And Now… Ladies & Gentlemen is presented at the Cannes festival outside the competition. On May 29 it is released to cinemas across France. In July it will be released in USA. The film tells of two lost people who meet on unusual circumstances as dream and reality begin to mix.
Patricia promotes the film and her album in the press. Critics are not unanimous about the film, but in everybody approve of Patricia´s appearance. But the thing is – Patricia sings more than she acts… The movie doesn´t have a lot of success, especially relatively to the expectations of the new Lelouch film. The soundtrack, which is an atmosphere album most of all, as beautiful as it is, was very non-commercial. And so it is the first time that a Patricia project doesn´t enjoy great commercial success, not in the terns she´s used to. The soundtrack sells «only» 300,000 copies.
But our mademoiselle doesn´t mind. As she always said, she does whatever touches her, whatever is close to her heart, and whatever she truly wants to do. She enjoyed the filming and acting experience, she loved the songs she recorded, and it makes no difference that it wasn´t a huge commercial hit all over the world.
And so, in September 2002 Patricia starts a Piano Bar world tour, a show that plays a tribute to the French chanson. An intimate show in small halls, where Patricia attempts as much as possible to create the atmosphere of a piano bar. (On October 2nd she performs in the Cirque d´Hiver in Paris, where there are only 1,800 places!) The program includes the songs from the soundtrack, but also other famous French chansons by Piaf, Ferré, Trenet, Aznavour, Bécaud, Brel and more… The orchestrations are splendid, many sound effects contribute to the environment of the spectacle, and Patricia recreates on scene the sound of Piano Bar. The French chanson could not dream of a better ambassadress to pay homage to it throughout the world.
Despite the so un-commercial nature of Patricia´s latest project, her public proves that it´s not what is important. The tour is a success all over Europe and than the rest of the world. On January 2003, by invitation of the president Jacques Chirac, Patricia is the guest of honor at the celebrations of the 40 years anniversary to the friendship between France and Germany, and the opening of the new French embassy in Berlin.
Patricia appears at the annual Les Enfoirés, and gets on with her tour. While she´s on tour one of Patricia´s brothers tragically dies. Patricia goes through with the concert scheduled for that night, and later joins her family to mourn another close person lost… In September she makes the last concert at the Palais du Congress in Paris.
Fall 2003, Patricia is in studio recording. This new album doesn´t have one producer like all her studio albums until now. She works with many song writers, many musicians, a few producers. In this album Patricia goes in the direction of rock, after the quiet Piano Bar she sings with all her energy and with all her blues. We meet the new Patricia, a grown woman, single, independent and strong. She names her album Sexe fort – The Strong Sex. And we all know which sex she means.
She meets her old friends Pascal Obispo and Jean-Jacques Goldman. She works with some new collaborations, unknown songwriters such as David Manet, who writes 4 songs on the album, one of them – J´en tremblerai encore (I still tremble), which Patricia dedicates to her brother who died recently. He also wrote C´est les femmes qui mènent la danse (It´s the women who lead the world), a hymn of women who rule the world. Lea Ivanne wrote the opening song Où sont les hommes (Where are the men), a desperate cry for men that perhaps almost don´t exist (or do they?). The song opens the album and as the first single it soon becomes the hit of the album. Salvatore Campanile wrote the song Ma blessure (My wound), which deals with the undying bruise left in Patricia since her mother had died.
Patricia also gets a wonderful gift – she receives songs from great French songwriters who seldom write for others, such as Renaud, Etienne Roda-Gil, Patrick Fiori, Françis Cabrel and Louis Bertignac. J. Kapler (Goldman´s brother and a respected songwriter) writes Je le garde pour toi (I keep it for you) about Patricia´s teddy bear. The one she got for her mother before she died, the one she carries with her through the years for good luck, the one she keeps for the child she dreams of. One of the songs written by Jean-Jacques is a duet, Patricia sings it with the Swiss singer Stephan Eicher whom she met in Zurich.
The new album is released to the world on December 1st, 2003. 4 days before Patricia´s 37th birthday. In a special edition there´s a bonus track – Je maudis (I curse). On the album cover we see a cut photo of Patricia in a kneeling pose, on a blue-gray background there´s a big logo of her name tangled with a rose. Next to the title, Sexe fort, there´s a symbol of woman (which will also become the symbol of the next tour). This album is designed in gray-bluish colors, filled with photos of Patricia in very revealing clothes. We see a woman who is melancholic, and at the same time strong, confident and sexual. Patricia doesn´t mind showing her body, as she says why not enjoy it while you still got it? In her late 30s, she feels more beautiful than ever.
She desperately wants a child more than ever. But she does not dream of prince charming anymore. She dates from time to time, she wants to find love, but she´s realistic. And she won´t change for anyone. «My passion for singing takes most of my time. And I know that I am not easy to live with… When a man comes into my life, he must accept that I already have a lover – my public.»
On summer 2004 the Sexe Fort tour hits the roads. A show filled with energy, where Patricia reveals her rocky side. «I want this spectacle to be as a bridge between emotion and force – all that is me.» Together with her Tequila Patricia is traveling all over the world. The tour is to go on through 2005. Her faithful lover is there as always, greets her with joy.
To be continued…