Lara Fabian (born Lara CrokaertJanuary 9, 1970 in Etterbeek, Belgium) is an international Belgian-Italiansinger, known for her vocal prowess and skilled technique. She sings in French, Italian and Spanish, in addition to English, and is fluent in them all. She has also sung in Portuguese, and once in German in 1988 for a version of "Croire" ("Glaub"), although she speaks neither language fluently. She also speaks a little Dutch (Flemish). She has sold over 12 million records worldwide so far. She became a Canadian citizen in 1994 at the time she began her career in Quebec. She possesses a five-octave vocal range (ex. middle C (C4) to A4).
Lara Fabian was born to a Flemish father and a Sicilian mother. Her name was inspired by her parents' appreciation of the theme song of the film Doctor Zhivago. Although born in Etterbeek (Belgium), she spent her first five years in her mother's hometown of Catania in Sicily, learning Italian as a first language, before moving back to Brussels in Belgium. Fabian began singing, dancing, and taking piano lessons at a very young age and began formal music lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels at age eight. She began writing and performing her own songs during her ten years study at the conservatory. Before pursuing a full-time career in music, Fabian studied to be a lawyer. Fabian's songs were greatly influenced by both her classical vocal and music theory training and by contemporary artists such as Barbra Streisand and Queen
During the 1980s, Lara Fabian entered a number of European competitions and won several prizes. A consequence of winning one of these contests in 1986 was the release of her first ever single, "L'Aziza est en pleurs" / "Il y avait". Both were written by the Belgian composer Marc Lerchs as a homage to the deceased French singer Daniel Balavoine.
In 1988, the RTL TV channel in Luxembourg invited Lara to represent the country at the 33rd Eurovision Song Contest, held that year in Dublin, Ireland. The song presented to Lara was a composition made by Jacques Cardona and Alain Garciac entitled "Croire" (Trust) and reached a respectable fourth place that night. The winning song that year was titled "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" and launched the career of its performer, Fabian's fellow francophone artist, Céline Dion, who sang on behalf of Switzerland. Fabian's "Croire" became a hit single that year in Europe selling nearly 500,000 copies.
In 1990, Fabian travelled to Canada to promote her third single Je Sais and fell in love with the province of Quebec. In 1991, with two suitcases and $1,000 in her pocket, Fabian and her friend and musical collaborator, Rick Allison, moved to Montreal, Canada to embark on a career in North America. They began their own music label and publishing company, Productions Clandestines. Rick first met Lara in a jazz bar in Brussels some years previously and was impressed by Fabian's vocals on Ella Fitzgerald's "Summertime". The pair worked steadily on writing and recording songs.
In August 1991, Fabian's self-titled French-language debut album, Lara Fabian, was released in Canada and sold over 100,000 copies. This debut album went on to be certified Gold in 1993 and then certified platinum the following year. The success of the album's upbeat Dance-pop singles such as "Le jour où tu partira", "Les murs", and "Qui pense à l'amour" gave Fabian the radio exposure she needed. She received several nominations at the 1993 ADISQ awards and a poll published around that time revealed that she was considered Quebec's most promising singer.
Fabian's constant touring in Quebec helped her 1994 album Carpe diem to become her breakthrough album. The album went Gold less than three weeks after its release, and spawned three hit singles: "Tu t'en vas", "Si tu m'aimes", and "Leïla". The following year, the album went Triple Platinum and Fabian's SRO tour attracted more than 150,000 fans. The success of Carpe diem was recognized at the 1995 ADISQ gala. Fabian received two Félix awards: Best Show Of The Year and Best Female Singer Of The Year (a category that is voted upon by the public).
In January 1995, Serge Lama requested that Fabian join him on the stage of the Paris venue Palais des Congrès to perform "Je suis malade", which she had recorded on Carpe diem. Impressed by the audience's response to their duet, Lama immediately asked Fabian to sing the song once more on her own, this delighted the audience.
In 1996, Walt Disney Studios immortalized Lara's voice when they asked her to voice the character of Esmeralda in the French version of the animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney also included Fabian's French version of the song "Que Dieu aide les exclus" (God Help The Outcasts) on the film's English soundtrack album beside Bette Midler's version. This was a unique move for the company
After the success of Carpe diem, Fabian signed a contract with the French Polydor label for several albums and Pure was released in June 1997. Pure sold over two million copies in France alone and the album went platinum in less than two weeks. The album spawned several hit singles: "Tout", "Je t'aime", "Humana" and the anti-homophobiaanthem "La Différence". "Tout", "Je t'aime" and "Humana" each sold more than one million copies. Fabian was again bestowed with awards, being awarded a Félix for Popular Album Of The Year at the 1997 ADISQ gala and was also nominated for two Juno Awards in the Best Female Singer and Best Selling French Album categories.
This recognition once again attracted the attention of movie studios. The producer of Daylight (starring Sylvester Stallone) asked Fabian and Rick Allison to write a song for the movie. They created the French song, "Tant qu'il y aura de l'amour". For the film this was performed in English by Donna Summer and Bruce Roberts.
In January 1998, Fabian sang a duet with Johnny Hallyday at a benefit concert given for the Restos du Coeur in France. The pair would later perform this duet again at the Stade de France in front of 240,000 fans as part of Hallyday's concert tour. Fabian's own tour during this time had two sold-out shows at L'Olympia (France). A month later, on that very same stage, Lara was given the Discovery Of The Year award during the Victoires de la Musique Gala. Also in 1998, Polydor released Fabian's Canadian hit album Carpe diem in Europe and her international popularity was secured, as exemplified by the decision of the famous Grévin Wax Museum to unveil Fabian's wax effigy, as a Quebec City museum had already done. This made her the first female Canadian singer ever to be honoured by the Paris institution.
Lara spent most of Fall 1998 in France, where she embarked on an extensive tour of 24 cities including Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Geneva and Monaco. During this sold-out concert tour, Lara performed for audiences of more than 150,000. In November 1998, Lara received the Félix Award for Artist With The Most Recognition Outside Quebec at the ADISQ Gala. In December, Lara was chosen Revelation Of The Year by the magazine Paris Match, which put her on its cover to mark this occasion.
In March 1999, Fabian released her first live album, simply named Live, which debuted at #1 on the French charts. This helped solidify the international buzz around her and she received an international recording contract from Sony Music.