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Alizee

Alizee Jacotey (born 21 August 1984) is a French singer. Born in Ajaccio, Corsica, she goes by the stage name Alizee—the feminine form of alize, the trade wind. She was discovered by Mylene Farmer, following her winning performance in the talent show, Graines de Star, in 1999. While collaborating with Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat, Alizee released two albums—both of which were hits inside and outside of France.

Alizee entered the music business in 2000. She has since released three studio albums - first two of which were composed by Laurent Boutonnat and written by Mylene Farmer. Her first album was Gourmandises, which received Platinum certification within three months of release. Gourmandises was a success both in France and abroad—after it had its international launch in 2001—earning Alizee the distinction of being the highest selling female French singer in 2001. The album featured her most successful single "Moi... Lolita" which reached number one in several countries in Europe and East Asia. Gourmandises was followed by a second studio album, Mes Courants Electriques in 2003, which was also quite successful, though not as big a hit as Alizee's debut album. Following its release, Alizee toured France during the fall of 2003, performing in 43 concerts throughout France, along with Belgium and Switzerland.

Alizee married fellow French singer Jeremy Chatelain in late 2003. Following her marriage, she took a hiatus from singing before returning with a new album, titled Psychedelices on December 3, 2007.. Her fourth album titled Une Enfant Du Siecle was released on March 29, 2010 and showcases her new mature persona, while distancing herself from her earlier lolita figure.

Biography

Early years

Also known by her nickname "Lili", Alizee started dancing early in her life, and by age four was already proficient. A year later, she was enrolled in Corsica's renowned dance school, Ecole du Spectacle de Monique Mufraggi, and trained there until she was 15. In 1995, at the age of eleven, she won a coloring competition organized by Air Outre Mer, a former French airline now partly acquired by Swissair. Her design won first prize and was reproduced on the cabin of one of the airline's aircraft. The aircraft was subsequently named after her, and Alizee won a trip to the Maldives for her efforts.

In 1999, she appeared on the TV talent show "Graines de Star", broadcast on Metropole 6. She initially intended to sign up for the programme's dance contest. However, the dance category was reserved for groups only. Alizee therefore participated in the singing category instead, performing the song Ma Priere (a single released by Axelle Red in 1997). She went on to win the "Meilleure Graine" award for most promising young singing star of tomorrow.

Her winning performance was seen by veteran Canadian-born French pop diva Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat, who were looking for a young, fresh voice to partake in their new project. They approached Alizee, and she was selected after studio auditions. The duo arranged her debut with a meticulously orchestrated launch, controlling her image and public appearances. In 2000, they produced her maiden album, Gourmandises which was a great success in France, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. The first single was "Moi... Lolita", which some say portrayed Alizee as a Lolita who was capable of "melting the hearts of the local male population". Others recognized her great variation in tone and artistic talent. Alizee won the M6 award in 2000. She returned with a follow up album, Mes Courants Electriques, in 2003. This second album was also quite successful, though not to the same extent as Gourmandises. It was followed up with a live album of her countrywide tour.

Personal life

Even though the albums have portrayed her in a sexy, Lolita-like image, Alizee had a "squeaky-clean public image as the perfect teenager" during her teens. Though described as a very shy and a reserved person, she likes performing in front of audiences. Although she has a singing career, Alizee prefers dancing, and is quite proficient in classical dance, jazz, Italy style ballet, tapand flamenco. Alizee also likes football. She is a supporter of AC Ajaccio (Corsica), and was once invited to kick off one of their matches.

Alizee is actively involved in charity work through Les Enfoires, a group of French celebrities who organize fund-raising concerts every year. The proceeds from these concerts go to Les Restaurants du Coeur. The organization, set up by French comedian Coluche, helps feed the poor. Alizee participated in these concerts in 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Alizee married fellow French singer Jeremy Chatelain in late 2003. She also has a child, Annily.

Career

Alizee debuted in 2000 with the album Gourmandises. It went on to become a hit both in Europe and outside. The album reached top five in charts in France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Mexico, India and others. It was followed up with a studio album in 2003, Mes Courants Electriques, and a live album Alizee En Concert in 2004.

She has sold nearly five million albums and singles around the globe. She has taken part in various stage shows and live performances throughout Europe, everywhere from France to Russia. She also starred in a Japanese commercial. More recently, she has been becoming just as popular in North America as she is in much of Europe; the latest concert tours together with earlier promotion leading to a very strong fan base in mainly the United States and in Mexico. In addition, she is also very popular in parts of Asia including India, China and Japan.

Following her marriage in late 2003, Alizee had taken a hiatus from singing and had avoided appearing in the media since, with her older official site being offline since summer of 2005. Her first television appearance since then was on MTV France on February 18, 2006. She has since resumed media appearances beginning in the second half of 2007 for promotion of her third studio album titled Psychedelices.

Gourmandises

Alizee made her debut with the single "Moi... Lolita", her most successful to date. It enjoyed success throughout most of Europe and parts of East Asia, reaching number one in several countries. The video for the single, which incidentally was the first to be filmed on her, showed Alizee as a village girl visiting a night-club. The song was later used in the UK trailer of the 2006 film, A Good Year, and was a part of the film's soundtrack.

The single was from her debut album, Gourmandises ("Delicacies"), released in 2000. The album, written by Farmer and composed by Boutonnat, sold over 788,100 copies in France. It went Platinum in just three months. In 2001, the album, most of whose songs featured "risqu? lyrics", was launched internationally, and she became the highest-selling female French singer in 2001. The album went on to sell over 2 million copies worldwide. Farmer and Boutonnat kept a tight rein how the album was marketed and controlled the image in which Alizee was portrayed. In the mean time, Alizee gave very few interviews, and even when she did, they did not stretch beyond 20 minutes per journalist. Neither did she agree to any photoshoots.

Her second single "L'Alize" (2000), also from the same album, followed soon after. It was also successful in hitting number one in France, and gained some success internationally. The video of the "sexily alliterative" song shows Alizee amidst soap bubbles against a pink backdrop singing about herself. The video was shot in a studio in Brussels—which had a 25 metre by 10 metre painted canvas to serve as the background—with real bubbles. This single was followed up with another single from the same album - the title song, "Gourmandises". The video, which shows a group of young boys and girls out on a picnic, was shot in a day. The last single from this album was "Parler Tout Bas", which deals with the theme of dreams and a loss of innocence. In France, "Parler tout bas" was the third single, then followed by the release of "Gourmandises".

Mes Courants Electriques

In 2003, Alizee returned with her second album Mes Courants Electriques ("My Electric Currents"). With the release of this album, she changed her image from a 'Lolita' to that of a more toned-down teenager. This album was also written by Farmer and Boutonnat. While it had some success in and outside France, this second album—featuring English versions of four tracks—was not as well-received as her first one, Gourmandises. It sold 200,000 copies in France.

The first single from this album, "J'en ai marre!" — also known as "Mon Bain de Mousse" in Japan — was released in 2003. The music video for this shows Alizee in a glass cage, singing while having water splashed on her. The plexiglass cage, 3 by 3 meters in dimension, was constructed in a Parisian studio, and the shooting of the video took two days. An English-language version of this song, titled "I'm Fed Up", was also released, and featured similar visuals for the music video.

The other singles from this album were "J'ai pas vingt ans" and "A contre-courant". Like "J'en ai marre", "J'ai pas vingt ans", "Youpidou" and "Amelie M'a Dit" also had English versions. The video for "J'ai Pas Vingt Ans" (I'm Not Twenty) resembles the ambience of a concert with Alizee dancing in the midst of several other dancers. A Contre-courant, the last single from this album, was shot in an abandoned coal factory. Unlike the other two singles, there was no English-language rendition of this song.

Alizee En Concert

Following the release of her second studio album, Mes Courants Electriques, Alizee went on a countrywide tour of France—along with a performance each in Belgium and Switzerland—during the second half of the year 2003. The tour started off with a performance on August 26, 2003 in Paris, France. It concluded with her performance on the eve of January 17, 2004 at the Le Zenith concert hall in Paris and had covered major cities including Lyon, Rouen, Lille, Grenoble and Dijon, among others.

A live CD and DVD, titled "Alizee En Concert"—comprising of selected performances from her tour—was launched a year later in the fall of 2004. The audio CD contained tracks, taken from her two studio albums. The DVD featured video footage of the same performances as on the CD, along with bonus footage of her rehearsals.

The compilation was re-released in early 2007 in Mexico by Universal music as a CD+DVD release, following the featuring of the songs in local radio stations. With the re-release and renewed interest, the songs climbed up the music charts in the country. The album became a hit, peaking at number four in the International Chart on May 28, 2007, and number eight on the main albums chart. En concert has a Gold certification for shipments over 50,000 copies only in Mexico.

Psychedelices

After a four year hiatus, a time spent out of the media limelight, Alizee returned in December 2007 with a new album, "Psychedelices", the first one to be made without the creative supervision of her former mentor, Mylene Farmer. The album, which features 11 tracks, was made available for digital downloads November 26, 2007, with a full release on December 3, 2007 under the RCA Records label. The album includes collaborations with Bertrand Burgalat, Daniel Darc, Oxmo Puccino, Jeremy Chatelain, Michel-Yves Kochmann, and Jean Fauque.

The first single from the album was Mademoiselle Juliette. It was released on September 30, 2007. It was accidentally released early on the Virgin Megastore website on September 23, 2007, but was taken down later citing an error on the part of Virgin Music, France. The single was later made available in online music stores as well as radio stations, and went on to capture the #13 spot on the legal music downloads charts. To promote the single, Alizee appeared on the French radio station, NRJ, on September 27, 2007. The video for the single was released for broadcast on November 19, 2007, though it was made available on MSN France on November 16, 2007. It was released on physical media, available as a CD or Vinyl, on January 21, 2008.

Another track from the album, Fifty-Sixty, was leaked two months before the album was released. Though the song was not mentioned by name, the leak was confirmed in a press release which revealed the title and release schedule of the album. Fifty-Sixty later launched as the second single from the album in February 2008. The lyrics to Fifty-Sixty tell, in personal and metaphorical manner, of a young model under the guidance of Andy Warhol, possibly inspired by real-life story of Edie Sedgwick. The song ends with a reiteration of how she foolishly believed Andy that she was the most beautiful model of all. Three music videos were released for the single - one for the album version of the song and the other two for two remixes. The first of the videos was released on May 5, 2008. For the purposes of promotion of the single and the music videos, a website (www.psychedeclips.com) and a MySpace page (www.myspace.com/psychedeclips) were created.

Coinciding with the new album, a new official website was created, which, despite being announced on September 11, 2007, was kept under wraps until November 28, 2007. The album was also promoted via an official artist profile at MySpace. Advertising and marketing campaigns for the album began November 22, 2007 with ad campaigns on NRJ National Radio in France, as well as TF1 TV, and the web.

In March 2008 Alizee visited Mexico for the first time in a short promotional tour. On March 5 she was supposed to hold her second ever public autograph session of her career but it was cancelled due to problems with the store's security, Alizee held an improvised press conference to apologise to all her Mexican fans as well as stating it was not her fault. Sony BMG Mexico also released a statement saying it was not Alizee's fault, that it was the store who had problems with the security and that they did not expect so many people in attendance; fences had been broken and kids were in danger. Alizee also promised to mend this by having another autograph session when she returns to the country later this year. She also stated that her tour will start on May 18 in Moscow, followed by concerts in Mexico and then France. She also commented that piracy in music has two sides "one good" and "one bad" saying that sometimes it's good because her music reaches places that she never thought to reach. After the success of Alizee's tour in Mexico and in an attempt to amend the damage caused during her first promotional visit, Alizee announced an autograph session with fans on 26 June 2008 in Mexico City, over 300 CDs were signed and the record label executives of Sony BMG Mexico presented a Gold certification for shipments over 50,000 copies of "Psychedelices - Mexican Tour Edition". A new cover singing in Mexico was Madonna's cover, "La Isla Bonita"; it has gone on to become Alizee's first top ten on the airplay chart.

Tout Alizee

Following the success of Alizee En Concert and Psychedelices in Mexico, Alizee's former music label, Universal Music released a compilation album, titled "Tout Alizee". The compilation, which is a Mexico-only release, consists of 15 tracks (with 4 remixes) from her first two studio albums. It is augmented with a bonus DVD featuring some of her music videos. The compilation debuted to number sixty-two on the Mexican Top 100 Albums Chart and number-twenty on the Mexican International Top 20 Albums Chart.

Une Enfant du Siecle

In the beginning of 2009, Alizee had to cancel a concert in France. She announced then that she was already working on her future album, which would sound very different from all of her previous recordings. The album is called "Une Enfant du Siecle" and it was released in France on March 29, 2010. A teaser can be shown on the Internet, called "Une enfant du siecle" ("A child of the century"). According to British website Popjustice, the first single is in English and it is called Limelight. On February,15 2010 they uploaded the full version of the song and a clip from the music video.. The Special Collector Edition of the upcoming album was made available for pre-orders on February 4, 2010. However, it was later confirmed by Popjustice itself that "Limelight" was a teaser single, and the official single from Alizee's fourth album is "Les Collines (Never Leave You)". The music video of the first single "Les Collines" was released on Alizee's official youtube channel on 19th March, 2010.

Critical response

Despite marketing hype and commercial success, there were mixed critical responses to the launch of Moi... Lolita, Alizee's first single. The critics felt that the similarity in style to that of Mylene Farmer was too striking. Some felt that her Lolita image overshadowed her singing prowess—describing her as "desperately trying to be sexy", and many were ready to write her off. Some of her songs have been described as "sweeping, atmospheric ballads" whose "melodies are so sparkling and beguiling", and from which Alizee manages to "squeeze more emotion than the usual pop package". Alizee's three albums include a wide range of songs, from catchy pop tunes to soulful ballads. Radio France Internationale featured Gourmandises as their CD of the week, stating:

“The ten songs on Alizee's debut album, Gourmandises (Goodies), have all been expertly manufactured by the Farmer hit-machine. Sweet syrupy pop ditties are wrapped in silky synths, violins and catchy techno beats and judging by the success of Alizee's sexily alliterative second single, L’Alize, the Farmer team have hit upon a winning formula.”







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