Zazie was one in a long line of French models and actresses turned pop stars, rocketing to overnight success with her 1993 debut single, "Sucré Sale." Born Isabelle de Truchis de Varennes in Boulogne-Billancourt on April 18, 1964, she grew up enamored of French chanson icons like Georges Brassens
, Jacques Brel
, and Barbara
, and at ten began studying violin, soon adding piano and guitar to her curriculum.
As a teen Zazie also began writing her own songs, and continued working on original material while studying psychotherapy. After graduation, the statuesque brunette launched a career as a professional model, becoming a familiar face in French fashion spreads and advertisements over the decade to follow. Finally in 1992 Zazie resumed her musical aspirations in full, traveling to England to record her debut album at Peter Gabriel
's renowned Real World Studios. Je, Tu, Ils, titled in tribute to American psychotherapist Howard Buten, followed a year later and launched the smash "Sucré Sale," which earned the singer Best Female Newcomer of the Year honors at the annual Victoires de la Musique awards. The follow-up, Zen, was even more warmly received, acclaimed for both Zazie's smart, wry lyrics and its seamless integration of contemporary pop idioms with traditional instruments spanning from the accordion to the djembé. In addition to writing and recording her third LP, Made in Love, in 1998, that same year Zazie composed material for Johnny Hallyday
, including the blockbuster hit "Allumer le Feu." A subsequent tour yielded her first concert LP, Made in Live. In the wake of 2001's La Zizanie, the singer shelved tour plans after discovering she was pregnant. Her daughter Lola was born in August 2002, and that same year Zazie received the Victoires de la Musique award for Best Female Artist of the Year. Her next LP, 2004's Rodéo, balanced its electronic sheen with her most personal and intimate lyrics to date. Totem followed in 2007. In 2010 Zazie began work on a concept piece, recording forty-nine songs split into seven, seven track EPs. A condensed version, Za7ie, featuring fourteen tracks was released the same year. Cyclo, Zazie’s eighth studio album followed in 2013.~ Jason Ankeny