Mylène Farmer


12 September 1961

Mylene was born in Canada (Pierrefonds, Quebec). Her parents moved from France to Canada in the late 1950s as Farmer's father, Max, pursued an engineering contract on a dam. Her family returned to France when she was eight, settling in the Parisian suburb of Ville d'Avray. In her teenage years, Farmer was passionate about horse-riding, going on to qualify as a riding instructor at the equestrian centre in Saumur. At 17, however, Mylene Farmer discovered her other passion, acting, and she abandoned the stables to take a three-year course at the Cours Florent, a drama school in Paris. Changing her name to Mylène Farmer (after her favourite American actress Frances Farmer), she began to earn a living as a model in several TV ads.

In 1984, Farmer met Laurent Boutonnat, a young film student also enrolled in Cours Florent, when she replied to a newspaper ad for an actress for a small film he was working on. Boutonnat teamed up with the young songwriter, Jérôme Dahan, and the pair went on to write Farmer's debut single and first hit, 'Maman a tort'. Boutonnat cast Farmer as a kind of provocative Lolita figure, and the singer would deliberately cultivate this image in the early days of her career. The debut album, released in January 1986, proved to be an immense success, selling over 1 million copies. It was not until 1989 that the singer finally gave in to the growing demand to perform live. Farmer's spectacular stage shows that grow each time she performs live found a high point in the 13-night concert engagement at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in January 2006 for Avant que l'ombre. The set build was so complex and elaborate that she was not able to tour the country.

In 2000, Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat had assembled a number of songs and video ideas they felt appropriate for a younger, new star. They immediately began the hunt to break a new female singer into the French pop charts - hence they found Alizée who had gained fame as a contestant on the French television show 'Graines de star'. Farmer recorded a single with pop-rock star Seal in 2001 (for the compilation album 'Les mots') and with Moby 'Slipping away / Crier la vie', released in September 2006.

Farmer's fame is also based in songs featuring ambiguous or shocking lyrics, and somewhat explicit music videos. 'Maman a tort' was about the love of a young girl for her female hospital nurse. 'Pourvu qu'elles soient douces' was about a man with an obsession for the buttocks of his lover, with hints of sodomy; the video, set in the 18th century, featured a caning. 'Libertine' is said to feature the first full frontal nudity appearance by a singer on a major music video. 'Que mon cœur lâche' was about love with condoms in the age of AIDS; the video for the song features a scene in which God tells Jesus he won't send him to earth again because the last time 'it was a disaster'.

Meanwhile Farmer continued to surround herself with an air of mystery, refusing to give interviews or to appear in the media - but this only served to excite fans' curiosity about the reclusive star. By the end of the years 00 her initial shine begins to fade however with wavering albums qualitywise and a (temporary) split with her mentor Boutonnant. She tries to save it with a duet with Sting in 2015 but slowly loses the connection with her own muse.

On the web:

- German fansite: http://www.mylene-farmer.eu
- Belgian fansite: http://mylenefarmer.telenet.be

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

What do we think:

DB: The music of Mylène Farmer is as French as pop music can get. The lolita image, the whispering voice, the arrangements...it's more French then the Eiffel tower. Ok the Gothic shows and video's could have been made by Eastern European artists as well (who also have a hang to the gloomy side of life). But not with that voice. Because that is what makes Mylène unique. We know people who go completely wild when hearing her sing. Some because they compare her to an angel come down to earth, the others because they think it is utterly out of tune and resembles their neighbours cat during mating season. Our Parisian friend Francoise doesn't call her 'Migraine' Farmer for nothing. Personally it took me a while to appreciate her music (and voice) but in the end resistance was futile.

PR: At her (commercial) height, during the nineties, Mylène had acquired a Madonna-like star status in France. Although album sales have declined a bit since the new millenium, she is still huge in France. She only performs at the largest venues like the Bercy stadium in Paris. Her shows are spectacular and, even if you are not into her music, you can not but respect her for her shows, her hard work, het vision and her control over the whole happening. Also in that perspective, there is a parallel with Madonna. But, Mylène never takes the easy way; with her music, lyrics and video´s she really tells a story. Mostly of mystic fairytales, but do not be surprised when Marquis de Sade is passing by...


♪♪♪ - Cendres de Lune - 1986

♪♪♪ - Ainsi soit je - 1988

♪♪♪♪ - L'Autre - 1991

♪♪♪♪♪ - Anamorphosée - 1995

♪♪♪♪♪ - Innamoramento - 1999

♪♪♪♪ - Avant que l'ombre - 2005

♪♪♪ - Point de suture - 2008

♪ - Blue Noir - 2010

♪♪½ - Monkey me - 2012

♪♪- Interstellaires - 2015

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided