Lara Fabian: Francophone by Heart, Quebecer by Adoption

With a 30-year career and 20 million albums sold across the world, Lara Fabian is an icon of Francophone music. As part of her 50th birthday celebrations, the Belgian-Canadian artist will be kicking off an international tour with more than 50 dates, beginning in New York on September 16.

The tour – christened the “50 World Tour” – follows on from the February release of Papillon, Lara Fabian’s 14th studio album. This latest offering is the most recent collaborative project between the Francophone singer and the American composer Sharon Vaughn, who has worked with country and rock artists such as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Kenny Rogers. Speaking by phone from Paris, Lara Fabian talks about her ties to North America, her multicultural roots, and her experience as a coach on music show La Voix (The Voice) in Quebec.

France-Amérique: You were born in the Brussels area but became a Canadian citizen in 1996 and have lived in Montreal since 2017. Why did you choose Quebec originally?

Lara Fabian: I see Quebec as a Francophone bubble in North America. It is a beautiful region, and life there is comfortable. It is also where I found my place as a young artist, and where I was able to learn my trade, get my bearings, develop my experience, and cut my teeth as a singer-songwriter. I am happy and feel good when I am there. My life would not be what it is today if it had not started in Quebec.

You moved permanently to Quebec to work as a coach on the Canadian edition of The Voice. How did this experience influence you?

I took part in the show for two seasons, and thank goodness you are not forced to play a role in Quebec. I could be myself – empathetic, attentive, generous, and joyful. Thanks to that little red chair [coaches on the show sit in red armchairs], I fully realized how wonderful it is to help up-and-coming artists. I am sure I will be taking on similar projects in the future. I had the same experience of transmission when I led a masterclass at the school I sponsor in Paris, the Académie Internationale de Comédie Musicale, and I really enjoyed it then as well.

In 2019 you will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Lara Fabian, your first album in English. How did this career transition go?

It is natural for me to sing in French, English, and Italian. I have always been in contact with multilingualism and multiculturalism. They defined both my birth and my musical choices. My maternal grandfather is American of Sicilian descent. He grew up in Detroit and went back to the island to marry a woman from his culture. This is how he met my grandmother, and my mother was later born in Sicily. And my father was born in Belgium. I really am from all over the place!

Lara Fabian’s U.S. Tour:
Septembre 16, 2019: New York, Beacon Theatre
Septembre 18, 2019: Chicago, Chicago Theatre
Septembre 20, 2019: San Jose, San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Septembre 23, 2019: Los Angeles, Dolby Theatre