Jeanne Mas


28 February 1958

Jeanne was born in Alicante, Spain. In the beginning Jeanne was more interested in language then in music. She started studying languages at the University of Nanterre (near Paris). After a Bachelors degree in Spanish and Italian, she took off for Italy and settled in Rome at the age of 17. Here she took dance and acting classes. In 1979 she signed her first contract with the Italian RCA and recorded her first single 'On the moon', without much success. In 1984, she teams up with Piero Calabrese, Roberto Zaneli and Romano Musumara and records the song 'Toute premiere fois' ('Every first time'). It would sell more than 1,500,000 copies in France alone.

For her performances Jeanne Mas created an image for herself entirely dressed in black, with jet-black hair: a bland version of the gothic look. At the beginning of the following year, she successively released a second single 'Johnny, Johnny' followed by an album simply called 'Jeanne Mas'. For this first go in the big leagues, she asked Daniel Balavoine for help. He produced two of the songs for the occasion.

For the follow up album she went to Denmark. At this time she already started writing her own lyrics and was very particular about it. She refused to record a song called 'Ouragan' written by Musumara. The writer sold the song to princess Stéphanie of Monaco who would have a huge European hit with it. Mas would have her own European hit (on her own conditions) in 1986 with the song 'En Rouge et noir' ('In black and white') from the album 'Femmes d'aujourd'hui' ('Women of today'). In June, the album and the single were number one on the French charts.

She started a lengthy tour through France which was recorded in Lyon for a live record and a ninety-minute film. She then decided to take a break and take advantage of this time to return to Italy to have a baby, a little girl named Victoria. Back in Italy she started to work again with Piero Calabrese. She went into a studio for three months and chose the best musicians for the recording: Manu Katche on drums, Steve Shehan on (drums) percussions, Tony Levin on bass and David Rhodes on guitar. In February 1989 a new album titled 'Les crises de l'âme' ('Crises of the soul') was released. The lyrics seemed more committed with songs like 'J'accuse' ('I accuse'), 'Tango' or still 'Y'a des bons...' ('There are some good ones...') which denounced violence in the world. In September, she played at Bercy for four nights.

Trying to get a hold of her former success she quickly started on a new album called 'L'art des femmes' ('Women's art'). She recorded Balavoine’s song 'Tous les cris les SOS' ('Everyone cries SOS') in memory of his untimely death. The record company chose 'Shakespeare' as their promotional single. It was not to be and EMI and Mas parted.

In 1992, Jeanne Mas gave birth to a little boy named Christopher. 'Au nom des rois' was the new album which came out for the independent company AB Productions. In 1993 she withdrew from public life for a while and settled in the south of France. She came back in 1996 with a new album on Arcade records. Jeanne recorded 'Jeanne Mas & les Égoïstes' in Toulouse which contained 14 songs that she wrote herself. Unfortunately the record was practically unnoticed.

After this comeback, Jeanne Mas, still interested in cinema, took some screenwriting courses in Paris. She even did a short film. It was the record company XIII Bis that enabled her to release a new record in 2000, 'Désir d'insolence'. Apart from regular pop songs, it featured some poems by Paul Verlaine, Alfred de Vigny and Guillaume Appolinaire's put to music.

The 2003 follow up 'Les Amants de Castille' is a concept album and a hommage to the famous play 'Le Cid' by Corneille. In 2004-2005 she tours to celebrate her 20 years of career and performed at the Espace Pierre Cardin and the Casino de Paris. Jeanne Mas left France in June 2005 and settled in California where she created her own label Red Rocks Productions. Together with Dj Esteban she recorded a new album in Paris and Los Angeles, 'The missing Flowers', in 2006. Following the 2008 album 'Be West', Jeanne performed a series of concerts at the Traianon theatre in Paris.

In 2011 Jeanne returns to the Parisian scene again with the pop album 'Bleu citron'. Mas turned brunette again brings us a pop album that brings back the feeling of her nineties albums ('Désir d'insolence', 'Au nom des rois'). A year later she already records the follow up 'Made in France'.

On the web:

- Jeanne's official website: http://www.jeannemas.com
- Biography in English: http://www.rfimusique.com/siteEn/biographie/biographie_6297.asp

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

Donatella Rettore (Italy)

Özlem Tekin (Turky)

What do we think:

DB: Narbonne 1988. My brother had a French girlfriend who played 'En rouge et noir' continuesly on the local jukebox. The song is hammered into my memory but still it's never turned in an overplayed song. The same can be said for more of Mas' songs. Like good candy, true pop on the outside, bitter on the inside, but never boring. At least her eighties material is. Her more recent albums are just as irradicate as her hair colour. Black, red, black, blond. Punk, pop, poems, punk, techno, country. Let's just say she likes to try things....who am I kidding. Jeanne, make up your mind!

PR: One fine day in the mid-eighties, my French teacher introduced my class to an hour of French popmusic. He played us al kinds of singers and groups. Two of them immediately grasped my attention; and one of them was France Gall and the other... Jeanne Mas. He copied Jeanne's complete second album on a tape casette (those were the days...) for me and I played it over and over again until I could sing along all of the songs. During the years I collected all of her albums and although her albums were not as commercially succesful as in the eighties, I cannot but respect the artistic choices Jeanne has made - and still makes. You never know what to expect of her next album. And it might not always be completely succesful, at leasr she tries and is not afraid of reinventing herself over and over again. A bit like Madonna, but without the record sales...


♪♪♪ - Jeanne Mas - 1985

♪♪♪♪♪ - Femmes d'aujourd'hui - 1986

♪♪♪ - Les crises de l'âme - 1989

♪♪♪♪ - L'art des femmes - 1990

♪♪♪♪♪ - Au nom des rois - 1992

♪♪ - Jeanne Mas & les Égoïstes - 1996

♪♪ - Désir d'insolence - 2000

♪ - Je vous aime ainsi (2001)

♪♪♪♪ - Les amants de Castille - 2003

♪♪ - The Missing Flowers - 2006

♪♪♪♪ - Be West - 2008

♪♪♪ - Bleu citron - 2011

♪♪♪- Made in France - 2012

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