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by Aneta Tadeusiak
Do we really need another female singer with a big voice? Or, more precisely, another Celine Dion? Yes, the similarity is hard to ignore for anyone who's ever heard Celine, but does it mean we're wasting our time with Lara?
Sure, the two ladies have sung in French in the past, released very successful albums and made it big in Canada, France and some other European countries. Their vocals are similar to some extent, they have worked with some of the same producers, they took part in Eurovision... and that's where the similarities end. On the surface.
While Celine claims she isn't a music fan, that she doesn't enjoy music, she doesn't write music, she's a singer, Lara's whole life is about music. Since very little Belguim-born Lara attended piano lessons, classical music lessons, opera lessons, singing lessons as well as dancing lessons. As a young novice she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, she came fourth. "The only thing I got out of it was the realisation that I could undergo a fair amount of stress and that I had the spine to be on TV in front of a billion people."
Soon she decided her home country was not for her, as the young scenes were non-existent in Belgium. She packed her bags and moved to Canada, where with some help from her manager/co-writer/producer Rick Allison, her career took off. It was not easy though, as no one would sign her. She opened her own record label, publishing company, live entertainment company and production company. Albums "Lara Fabian", "Carpe Diem", "Pure" and a live collection proved to be worth the commmitment.
Having sold seven million records sung in French alone, the time has come to show Lara Fabian to the whole world. Already huge in Europe, thanks to the singles "Adagio", "I Will Love Again" and most recently "I Am Who I Am", Lara Fabian has finally arrived in the UK.
The promo material has been circulating across the British Isles, but the actual launch date has been a mystery. The release date for the debut English-language single "I Will Love Again" has been put back over and over again, since May this year. The reason behind this might be the importance of the British market for Lara's future success, including her plans for the US.
The self-titled album includes the work of some of the most respected people in the music industry. The big ballads co-written by Walter Afanasieff, the toned-down but still moving "Part Of Me", "Givin' Up On You" and the gentle "Yeliel (My Angel)" received their characteristic atmosphere thanks to Patric Leonard, who had his share in Madonna's "Ray Of Light".
The up-tempo final shape was created by Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling ("I Will Love Again"), Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken ("I Am Who I Am") and Louis Biancaniello and Sam Watters (the Anastacia's "I'm Outta Love" sound-alike "Till I Get Over You"). But still the presence of Lara Fabian and Rick Allison as the songwriting/producing team keeps this albums' integrity.
As for comparisons with Celine, she says: "The parallel with Celine is inevitable because we're French-speaking artists. She's a great person and I have no problem with being compared with what's really high quality on this planet. Anyway, Barbara was the new Judy, Mariah was the new Whitney, Bryan Adams was the new Joe Cocker and Oasis were the new Beatles. Why would I be an exception? I'm no exception".
And she's no 'diva' either. The term has recently become a charasteristic for some demanding, moody and very successful female singers, which is what Lara does not want to be identified with. "When I step onto a TV set, I say hello to every technician because I know that anyone holding a cable could be running that TV station two years later. You should have respect for everyone", she explains. "A diva, if I may correct today's very negative interepretation of the word, is Maria Callas or Barbara Streisand or Aretha Franklin or Ella Fitzgerald. These women are divas. I'm a 'songwritter with a voice'."