French pop chanteuse Chimène Badi vaulted to national fame via the hit reality TV talent showcase Pop Stars.
Born in the Paris suburb of Melun on October 30, 1982, Badi grew up in the south of France, and at age six made her musical debut at a local amateur contest. While studying agriculture she recorded a series of demo tapes, but found no interest from labels. In 2002, Badi auditioned for the second season of the M6 Network's Pop Stars, and while she failed to move on to the finals, her powerhouse performances attracted the attention of juror Valéry Zeitoun, the director of the AZ label, who immediately extended a contract offer. Badi's debut single, the Rick Allison-penned ballad "Entre Nous," became a huge hit, selling more than a million copies between the French, Swiss, and Belgian markets and lent its title to her debut LP, released in early 2003. The follow-up singles "Je Vais Te Chercher" and "Si J'avais Su T'aimer" both topped the French charts, establishing Badi as the spiritual heir to the power ballad tradition of Celine Dion, and in mid-2003 she toured in support of French pop legend Johnny Hallyday. Her sophomore album, Dis-Moi Que Tu M'aimes, followed in the autumn of 2004, generating three number one hits: "Je Ne Sais Pas Son Nom," "Retomber Amoureux," and "Je Viens du Sud." The concert set Live à l'Olympia, documenting Badi's February 2005 appearances at the legendary Paris music hall, hit retail in early 2006, and was swiftly followed up by her third studio album Le Miroir. Fans would then have to wait a whole four years for her return, which finally came in the shape of Laisse les Dire, and saw Chimène become mononymous. Back in the swing of things, she wasted no time in recording her next album, 2011's Gospel & Soul, where she gave her own interpretation of classic French and American standards and traditionals. ~ Jason Ankeny