It is easy to categorise Carla Bruni as a face and body with a higher than average ability to hang make-up and clothes. It might even be easier to identify her in relationship to her passage in the French white house or to her aristocratic background. However, under music, all humans are equal and it is the colour she brings to the rainbow of music that is here of interest. Her clear musical talent is underpinned not only by a musical pedigree (her father is a composer and a pianist) but by her own musical influences (ranging from The Beatles to Bob Dylan) and her ability to uniquely stamp her melodies by doing Folk with an air of chanson while mixing it with various genres and retaining a certain musical simplicity.
The understated elegance of her music is reflected in its minimalist instrumentation and her effortlessly smoky (literally even) voice, resembling the characteristic breathy voices of French female music artists of a previous generation, yet unique, sounding more like a whisper than a sung lyric. The lyrics occupy a centre stage, typical in French chanson but also highlighted in her rendition of some beautifully crafted English poems.
Carla Bruni was born in Italy, grew up in France, was raised by an English nanny and travelled the world as a model which gave her the opportunities to learn and practice French, English and Italian, languages in which she writes and sings her songs. Her thoughtful yet subtly deep lyrics and her word plays reveal her intellectual brilliance and explains her past sapiosexual orientations.
Carla Bruni balances her music career with her own music love that demands a continual self-renewal. She evolves throughout albums, remaining humble in spite of her growing recognition in the music industry. She is a mix of effortless playfulness underlying deeper and lighter lyrics alike. If you like playful, smoky-breathy, French chanson meets all folks, and laid-back delivery, she’s it.
Carla Bruni in 10 songs:
1. L’amoureuse – This is an authentic portrayal of a woman in love. Bruni does not hide that it is her, neither in the lyrics nor in the melodic mood. Everything flowers around, even her smoky voice! The track comes from her third album “Comme si de rien n’était” (as if nothing) released in 2008. 2. Il cielo in una stanza (Le ciel dans une chambre, The sky in a bedroom) is a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Gino Paoli in 1960 and beautifully rendered by Carla Bruni in her first album in French and English 3. Lady weeping at the crossroads – Her efforts to put English poems to music has no doubt upset the guardians of English poetry if not just of poetry as her musical rendering might not completely do justice to the semantic movements in the poems. However, it will be extremely difficult to deny or not be won over by the beauty of the music created. This track has one of my favourite music on her album ‘No promises’ where Carla Bruni puts in music W.(Wystan) H. Auden’s poem ‘Lady Weeping At The Crossroads’. The album features two poems by W.B. Yeats, three by Emily Dickinson, one by Christina Rossetti, one by Walter de la Mare, two by Dorothy Parker and two by W. H. Auden including of course this song… She gratefully cites her friend Marianne Faithfull as the inspiration for her choice of English literature as lyrics and her blues-inspired music partner on this journey, Bertignac. The album topped the pan-European Billboard album chart on January 25th 2007. 4. Quelqu’un m’a dit This is the title track of Carla Bruni’s debut album released in 2003. It means someone told me. 5. Tout le monde Quiet reflective ballad on, well, ‘everyone’ 6. Chez Keith et Anita There is a little feel of the lyrics of Aznavour’s La bohème meeting Brassens’ Jeanne in this ode to Keith and Anita, the place to be, away from mondanity. 7. Ta tienne This song is full of playfulness, from its musical rhythm to its performance via the deliberate grammatical mistake in its title. After all, when you are in love, nothing really matters 8. J’Arrive à toi A wonderful ballad in lyrics and melody that presents Carla Bruni more naked than on her model days 9. Little French Song – Not from her most exciting album release, but Carla Bruni seems to be having fun and the playfulness of Little French Song might just make up for the attempt to show some pride in the undeniable richness of the Francophone singer-songwriters legacy. 10. La dernière minute – literally translates the last minute, where in about 60s, Lady Bruni sums up why we are in love with her with simple clever lyrics, melody and instrumentation to the point and smoky voice for finish. In the end, all she says is “Puisque ma vie n’est rien, alors j’en redemande, Je veux qu’on m’en rajoute, Soixante petites secondes pour ma dernière minute”. “Well as my life is nothing then I ask for more, 60 seconds for my last minute” An extract of the last track we have for you from her, la derniere minute, the last minute.