French soul diva Amel Bent was one of a generation of luminaries who rocketed to overnight fame via the television amateur showcase Nouvelle Star.
Born Amel Bentbachir in Paris on June 21, 1985, she grew up in the Joué-lès-Tours commune, and as a teen she studied vocals at the Maison de Peuple Guy-Moquet, the local outpost of France's Les Maisons des jeunes et de la culture (MJC) program. While studying psychology, Bent entered the second season of Nouvelle Star in the spring of 2004. Though eliminated prior to the championship episode, she nevertheless emerged as a major fan favorite and landed a recording deal, issuing her debut LP, Un Jour d'Eté, at mid-year. The album proved a blockbuster, galvanized by the number one single "Ma Philosophie" and its Top Ten follow-ups "La Droit a l'Erreur" and "Ne Retiens Pas Tes Larmes." 2007 saw the release of Bent's second album, À 20 Ans. Although not fairing as well as her debut -- mainly due to the lack of chart-topping singles -- the album went on to reach the French Top Ten and earn itself gold status. Her third album, Où Je Vais, followed in 2009, and once again went on to reach the French Top Ten, while spawning the singles "Le Mal de Toi" and the title track, "Où Je Vais." Two years later, Bent released her fourth album, 2011's Délit Mineur. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi