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The First Lady Sings

May 31, 2008
For some it will be a date to note in their diaries and one on which they will undoubtedly rush out in anticipation to the record stores. For others it will quite possibly be time to clap their hands over their ears in an attempt to protect their hearing.

Either way for fans and detractors alike July 21 has been confirmed as the release date for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's new album. It will be her first since she took up residence alongside her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the president's official residence, the Elysée Palace.

Bruni-Sarkozy launched herself musically speaking on an unsuspecting public back in 2002 with the release of her first album "Quelqu'un m'a dit." Its cool, relaxed, some would say almost comatose melodies received both critical and commercial acclaim, blending as it did some simple tunes with husky tones that bordered on the spoken word. And it sold a whopping 1.2 million copies in France alone with a further 800.000 copies being snapped up abroad.

Her follow-up in 2007, "No promises" in which she set music to English-language poems was something of a flop by comparison, notching up sales of around 80,000 here in France.

Perhaps she has learned her lesson by only including one track on her new album where she sets a poem to music - this time by the French writer, Michel Houellebecq.

According to her agent - as if Bruni-Sarkozy actually needed one - the as yet untitled new album will include 14 songs, many of them penned by the singer herself. There'll also be a remake of a Bob Dylan number as well as a song in her native Italian, proving that she remains ever the polyglot with an eye on the international market.

The new album will be released simultaneously in France, Italy, Germany and Britain

It will be the third offering from the clearly multi-talented former model,turned singer,turned president's wife, and ardent music lovers will not be the only ones curious to find out whether her new life as France's First lady has had any influence on her artistic output or direction.

But those expecting some sort of presidential revelation or behind-the-scenes surprise could well be in for a disappointment as apparently 95 per cent of the material on the album was written before she first met Sarkozy.

Leaving little to chance and definitely not relying on the presidential stamp of approval, Bruni-Sarkozy is also rumoured to be negotiating a number of television talk show appearances on both of France's main channels to coincide with the album's release. They have yet to be confirmed, but should they take place they will mark yet again something of a first for this First Lady who seems intent on not letting her role as the president's wife get in the way of her singing career.

One thing's for certain, whether you relish the chance to hear her folksy ditties or consider her recordings as nothing more than unwelcome warbling, it'll be hard to ignore her.
About the Author
Johnny Summerton is a Paris-based broadcaster, writer and journalist specializing in politics, sport and travel. For more on what's making the headlines here in France, log on to his site at http://www.persiflagefrance.com
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