Patricia Kaas (born December 5, 1966
in Forbach, Moselle) is a French singer and actress.
Kaas is one of the most successful French-speaking singers in the world.
Stylistically her music is not classical chanson, but is closer to a
mixture of pop music, jazz and chanson.
Since the appearance of her debut album Mademoiselle chante... in 1988
Kaas has sold over 16 million records worldwide. She had her greatest
success in, e. g., Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Russia, Finland,
and Korea with her third album Je te dis vous. Kaas is almost constantly
on tour internationally. In 2002 Kaas had her film debut in And now...
Ladies and Gentlemen beside Jeremy Irons. Kaas is currently on "Kabaret"
world tour since the end of 2008. Kaas represented France in the
Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia and finished in 8th place.
Patricia Kaas was born as the youngest of her family on 5 December 1966 in
Forbach, Lorraine, France, near the border of Germany. Her father, Joseph
(a miner), was French, and her mother, Irmgard, German. Kaas grew up in
Stiring-Wendel, between Forbach and Saarbrücken on the French side of the
border. Until the age of six she spoke only the local German dialect. Her
Franco-German heritage resulted in a constant interest in improving the
relationship between the two countries.
Her mother encouraged Kaas to become a singer at a very young age. At the
age of eight Kaas was already singing songs by Sylvie Vartan, Dalida,
Claude François and Mireille Mathieu, but also English-language songs such
as New York, New York, at various small events; among others the marriage
of her brother. Her first great success came when she received first place
at a pop song contest. At her first appearances Kaas was already
displaying the throaty, smoky voice that would lead to comparisons with
Édith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich.
Kaas took her first step into the professional music business at the age
of 13, when, with the help of her brother Egon, she signed a contract with
the Saarbrücken Club Rumpelkammer. Kaas took the name Pady Pax, after the
brass band Pax Majorettes from Stiring-Wendel, of which she and her sister
Carine were members, and for seven years appeared with the band Dob's Lady
Killers. At 16 she took a placement with a model agency in Metz. Kaas'
first attempts to break into the music business once and for all initially
failed, however; a producer rejected her on the grounds that the world did
not need a second Mireille Mathieu. Kaas' producer at this time was the
architect Bernard Schwartz, who would lead her to her first great success.
In 1985 Kaas was finally produced by the French actor Gérard Depardieu at
the age of 19. Schwartz saw her singing at the Rumpelkammer in Saarbrücken
and introduced her to the songwriter François Bernheim. Bernheim worked
with her and convinced Depardieu to produce her.
Depardieu produced Kaas' first single Jalouse (Eng: Jealous), written by
Bernheim and Depardieu's wife Elisabeth. The single was published by EMI,
but was a flop. Nonetheless her encounter with Depardieu was one of the
most important events in the beginning of Kaas' artistic career.
Through Jalouse and Bernheim the French songwriter Didier Barbelivien
became aware of Kaas. His song Mademoiselle chante le blues (Eng: Lady
sings the blues) was the singer's first big hit. The single was published
in 1987 by Polydor, and reached 7th place in the French singles chart. The
next year Kaas' second single D'Allemagne (Eng: Of Germany) was recorded,
written by Barbelivien and Bernheim.
Shortly afterwards Kaas' first album Mademoiselle chante... was produced.
It reached 2nd place in the French album charts and stayed there for two
months, remaining in the Top 10 for 64 weeks and 118 weeks in the top 100.
Shortly after its appearance the album went gold in France (over 100,000
sold) and after three months it went platinum (over 350,000 sold). The
album also went platinum in Belgium and Switzerland, and gold in Canada.
In the same year Kaas won Victoires de la Musique in the category of
"Discovery of the Year", one of the most important French music awards.
In 1989 Kaas suffered a traumatic personal experience when her mother fell
ill from cancer and died. The teddy bear Kaas sent to support her mother's
convalescence today accompanies Kaas everywhere as a mascot.
In 1990 Kaas began her first world tour, which lasted 16 months in total.
She sang in front of about 750,000 fans in over 196 concerts in 12
countries. Among others Kaas sang daily for a week in Olympia and Zenith,
one of the most famous concert halls in Paris. The concerts were sold out
four months before they began. Kaas also gave other successful concerts in
New York and Washington D.C. in the U.S.. At the end of the tour
Mademoiselle chante... had sold 1 million copies in France alone and had
achieved diamond status. Kaas received the Goldene Europa, one of the
biggest German music awards.
In 1990 Kaas moved from her former record company Polydor to CBS/Sony.
Cyril Prieur and Richard Walter of the firm Talent Sorcier from Paris
replaced Bernard Schwartz to become her managers in 1987. Prieur and
Walter contributed significantly to the singer's success, in return for
which Kaas referred to them as her "family".
With a new record company she produced Scène de vie (Eng: The Stage of
Life) in 1990. It reached the top of the French charts and stayed there
for 10 weeks, going diamond in the process as Mademoiselle chante... had
done before it. With the song Kennedy Rose Kaas again worked with
Elisabeth Depardieu and François Bernheim; this collaboration was more
successful than Jalouse, reaching 34th place in the French singles charts.
The song was dedicated to Rose Kennedy, matriarch of the Kennedy clan and
mother of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.
While on the Scène de vie tour the singer performed 210 concerts before
650,000 spectators in 13 countries, among them Japan, Canada and the USSR,
where she sang in Moscow and Leningrad. At the end of 1991 her first live
album Carnets de scène (Eng: Stage Notebooks) appeared, which achieved
popularity beyond her dedicated fans. 13 years later Sony also published
the album as a live DVD.
In 1991 Kaas received two further internationally renowned music awards,
the World Music Award and a Bambi. In the following year she received 3rd
place in the category of 'Best International Female Singer' at the ECHO
awards in Cologne, nominated alongside Cher (who received first place),
Tina Turner, Madonna and Whitney Houston, four of the biggest names in the
Kaas' 1993 album Je te dis vous (Eng.: I address thee as you) was her
definitive breakthrough in the international music scene, selling 3
million copies in 47 countries. It was produced in Pete Townshend's Eel
Pie Studio in London, England by Robin Millar, who had already worked for
Sade and the Fine Young Cannibals. In the U.S. and United Kingdom it
appeared under the name of Tour de charme (not to be confused with the
live album of the same name). On the album Kaas sang her first song in
German: the song Ganz und gar (Eng: Absolutely) came from the pen of the
German singer and songwriter Marius Müller-Westernhagen. The album also
featured three tracks in English, including a cover of the James Brown
number It's A Man's World. The British rock musician Chris Rea accompanied
Kaas on the tracks Out Of The Rain and Ceux qui n'ont rien (Eng: Those who
have nothing) on guitar.
Je te dis vous is currently Kaas' most successful album in the
German-speaking world, only just missing out on the German top 10 (it
spent 2 weeks at 11th place), but spending 36 weeks in the top 100. In
Switzerland Kaas reached 2nd place in the album charts, and in France 1st.
It was her third album to go diamond, 11 months after its appearance. With
the single Il me dit que je suis belle (Eng: He tells me I'm beautiful) by
Sam Brewski (aka Jean-Jacques Goldman) Kaas achieved her second top five
single in France. A remix of Reste sur moi (Eng: Stay on me) reached the
top 20 of the US dance charts.
The following world tour covered 19 countries. Among others she was the
first western singer to appear in Hanoi, Vietnam after the Vietnam War,
and she also toured in Korea, Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. During the
tour she also gave a benefit concert in Chernobyl in front of 30,000
spectators. In total her audience counted 750,000 in 150 concerts. In 1994
her second live album Tour de charme (Eng: A tour with charm) was
published, which, like Carnets de scène, was remade as a live DVD in 2004.
In the middle of the 1990s the album Black Coffee was produced, an enigma
in Kaas' career. In 1995 it was decided to produce a work specially for
the American market containing exclusively English lyrics. Rumours state
that the album was never officially sold. It occasionally becomes
available in online auctions, however, but the authenticity of these
records is in doubt.
The title track of the album is a cover version of the Billie Holiday song
of the same name and was likewise published by Kaas on the 1997 sampler
Jazz à Saint-Germain (release by Virgin). Other cover versions on the
album include classics such as the Bill Withers number Ain't No Sunshine
(which was taken for advertissement music for the Club Mediterranée) from
1971 and If You Leave Me Now by Chicago from 1976.
In 1997 Dans ma chair (Eng: In my flesh) was made. It was produced in New
York by Kaas and Phil Ramone, who had previously worked with Ray Charles,
Billy Joel and Paul Simon. The album marked the second time the singer
officially worked with the French songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman (They
start to work together in 1993 for the song "Il me dit que je suis
belle".) The collaboration with Goldman, which continues to this day, was
one of the most important of Kaas' career.
Further contributors to the success of the album were the American
songwriter and singer Lyle Lovett, with the song Chanson simple (Eng:
Simple song), and James Taylor with Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, on
which he duetted with Kaas. The track Quand j'ai peur de tout (Eng: When
I'm afraid of everything), written by Diane Warren, was later remade in
2003 by the band Sugababes under the name Too Lost In You.
In 1998, following the Dans ma chair tour, the live album and video
cassette (later a DVD) Rendez-vous was produced. Among the tracks are
L'aigle noir (Eng: The black eagle) by the French singer and songwriter
Barbara, whom Kaas had admired for a long time and that Depardieu present
her before she was famous.
In December 1998 Kaas sang with the tenors Plácido Domingo and Alejandro
Fernández in the Guildhall of Vienna, Austria. The three were accompanied
by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert was made into a CD and
DVD in 1999 as Christmas In Vienna Vol. VI.
In 1999 Le mot de passe (Eng: The password) was produced by Pascal Obispo,
on which Kaas was accompanied by an orchestra on several tracks.
Jean-Jacques Goldman again contributed to the making of the studio album,
among others with 2 songs Une fille de 'l'Est (Eng: A girl from the East)
in which Kaas praised her East French heritage and Les chansons
commencent. The French singer Zazie wrote the track J'attends de nous. The
song Les éternelles (Eng: The eternals) was also published in Germany as a
duet with the Swiss tenor Erkan Aki under the title of Unter der Haut
(Eng: Under the skin), and was the theme music of the five-part ZDF serial
Sturmzeit (Eng: Stormy Times), based on a book by Charlotte Link.
In June 1999 Kaas appeared at the benefit concert Michael Jackson &
Friends in Seoul, South Korea and Munich. Apart from Kaas and Jackson,
Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross and Status Quo also put in appearances. The
special events, in aid of UNESCO, the Red Cross and the Nelson Mandela
Children's Fund, were broadcast to 39 countries.
In September 1999 Kaas came third in Marianne, a poll for the national
symbol of France, behind supermodels Laetitia Casta (first) and Estelle
Hallyday (second). Most pictures of Kaas from her last albums (from Dans
ma chair to Sexe fort in 2003) show the singer in very figure-accentuating
clothes and suitably daring poses, and her music videos are seldom
On the Le mot de passe tour Kaas was accompanied at some concerts in
Germany and Switzerland by the Hannover Pops Orchestra of Norddeutscher
Rundfunk under the conductor's baton of George Pehlivanian. With this
ensemble she was the star guest at, among others, the Schleswig-Holstein
Musik Festival of 1999. The concert of 24 July 1999 at the Guildhall
Market of Hamburg was broadcast live on the German-French television
station Arte. The orchestra can be heard on the 2000 live album Ce sera
nous, but is nowhere to be seen on the live DVD.
In 2000 an elaborately produced box set was published, which contained
almost all the previous studio albums published by Sony and a
comprehensive booklet with numerous pictures. In October 2000 Kaas
received the Adenauer-de-Gaulle Award in Berlin.
In April 2001 Kaas gave a concert before 50,000 spectators on the occasion
of Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg's accession from his father Jean. Kaas
was again accompanied by a large orchestra, on this occasion the
In the same year Kaas began her acting career with And now... Ladies and
Gentlemen with Jeremy Irons, directed by Claude Lelouch, her record
company published the best of album Rien ne s'arrête (Eng: Nothing stops),
as it was a best-of, only the title track was new.
In 2000, Kaas decided to live in Zürich, Switzerland from then on. This
also had consequences for her management, which likewise moved from Paris
to Zürich and renamed itself International Talent Consulting. Cyril Prieur
and Richard Walter remained by Kaas' side.
To accompany the film the concept album Piano Bar By Patricia Kaas was
released in 2002. While not a soundtrack to the film, some songs performed
from the film were included on the album in slightly different versions,
making up a sort of concept album that was inspired by the movie. The real
soundtrack has never been released. Piano Bar... was Kaas' first published
album that was sung mainly in English, and is a homage to the great French
chanson artists of history. It includes cover versions of Where Do I Begin
(originally on the soundtrack to Love Story) and an English version of
Jacques Brel's Ne me quitte pas (Eng: Don't leave me), here named If You
Go Away. The album in France reached 10th place in the charts, but it was
the second most successful of Kaas' albums in Germany, reaching 12 place.
In 2002 Kaas again received the Golden Europa.
The Piano Bar Live tour began in September 2002 in France and lasted until
April 2003. It included six sellout concerts in the US, including
appearances in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit, as well as
at the Beacon Theater in Broadway, New York before 6,000 fans. Despite the
intensive efforts of Kaas' fans the tour has not been published as a live
On 1 December 2003 released the album Sexe fort (Eng: Strong gender),
reaching the 9th place in France. Again Jean-Jacques Goldman contributed
with C'est la faute à la vie (Eng: That's the problem with life) and On
pourrait (Eng: You can), which he also produced himself, just as Pascal
Obispo, the producer of Le mot de passe, did with L'Abbé Caillou (Eng: The
Abbot Caillou). Kaas sang On pourrait as a duet with the Swiss singer
Following the release of Sexe fort Kaas received a particular distinction
on 8 December 2003 when she received the First Class Order of Merit of the
Federal Republic of Germany for her contribution to friendship between
France and Germany, an honour that until then had been awarded to only a
few international artists.
Until the end of 2005 Kaas was on what was now her seventh world tour. In
total she performed in 25 countries, including further performances in
China and Russia. In all she gave 175 concerts before more than 500,000
spectators. Despite the relative failure of Sexe fort the tour was a huge
By the beginning of 2005 the live album accompanying the tour Toute la
musique... and the live DVD of the same name had been released, in
combination with a 'best of' album. The title track Toute la musique que
j'aime (Eng: All the music I love)
was written by the French singer and songwriter Johnny Hallyday. The album
contains a bonus track Herz eines Kämpfers (Eng: Heart of a Fighter),
which Kaas had worked on together with Peter Plate of the German pop band
Rosenstolz. With the TV broadcast of the German auditions for the
Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in March of that year, Kaas performed the
song for the first time live before an audience of millions.
After the end of the Sexe fort tour in November 2005, Kaas took a break
until the beginning of 2008, interrupted by only a few live performances.
In February 2008, Kaas released the song Ne pozvonish' (You Will Not Call)
with the Russian group Uma2rman, which was a big hit in Russia.
The new double album, "Kabaret", was released on March 30, 2009. To
support her new album, Kaas is currently giving touring France, Germany,
Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Poland,
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania and other countries during her
"Kabaret" tour. Kaas is claimed to be the first international artist to
visit 28 Russian cities. The entire tour includes at least 170 dates.
On January 28, 2009 it was confirmed that Patricia would represent France
in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia. Kaas' fans took
part in an online poll in several countries where they selected their
favourite song from her Kabaret album. The song Et s'il fallait le faire
(And if it had to be done) received a clear majority of the votes and was
then chosen as the lead single and also as the French entry in the
Eurovision Song Contest 2009 where on May 16, 2009 she finished in 8th
place. The song has received positive reviews in several newspapers and
polls and a clear majority of 62% of all voters in a questionnaire
believed in her chances to win the competition.