Mireille Mathieu


22 July 1946

Mireille Mathieu was born in Avignon in the south of France as the eldest of fourteen children: Monique, Christiane, Marie-France, Réjane, Régis and Guy (twins), Roger, Jean-Pierre, Rémy, Simone, Philippe, Béatrice, and least but not least, Vincent. Her father Roger was a stonecutter for the cemetery; he also had the dream of becoming a singer, possessing an admirable tenor's voice. The family lived in a wooden shack that leaked when it rained and the wind blew through the door and the windows.

Mireille quit school at the early age of 13 and started to work in a paper mill, together with her sister Matite, to the budget of the poor family income. The family lived in poor condiions, but music brought some conselation. Dad Roger was thrilled by Maria Callas and records of Edith Piaf were played continuously. Mireille sang regularly at family gatherings and at church and desided she wanted to become a singer, just like her idol, Edith Piaf.

During her sewing classes at school, her friends would ask her to sing 'La vie en rose'. Mireille started entering singing competitions and after many attempts in 1964, she was finaly discovered by Johnny Stark, who would become her manager. Johnny Stark recognisez in Mireille the unbelievable talent, but while he acknowledges it, he warns her: "Don't forget that you're a beginner. Put it in your head that I'm going to make you work like a horse, that I won't let you get away with anything, and that I will be ruthless. Think about it, you still can say no. If you want to listen to me, to work really hard, and go at a levelheaded pace on the road to success, I will make you really good, really great, a veritable star".

Stark placed Mireille in the hands of the orchestra leader Paul Mauriat who teaches her not to "howl", as Stark would say. And then there are rehearsals, photo shoots, interviews, music lessons, singing lessons, dancing lessons, French and English lessons, and gymnastics.

On 21 November 1965, in the legendary Olympia Theatre in Paris it was time: with 'Mon credo' her career was founded. Stark still would say that Mireille's extraordinary success, and the incredible speed at which she would become so famous so quickly was hardly miraculous. She likes work for work's sake.

At the peak of a heavy schedule, intensive and numerous recordings, such as when she began doing promotions in the United States, Mireille only slept four hours a night, and would make up for it later. Her motto, the religious person that she is, became: "My God and My work". Finally, on Saturday the 15th of March, she taped the Ed Sullivan Show, the most popular television program in the United States, with an audience of 50 million. It would be the start of her break through in the United States. Then it's Las Vegas, Hollywood, tons of interviews, phone calls, invitations... In New York, where she is the guest star of the Merv Griffin Show, Mireille is a big hit. She always sings about love. "Music is the best way for me to say I love you", she admits.

Mireille encounters worldwide succes and peaked at almost all international charts with the song 'Together we're strong', a duet with Dallas-actor Patrick Duffy. She also recorded succesful albums with Paul Anka.

"My songs always speak of love, that's the way I like them". Mireille Mathieu has sung before every type of audience, in nearly every country, she is loved by the simple folk just as much as by the big names in this world. She has been received by heads of state and has traveled the four corners of the world. "Where she feels the most at home", Johnny Stark used to say, "is on stage", adding, "There she is all by herself, and it's there where she finds peace".

"In the life of a singer", she declares, "it's not all triumphs and happy memories; there are days when you have to go out there when it's the last thing you feel like doing. You also have to smile when your heart is elsewhere due to some unhappy event, and you just have to keep it to yourself. Then there's the fatigue that you have to forget about because the red curtain still has to rise. It doesn't matter if you have a desperate heart when you have to sing about joy; it doesn't matter if you're scared to death when the lights go on".

The second half of the eigthies, she continued her succes but also encountered sadness, losing her father in 1985 and her manager Johnny Stark in 1989.

In 1998 she was awarded for her work as 'global ambassador of French culture' with the Cross of the Legion of Honor award by President Jacques Chirac.

In 2002 Mireille performed at the Olympia Theatre making a very successful come back with her album 'De tes mains'. In 2005 she releases the great follow up album 'Mireille Mathieu' with the same production team. In 2007 and 2009 she turns to the German market with the albums 'In meinem Herzen' and 'Nah bei dir'. Both releases were accompanied by a tour throughout Germany and Austria.

Mireille's career spans now over four decades and this was celebrated with the release of a live dvd recording from her Olympia performances. Having sang in almost every country in the world, Mireille does not give the impression that she wants to quit yet. With the help of her sister Monique, who never leaves her side, and her assistant Yvonne, we expect to see and hear more of her in the years to come.

On the web:

Mireille's website: http://www.mireillemathieu.com

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

Tereza Kesovija (Croatia)

Katja Ebstein (Germany)

What do we think:

PR: Mireille Mathieu is both an icon and unique French singer. Many people mock her because of her looks (yes, the hairdo certainly is a trade mark that can compete with Nana's glasses) and artistic kneefall by recording German schlager, and other international standards. On the other hand, she is one of the worlds most succesful recording artists ever, with a career spanning four decades. Okay, I admit that her albums do not always contain the best song material and may have been somewhat cheaply produced. Yet, Mireille always appears to me as a sincere artist that is only on this earth, well, to sing. She has drama, she has the voice and she dedicated her life to singing... If that doesn't make her a true diva...

DB: Urgh, Mireille Mathieu, now this is really PAUL ROYAL's thing. Whenever he plays her cd's I start rolling my eyes. She has two volumes on her voice. Loud and VERY LOUD. But seriously, I do own her Ennio Morricone album which is actually quite good even if you don't like her. For small consolation I put the album under 'M' of Morricone instead of Mathieu. And for guilty pleasure I have a single version of 'une femme amoureuse' which is better (I think) then the original of Barbra. I'm still looking on vinyl for the typographic great cover of her 1991 cd-release. Just to frame it and hang it on the well. Oh, that iconic hairdo! (invented and designed by Jean Paul Gaultier if I remember correctly)

Recommended albums:

For a complete discography of Mireille's cd's, 33t and 45t vynil records go to: http://mireillemathieu.com/disco.htm

♪♪♪♪♪ - Olympia - 1969

♪♪♪ - Mireille Mireille - 1970

♪♪♪♪- Merci, Mireille - 1971 (first album were she does some German songs)

♪♪♪♪- Chante Francis Lai - 1972

♪♪ - Und wieder wird es Weihnachtszeit - 1976

♪♪♪ - Chante Ennio Morricone - 1975

♪♪♪ - La demoiselle s'Orleans / Made in France - 1985

Les grandes chansons Françaises - 1985

Après toi - 1986

♪♪♪♪ - Rencontres de femmes - 1987

♪♪♪♪ - Live in Moscow - 1987

♪♪♪ - L'Américain - 1989

♪♪ - Hymne à l'amour - 1990

♪♪♪ - Ce soir je t'ai perdu - 1990

♪♪♪♪ - Mireille Mathieu - 1991

♪♪ - Chante Piaf - 1993

♪♪ - Unter dem Himmel von Paris - 1993

♪♪♪ - Vous lui direz... - 1995

♪♪♪ - In meinem Traum - 1996

♪♪♪ Alles nur ein Spiel - 1999

♪♪♪♪♪ - De tes mains - 2002

- Mireille Mathieu chante Noël (compilation) - 2004

♪♪♪♪♪ - Mirereille Mathieu - 2005

♪♪ - Films & Shows (2cd collection) - 2006

♪♪♪ - In meinem Herzen - 2007

- Nah bei dir - 2009

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


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