Grégory Jean-Paul Lemarchal (13 May 1983 – 30 April 2007) was a French singer who rose to fame by winning the fourth series of the reality TV programme Star Academy France, broadcast on the TF1 television network.
He sold over 1 million albums in France, becoming the second highest-selling album of Star Academy France winner, behind Jenifer Bartoli, who sold 1.3 million albums in 2007. He died at age of 23 of health complications while waiting in hospital for a lung transplant. A posthumous album, La Voix d'un ange, was released with profits going towards the Association Grégory Lemarchal charity. A compilation Rêves was released in 2009.
Life and career
1983–2002: Early life
Lemarchal was born in La Tronche, Isère to Pierre Lemarchal and Laurence who also had a daughter named Leslie. At twenty months of age, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition which affects the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestine.
Growing up near Chambéry, Lemarchal enjoyed sports such as basketball and football, and even considered becoming involved in sport journalism. Nevertheless, his passion for music and rock n'roll dance was a force he could not resist. His decision was later confirmed when in 1995, at the age of 12, he became the winner of France Rock 'N' Roll, a rock 'n' roll dancing competition.
In 1998, Lemarchal auditioned for a talent show, Graines de stars, by singing a solo rendition of Daniel Balavoine's "Le Chanteur", as well as performing in a trio with two other contestants singing "Foule sentimentale" by Alain Souchon. This initial attempt failed, but helped to catapult him into fame and turned him into a local celebrity as a result of his brilliant performance in the show.
2003–2004: Career debut & Star Academy
In May 2003, Lemarchal was involved in a comedy musical entitled Adam and Eve which was directed by Paul Tordjmann. Sponsored by Sony Music, AB Prod, Radio Scoop and Partouche, the musical theater had ambitious plans to make a provincial tour, before settling at the Le Zénith in Paris. A total of 16 actors and dancers were involved in the production, with Lemarchal taking the lead role as Adam.
In 2004, Lemarchal gained international recognition after participating in the fourth season of Star Academy France. Through the recommendation of a friend, he was contacted by the show's producers who needed another male contestant for the show. During his participation in the show, he had the opportunity to perform with French singers such as Yannick Noah, Michel Sardou, and Patrick Bruel and Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli. On 22 December 2004, Lemarchal was announced as the winner of the season, beating fellow contestant Lucie Bernardoni with a massive vote of 80% to become the first male winner of the series.
2005–2007: Je deviens moi & Olympia 06
In March 2005, Lemarchal released his debut single, "Écris l'histoire", which peaked at number 2 in the French Singles Chart and was only held off the number 1 spot by Ilona Mitrecey's "Un Monde Parfait". The single spent a total of 21 weeks in the chart and went platinum. Soon after, he released his highly anticipated first album, Je deviens moi, which debuted at number 1 and was certified platinum. The second single of the album was "Je suis en vie". It debuted at number 17 in the French Singles Chart, dropping to number 26 in its second week before climbing back to position number 21. The song remained in the charts for a total of 13 weeks before exiting. A third single, "À corps perdu", was less successful, compared to its predecessors with (major French radios refusing to play it on account that it was "too sad").
At the NRJ Music Awards in January 2006, Lemarchal was awarded "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" ("Révélation francophone de l'année"). From May to June 2006, he completed his first solo nationwide tour across France, Belgium and Switzerland and a DVD album of his performance, Olympia 06, was subsequently released. His first single from the album, "Même si (What You're Made of)" was very successful. The song was recorded by Lemarchal and the original singer of the song, Lucie Silvas as a bilingual French-English version. The single debuted at number 2 in the French Singles Chart and was held off the number 1 spot by Pakito's "Living on Video". It spent a total of 26 weeks in the chart. A live version of the album track "Le feu sur les planches" was subsequently released.
In 2007, Lemarchal announced that his health was deteriorating and that he had been ordered by doctors to take a few weeks off to recuperate. On the morning of 30 April 2007, he died of complications while waiting in hospital for a lung transplant, he had been just two weeks shy of his 24 birthday. The death of Lemarchal had news headlines for an entire week and more than five thousand fans arrived in Chambéry on the day of his funeral to pay their respects. On 4 May 2007, a special television programme was broadcast on TF1 to commemorate his life, entitled "Grégory : La voix d'un ange" it reached an audience of more than 10.5 million viewers and there was an appeal for donations to raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis and help progress research into finding a cure. To date, more than 7.5 million Euro has been raised for cystic fibrosis causes in his memory.
A controversy emerged following his demise when Frédéric Martin, a comedian, was fined 4,000 euros including 2,000 in damages, to be paid to Lemarchal's family. Martin had referred to Lemarchal by the name of his illness on national television.
2007–2009: Posthumous career
A posthumous album, La Voix d'un ange, was released a month and a half after his demise by his record company Universal Music Group France, with profits going towards the Association Grégory Lemarchal. This release was not without controversy as the record company was accused of cashing in on the public attention caused by his death. Despite the controversy the album was a success, topping both the French Digital and Album Charts in addition to the Belgian (Wallonia) Album Chart. The album was certified Platinum by the IFPI for sales of more than 1 million copies across Europe.
Three singles were released from the album. The song "De temps en temps" debuted at number 1 in both the French and Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Charts becoming Lemarchal's first number 1 single in those charts. The single dropped to number 2 in its second week and went on to spend a total of 21 weeks in the chart. The success of the single eventually garnered him a posthumous award of Vincent Scotto by SACEM, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. The third single, "Restons Amis" debuted at number 9 in French Singles Chart and stayed in the chart for a total of 16 weeks.
In November 2009, a compilation entitled Rêves was released, containing all Lemarchal's previous hit singles plus two unpublished songs. The album debuted at number 1 in France.
In response to the loss of their beloved son and brother, Grégory's family founded the Association Grégory Lemarchal on 7 June 2007. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of cystic fibrosis sufferers and their families by providing information, funding research, and increasing public awareness of cystic fibrosis. The Association Grégory Lemarchal has funded many activities, including aid and assistance to patients and their families affected by cystic fibrosis with the purpose of improving their quality of life.
In November 2007, Lemarchal's sister Leslie, published "Mon frère, l'artiste" ("My brother, the artist", Michel Lafon Editions)", a collection of photographs of Lemarchal and whose copyright is paid to the Association Grégory Lemarchal.
Later that same year, the production and contestants of Star Academy paid tribute to Lemarchal in a show entitled "La voix d'un ange". The show raised 6.3 million euros for the Association Grégory Lemarchal.
In August 2013, a team of celebrities entered TV Show Fort Boyard (TV series) on France 2 to raise funds for the charity, the team collected 6 of the 7 (clé) keys before visiting Blanché, and collected 4 clue-words (indices) with 2m20 in the Treasure Room. The team collected over €18.000 for the charity.
- Studio albums
- Live albums
- Olympia 06 (2006)
- Les Pas d'un ange (2007)
- Compilation albums
- Rêves (2009)
- Cinq ans (2012)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grégory Lemarchal.|
- "Star Academy : who sold albums most ? – Singer". LetsSingIt. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- CADET, Thierry (23 October 2007). "(french) "Star Academy" : qui a vendu le plus d'albums ?". top40-charts.com. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "Gregory Lemarchal – Singer". BBC UK. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Biography of Gregory Lemarchal – Singer". Stars and Celebrities. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Qui ne fait qu'une représentation, selon le site Comlive.net.
- "Biography for Gregory Lemarchal". The Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "France Top 40". top40-charts.com. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "Ecris L'histoire". top40-charts.com. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "Je suis en vie". BBC UK. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "France Top 40". top40-charts.com. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "Même si (What You're Made of)". top40-charts.com. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "Gregory: the voice of an angel" Friday at 20h50 in TF1
- Grégory Lemarchal at the Internet Movie Database
- (French) Official Grégory Lemarchal Website
- (French) Association Grégory Lemarchal
Star Academy France