Dominique in concert, 2012
|Birth name||Dominique Ané|
6 October 1968 |
|Labels||Olympic Disk / Wagram|
Dominique Ané (born 6 October 1968), better known as "Dominique A," is a French songwriter and singer.
Born on the 6 October 1968 in Provins, France, Dominique Ané is the only child of a teacher and a homemaker. He was passionate about literature and music from a young age. He was interested in the punk music of the time, but at the age of 14, at the beginning of the 1980s, he started to appreciate the dark romanticism of the New Wave movement. After his baccalaureate, he studied humanities for a year, and, at the same time, did a range of odd jobs, including his spell as a utility man for an FM radio station in Nantes, where his family lived. At around the age of 16, he started up a band, John Merrick, named after the hero of the film The Elephant Man, a cult film from David Lynch.
The foursome recorded a vinyl album of somber, tormented songs and gave a number of concerts in the area around Nantes. Later, with the singer Katerine, he recorded a number of songs, in a different, more upbeat and livelier style.
Beginning of a career
He began, at the start of the 1990s, to record more songs, which were both minimalist and rock in style. He wanted to break with the traditional chanson, which he considered to be more literary than musical. His first CD, released by the Nantes label, Lithium, met with critical acclaim, appreciated by the eminent alternative magazine, Les Inrockuptibles, and by Bernard Lenoir, the 'John Peel' of France. Furthermore, his song, Le Courage des oiseaux, (the Courage of the Birds), was an underground hit.
From 1992 onwards, he started to produce more and more live shows, either with a backing band, or solo. His commercial success grew in 1995, with Le twenty-two bar, a single off the album, La Mémoire Neuve, but this success left a bitter taste in Dominique's mouth, as he considered the song to be particularly badly written.
In 2000, he composed the score for Antoine Desrosières' black comedy film Banqueroute.
Le Détour and beyond (2002–)
Dominique's discovery of Alain Bashung's dark 2002 album, L'Imprudence shocked him to the point that it put his music into question and he decided to explore differents ways of working. He decided to compile what he considered to be the first part of a musical time capsule, a longbox entitled Le Détour. He asked his fans to write about their relationship with his music, and some of their letters were published in the booklet accompanying Le Détour.
For his subsequent album, he wanted to experiment and consequently, for the first time, he gave control over the album to a third party, the team who produced L'Imprudence. The end result would be Tout sera comme avant (Everything will be like it was before), which was released in 2004. Unfortunately, many fans had difficulty understanding and accepting the musical change the album represents. At the same time, Dominique did a lot of live shows, with diverse arrangements: with a big band, with minimalistic backing, or all alone (where he would experiment with oversampling).
In March 2006, L'Horizon came out, a new work that he produced alongside Dominique Brusson, with whom he had made the early album, Remué. It was the first time that Dominique A returned to work with a producer. He was backed by his old collaborators, Sacha Toorop and Olivier Mellano, as well as the musicians with whom he produced Tout sera comme avant. Dominique A had recently quit his record label, Labels, due to his desire for more creative freedom; consequently, it is no surprise that he describes L'Horizon as his most experimental work to date.
Collaboration and influence
Dominique A collaborates regularly with other artists and on other projects. He has been one of the shaping forces of Françoiz Breut's career, writing many of her songs since her début in 1997. He has also composed several songs for Jeanne Balibar's second album, Slalom Dale and wrote Où est la ville ? for Jane Birkin's 2006 album, Fictions. He has also sang the song Veruca Salt et Frank Black in trio with Keren Ann and Vincent Delerm on the latter's second album, Kensington Square.
Dominique A has inspired and influenced many artists. He has influenced many instrumentalist artists, such as Yann Tiersen and the electro band, Oslo Telescopic, who named one of their albums The Dominique O Project. Lyrically, his movement away from the constraints of chanson moved many others- including Miossec, Holden and Arman Méliès – by showing them that it was possible to make music that reflected their tastes and feelings using French.
- 1991: Le Disque sourd
- 1992: La Fossette (Lithium)
- 1993: Si Je Connais Harry (Lithium)
- 1995: La Mémoire Neuve (Lithium)
- 1999: Remué (Lithium)
- 2001: Auguri (Labels)
- 2004: Tout Sera Comme Avant (Labels)
- 2006: L'Horizon (Olympic Disk)
- 2009: La Musique
- 2012: Vers les lueurs
- 2007: Sur nos forces motrices (Olympic Disk)
- 2002: Le Détour (3CDs, Labels)
Notes and references
- « Les champs seine-et-marnais m'ont fait chérir la mer » ; Chat organisé par Télérama en partinariat avec Le Monde ; 19 avril 2006 (transcription)
- Banqueroute (2000)
- Yona, Yair Dominique A’ – L’horizonSmall Town Romance
- Official site (in French)
- Discography (in French)
- Biography from Radio France Internationale (in English)
- The Unofficial site : news, interview... (in French)
- A page about Dominique A from Lithium & Labels, his former labels (in French)
- Olympic Disk, his current label (in French)
- Review on 'La Musique' (2009)
- L'horizon, crítica en la Revista Lenguas de Fuego (en Español)
- Concert photos by Laurent Orseau (Black Session)