She's the daughter of two of the most famous pop culture icons but Charlotte Gainsbourg has always stood out in her own way. 33 years since her musical debut, she is back at it again, this time in an entirely different light.
Charlotte Gainsbourg likes firsts. As she said in a recent interview with Loud and Quiet, she likes that feeling of doing things first because you can't screw anything up, it's the first time. She likes to put her self in situations where she is always challenged and trying to do everything for the first time, whether that's in her acting or musical career.
Charlotte, the daughter of French director Serge Gainsbourg and English beauty Jane Birkin, was born in London but raised in Paris. She grew up on movie sets and encouraged by her month to make her motion picture debut playing Catherine Deneuve's daughter in the film Paroles et Musique in 1984 at the age of 13. That same year she released her debut song with Serge titled "Lemon Incest". The song was controversial due to the lyrics implying a pedophiliac relationship between a father and daughter and led people to believe that the material was autobiographical. She has spoken in interviews about attending boarding school at the time of the release and being unaware of the controversy regarding the song until she was much older although she claims she knew the lyrics and was not naive to the content. In 1986, at age 15, Charlotte released her debut album Charlotte For Ever, produced by her father Serge. Although she dabbled in a few musical projects since, she talks about not being able to continue in music for a long time after the death of her father in 1991, reluctant to do it without him as she related so much of it to her time with him.
In 2000, Charlotte featured on the Madonna track "What It Feels Like for a Girl" from the album Music. A scene of Charlotte from the film The Cement Garden was the spoken introduction to the song, said to have inspired the title of the song. She released her second album 5:55 to rave reviews in 2006, reaching the top spot on the French charts and achieving platinum status.
IRM was Charlotte's third album, released in 2009 it was a work undertaken with Beck as producer. During the making of the album, Charlotte was filming the movie Antichrist and said the film played a role in influencing the album. IRM is the french acronym for MRI, a reference to Charlotte's head injury incurred during a water skiing accident she had in 2007. Later in 2011, she released Stage Whisper, a double album collection of unreleased songs from IRM and a bunch of live tracks.
For the last four years, while living in New York, Charlotte worked with producer Sebastian Akchoté (also known as SebastiAn and known for his own works as well as working with Frank Ocean) on her fifth studio album. Rest is a personal project exploring her feelings after her father Serge Gainsbourg and her half-sister Kate Barry's death, with the theme of alcohol addiction. She has stated she "wanted to make something with all this sadness she had.” The album is a mixture of both french a english lyrics, Charlotte saying she really pushed herself in the making of it. She played a hand in the whole process, also directing videos for the singles "Rest" and "Deadly Valentine".
Not only can Charlotte sing, direct, write songs and act, she is also a mother and ambassador for the Hear the World Foundation where she advocates for equal opportunities and a better quality of life for people with hearing loss. A woman of many talents, well deserving of our artist of the month - female or not!