During an interview with former French President François Mitterrand, directed by journalist Yves Mourousi, to the question: “What is your favorite song of the moment?”, the head of state replied: C’est la ouate!
(Extract from Point Anecdote)
C’est la ouate, which was a great success of 1987, saw its interpreter Caroline Loeb, a young French singer of thirty years old, reach the top of the charts in the whole world. In Italy, for several months, he even ranked first.
But who is really Caroline Loeb?
Caroline Loeb was born on October 5, 1955 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. Her mother, Cécile, was a writer and editor. Her father, Albert, was a gallery owner. Thanks to her mother, she grew up in the middle of books, records and listened to a lot of opera (it is in the libretto of Mozart and Verdi that she began to learn Italian). Her grandparents were painter, poet and art dealer. Her grandfather was one of the greatest merchants of paintings from the interwar period, a friend of André Breton, Picasso and Giacometti.
After a childhood spent in New York, she enrolled in a theater class in Paris. She made her theater debut with a play in which she had six roles, written by the authors of the TSE group with sets and costumes by Paloma Picasso, then present at the Palace with a comedy, “Santa Claus is back in town”. She continued to work hard and then obtained the first important roles in cinema (Flammes, in 1978). In 1983, she wrote and released her first album, Piranana which allowed her to stand out in the musical world.
Her friend from the Parisian crazy nights, Pierre Grillet, lyricist, presented her with a few sentences which became C’est la ouate, an ironic hymn to laziness.
Philippe Chany composed the music and, after finding the means to produce it, thanks to her friend Stephan Janson, fashion designer in Milan, the song was recorded in the center of Paris, at the studio des Halles.
In the beginning, no record company was interested in the song, nobody believed it. Yves Rose, the producer of Stéphanie de Monaco found it interesting, but Caroline refused her song was sung by her. In the end, with the help of Philippe Constantin, the boss of the record company Barclay, the song was released in 45 rpm and Maxi 45 rpm in October 1986. After her first appearance on TV6, the song becomes quickly famous among young French people and it reached the top of the charts in France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Argentina and China, with more than 500,000 copies sold. Subsequently, an English version, And so what? was also recorded and signed by Seymour Stein, the producer of Madonna at the time, but the song toured the world in French.
In 1993, Caroline worked as a TV host and at the same time, directed musical performances on the repertoire of Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Jacques Prévert and others. In 1999, she won a Molière, with a work she produced based on the diaries of Shirley Goldfarb, an American artist based in Paris, interpreted by actress Judith Magre.
In 2001, she participated in Italy in the program “La notte Vola” on Canale 5. In 2006, she published her first novel, Has Been, and in 2007, she presented “Vigiana monologues” at the theatre.
It was in 2008 that she released the musical show “Mistinguett, Madonna et moi” at the Festival d’Avignon, an ironic repertoire of stories from Mistinguett to Madonna, including Gainsbourg, Joséphine Baker as well as new songs. A piece that conquered different cities, including of course Paris.
Immediately after, in 2009, Caroline Loeb released her new album, Crime parfait, a set of poetics and moving songs. An album which came after a period when she understood that the success of C’est la ouate had brought her neither certainty nor professional solidity. So she decided to perform herself.
Since 2012, she is one of the artists of “Stars 80“, a musical show, which conquered the biggest cities of France, where the different singers presented the successes of their famous years. She stages a cabaret show “Le Goujon Folichon”, with Julien Fanthou and Gérald Elliott, and at the same time wrote, produced and played her new musical show around George Sand, a great French woman writer, “George Sand, my life, her work”, directed by Alex Lutz. In 2016, she wrote and produced a new show “Françoise par Sagan” based on interviews with Françoise Sagan, again directed by Alex Lutz, followed by a double CD, Caroline Loeb reads Françoise Sagan.
With “Françoise par Sagan“, she was nominated at the Molière for the best monologue in 2018. With more than 350 performances, Caroline conquers not only France, but also London, Lausanne, Singapore, Hong-Kong, the YSL museum in Marrakech, Nantes, Lyon, Brussels, and in February, it will be in Israel (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Raanana, Ashdod and Netanya)
She took part in the Fashion Freak Show, Jean-Paul Gauthier’s cabaret at the Folies Bergère as guest, after Rossy di Palma, Dita Von Teese and Catherine Ringer.
Right now, she is playing her new cabaret show “Chiche!” where, in a moving and punk form, she tells her life path between songs and ironic anecdotes. A hymn to life and an invitation to always look forward to pursue your passions. A show she wanted and created with the help of three great musicians.
Intrigued by the extreme eclecticism of this incredible artist, I met her for a short interview:
With such an intense career, have you achieved what you set for yourself in life?
“Of course, and even more than my expectations. At twenty, I wanted to be a theater actress, I dreamed of watching Hollywood stars. I never imagined making an incredible record, surviving success and having a rich and long life of thirty years as an artist. Discovering being a director, finding the stage and the song was exciting. “
They say that the fifties represent the new youth. What do you think?
“In fact, I decided to go on stage with my shows at fifty. I told myself that I didn’t want to regret one day not having done it, I didn’t want to say to myself – I should have … I could have … – It was at this precise moment that I found the deep reasons for which I made this work and my first passions, all strong and free female figures such as Mistinguett, Joséphine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Madonna, George Sand, Françoise Sagan … Women who invented a unique way of being in the world, out of the ordinary and that inspire me every day. “
In your life, what have you retained and what does the present bring you?
“Art has always been at the heart of my life. I can also say that art saved my life. Even today, I find answers to the questions I ask myself by reading a book and admiring the creations of others. Today, I feel in the right place, I take care of new projects and I enjoy the supreme luxury that these represent. Although it can sometimes be difficult and demanding, at least every day, I know why I get up and I am happy that my audience is in turn touched by what I do. I bear less and less what is wrong and I have become very demanding with others and with myself.
I hope to continue as long as possible! Stimulating and making people laugh is the best gift. And then creating and working keeps me active. “
As she said at the start of her last show, “I’m not known as a singer, I’m known for a song! It is not the same!“. In recent years, she has been able to show that she is a complete artist: director, stylist, TV and radio host, writer, actress and singer.
She is curious and determined in her choices, and she always has a lot of ideas and a great desire to do. She likes action and speed; she appreciates beauty in everything she does. Although it is difficult for the press to identify her as a director, it is always a strong emotion for her to direct a show.
Today, we can meet her on-stage all-over France with “Chiche! “. She is playing soon in the “Archipelago” theater in Paris for 10 exceptional performances from February 6 to March 25, 2020.
Dear Caroline, continue to surprise us and surprise us with your performances, because …
de toutes les manières, c’est la Loeb qu’on préfère!