Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 09/04/2008

Mixing music and politics.

“Comme Si De Rien N’Était” (“As If Nothing Had Happened”) is hardly the way things turn out when the first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, launches a record album.

This story first appeared in the September 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

That’s the title of Bruni-Sarkozy’s third release, which created a huge buzz prior to its July launch, making it the most-awaited CD of the summer — sometimes for the wrong reasons. Given her status as the new wife of France’s controversial president, Nicolas Sarkozy, the lyrics of the 14 tracks were dissected like a laboratory mouse. Bruni-Sarkozy’s song “T’es ma came” or “You’re My Dope,” in which she compares her love for her beau with cocaine addiction, almost created an international incident with the Colombian government.

While the ex-model jumped off the designers’ podiums in 1997 to start her music career, Bruni-Sarkozy has not cut off ties with the fashion world. Her best friend, Farida Khelfa, ex-model and Jean Paul Gaultier’s muse, was her witness at her wedding to Sarkozy and she is also very close to Johanna Fath, Jacques Fath’s granddaughter, who styled her previous album’s cover.

Whether she wears designer frocks for official appearances — she wore Dior for her first official state visit in London — or jeans and T-shirt for casual occasions, Bruni-Sarkozy embodies French elegance.

For the most part, the album — mostly written before her marriage — is playful, ranging from pop and folk to jazzy tunes with hints of Barbara, a French singer popular on the Saint-Germain des Prés scene in the Sixties.

Bruni-Sarkozy’s notoriety and the public’s curiosity helped her sell 165,000 copies of her CD in France and 315,000 worldwide in the month since its release. Meanwhile, the album’s lush instrumentation seduced most music critics and reviews have been largely positive — “Sober with beautiful music arrangements,” says JD Beauvallet from the Inrockuptibles magazine.

While Bruni-Sarkozy will not tour to promote her album, she did a few TV appearances, including Barbara Walters’ show in the U.S., and plans to do the Michel Drucker Sunday show “Vivement Dimanche” on Sept. 7.

Time will tell if the French first lady can sell two million copies of “As If Nothing Had Happened” like the former top model did with her first hit, “Quelqu’un m’a dit” (“Someone Told Me”), six years ago.

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