Lara Fabian (b Crokaert). Singer, songwriter, b Etterbeek, Belgium, 9 Jan 1970, naturalized Canadian 1995. The daughter of a Belgian father (who sang back-up vocals for Petula Clark) and a Sicilian mother, Lara Fabian enrolled at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music at age eight. For 10 years she studied singing, piano, and composition there. She entered local talent shows and appeared at clubs in Brussels. In 1988 Fabian entered the Eurovision Song Contest, winning fourth prize for "Croire" (written by Jacques Cardona and Alain Garcia). (First prize went to Céline Dion for "Ne partez pas sans moi.") Fabian's first single, "L'Azziza est en pleurs," released in Belgium for the French-speaking market, proved a modest success; "Croire" and "Je sais" proved ultimately more popular.
Fabian made her first trip to Quebec in 1991 and moved there permanently. In August 1991 she released her first (self-titled) album, recorded in Belgium. It was an immediate success in Quebec and established Fabian's reputation as a singer and songwriter. The disc went gold by 1993 and platinum the following year. Her second album (Carpe Diem, in French, regarded as her breakthrough) was released in 1994, selling more than 100,000 copies in less than a month. Her popularity was reflected in 1995 Félix Awards for best female vocalist and best live performance.
Lara Fabian's third album, 1996's Pure, (for Polydor France) went gold in less than two weeks. Three singles - "Tout," "Je t'aime," and "Humana" - each sold more than 1 million copies. Pure was recognized with a Félix Award for popular album of the year, and Fabian was nominated for two Juno Awards. In 1998 she performed at the Stade de France in Paris with French singer Johnny Hallyday and undertook a European tour. She also released Lara Fabian Live and received another Félix Award for artist with the most recognition outside Quebec.
In 1999 Fabian signed with Sony Music and recorded her first (self-titled) English-language album, for which she wrote most of the material. It was released in 2000 to great acclaim, aided by the singles "I Will Love Again" and "Love by Grace."
The year 2001 saw a return to Lara Fabian's roots with Nue, her fourth French-language album, in which she sought comfort in something more familiar. Although it did well in Europe, it was received less favourably in Quebec. This period marked a more personal and intimate sound. Her next album, En Toute Intimité, reflected this change. Singing in French, English, and Italian, Fabian herself provided a simple piano accompaniment.
In 2004 A Wonderful Life, Fabian's second English-language album, came nowhere close to the success of the first, despite praise from the critics. Fabian withdrew from the public eye for several months and returned to Belgium. In 2005 she re-emerged, releasing the successful 9; she wrote most of the material, with Jean-Félix Lalanne. Fabian's style on 9 was even more intimate, yet marked by calm assuredness. Critics who had dismissed her by claiming she was merely attempting to become a second Céline Dion now saw an entirely new side of Lara Fabian.
Fabian also achieved fame by providing the voice of Esmeralda in the French-language version of the Disney film Hunchback of Notre Dame (Le bossu de Notre-Dame) and the vocals for "Que dieu aide les exclus" on the French and English soundtracks; "The Dream Within" for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; "For Always" for Artificial Intelligence: AI; and Cole Porter's "So in Love" for De-Lovely.