Renaud in 2017.
|Birth name||Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan|
11 May 1952|
|Genres||Chanson, country, pop, rock|
|Occupation(s)||singer, songwriter, actor|
Polydor (1975–1983) |
Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan, known as Renaud (French: [ʁəno] ( listen); born 11 May 1952), is a popular French singer, songwriter and actor. His characteristically 'broken' voice makes for a very distinctive vocal style. Several of his songs are popular classics in France, including the sea tale "Dès que le vent soufflera", the irreverent "Laisse béton", the ballad "Morgane de toi" and the nostalgic "Mistral gagnant". However, with the exception of a recording of "Miss Maggie" in English and a franglais recording of "It is not because you are", his work is almost unknown outside the French-speaking world.
Fresh out of school, Renaud was determined to become an actor. By chance he met the actor Patrick Dewaere and was invited to join the company of the comedy theatre Café de la Gare, which had recently been founded by Patrick Dewaere, Coluche, and Miou-Miou.
His early work is characterized by a volatile temperament, innovative use of French, and edgy, dark, leftist social and political themes. Raised in an educated milieu, the son of an intellectual, Renaud adopted the looks and attitude of working-class youth in the 1970s, and reflected this in his lyrics. A recurrent theme is his disgust for the average French person with petit-bourgeois preoccupations and right-wing leanings (see beauf). His music focuses on the disparity between classes, the abuse of political power, overbearing authority and disgust for the military and the police, with rare glimpses of tenderness for his fellow humans, the planet earth, and art.
In 1985, in a concert in Moscow, in what was an orchestrated gesture, roughly one third of the spectators upped and left the concert hall when he sang the anti-militarist "Déserteur". In the late 1980s and the 1990s, Renaud's work was distinguished by "softer" subjects such as his wife (later ex-wife) Dominique, his daughter Lolita and his friends, as well as comedian and singer Coluche for whom he wrote the tribute "Putain de camion" ("Bloody Lorry") after Coluche's death in a road accident. He has also ventured into regional music and language, such as the language of Marseille in La Belle de Mai, the north with Renaud cante el' Nord and even Corsican polyphonics in "Lolito lolita".
In 1992, he financially helped resurrect the defunct satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and wrote a column titled Renaud bille en tête for a couple of years. His column appeared again in 1995-1996, retitled Envoyé spécial chez moi. In 2006, he published Les Bobos, as a satire on the Parisian lower bourgeoisie.
After an unproductive period marked by alcohol addiction, he made a very significant comeback with his 2002 album Boucan d'enfer. That album's iconic hit was "Manhattan-Kaboul", a powerful duo with Axelle Red which tackled current issues by drawing a parallel between a victim of the 9-11 attacks in New York and an Afghan girl, both caught up in a war they don't understand.
In 2009 Renaud released Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise his long-awaited album of classic Irish balads. Produced by ex-Boomtown Rats bassist Pete Briquette, the album was commercially successful (certified double-platinum in just over a month) but the singer's feeble, often out-of-tune vocals caused some negative reviews.
In 2014, a collective of 15 artists released a tribute album containing 14 tracks covers of his songs under the title La Bande à Renaud.
On 26 January 2016, on his official web site, Renaud released "Toujours debout", the first track from his new studio album yet to be released. On the same day, he announced on the French public radio station France Inter the title of his new studio album: Toujours debout. The video "Toujours debout" is released on 26 February 2016.
On 8 April 2016, Renaud released his new long-awaited studio album, announced and known under the title Toujours debout but oddly sold under the simple title Renaud.
Renaud's father Olivier Séchan, born to a Protestant Languedoc family from the Cévennes and Montpellier, was a prize-winning novelist and popular children's writer. He taught German in a secondary school in Paris. The director Edmond Séchan is his uncle. His grandfather was the famous scholar and Hellenist Louis Séchan, who taught at the Sorbonne. His ancestors were pastors. His mother is the daughter of a coal miner from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Renaud dedicated part of his work to his familial roots, singing traditional songs in the regional Picard language and playing the part of Étienne Lantier in Germinal, a film based on the famous Émile Zola novel.
In August 2005, Renaud married Romane Serda, the mother of his son Malone. In 2007, he announced to the press his intention to move his family to London, citing a love for British society and expressing disillusionment at the current state of France. In 2009 Renaud's daughter, writer Lolita Séchan, married French acoustic singer-songwriter Renan Luce.
In September 2011, Romane divorced Renaud on the account of his alcoholism and depression.
|1975||Amoureux de Paname (Polydor)||–|
|1977||Laisse béton (Polydor)||–|
|1979||Ma gonzesse (Polydor)||–|
|1980||Marche à l'ombre (Polydor)||–|
|1981||Le Retour de Gérard Lambert (Polydor)||–|
|1983||Morgane de toi (Polydor)||–||Sold over 1,500,000 copies|
|1985||Mistral gagnant (Virgin)||–||Sold over 2,000,000 copies; it was Renaud's most successful album until 2002's Boucan d'enfer|
|1988||Putain de camion (Virgin)||–|
|1991||Marchand de cailloux (Virgin)||–|
|1992||Renaud cante el' Nord (Virgin)||–||Traditional folk songs from the north of France|
|1994||À la Belle de Mai (Virgin)||–|
|1996||Renaud chante Brassens (Virgin)||22||10||–||Interpretation of songs by Georges Brassens|
|2002||Boucan d'enfer (Virgin)||1||1||1||Sold over 2,200,000 copies the most successful Renaud album to date|
|2006||Rouge Sang (EMI)||1||1||3|
|2009||Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise (EMI)||1||4||34|
|2016||Renaud (Parlophone, Warner Music)||1||1||2|
- 1980: Bobino (Polydor)
- 1981: Le P'tit bal du samedi soir et autres chansons réalistes (Polydor)
- 1982: Un Olympia pour moi tout seul (Polydor)
- 1989: Visage pâle rencontrer public (Virgin)
|1996||Paris-Province: Aller / Retour (Virgin)||29||32||–|
|2003||Tournée d'enfer (EMI)||16||38||–|
|2007||Tournée Rouge Sang - Paris Bercy + Hexagone (Ceci-Celà)||16||38||–|
|1995||Les Introuvables||–||29||–||A collection of rarities|
|The Meilleur of Renaud 75-85||–||11||–|
|The Very Meilleur Of Renaud 1975/1995||–||14||–|
|2000||L'absolutely meilleur of Renaud||–||29||–|
|2006||Les 100 plus belles Chansons 1975-1983||–||76||–|
|Les 100 plus belles Chansons 1985-2006||–||2||–|
|2011||Le plein de super!||15||33||–||3CD Best Of|
|2014||Les 50 plus belles chansons||57||59||–|
|Les 100 plus belles chansons 1985-2006 (5 CDs)||185||2||–|
|1986||"Miss Maggie"||13||–||–||–||Mistral gagnant|
|1991||"Marchand de cailloux"||25||–||–||–||Marchand de cailloux|
|"La ballade nord-irlandaise"||44||–||–||–|
|2002||"Docteur Renaud, Mister Renard"||23||–||6
(with Axelle Red)
(Romane Serda feat. Renaud)
|"Dans la jungle"||31||–||19||64||Rouge Sang|
|"Arrêter la clope!"||31||–||3
|–||Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise|
|2011||"La liberté en cavale" (Dr. Tom)||–||–||30
|2012||"Mistral gagnant"||102||–||–||–||Mistral gagnant|
- 1993: Traditional music album of the year award for "Renaud cante el' Nord"
- 2001: Lifetime achievement award
- 2003: Three awards given for: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year (for Manhattan-Kaboul with Axelle Red)
Gérald de Palmas
| Victoires de la Musique
Male group or artist of the year