The Legends: Carla Bruni

The Legends: Carla Bruni

The former French First Lady and supermodel Carla Bruni discusses her return to the studio and the release of a very romantic album of English-language songs, in a V online exclusive.

The former French First Lady and supermodel Carla Bruni discusses her return to the studio and the release of a very romantic album of English-language songs, in a V online exclusive.

Text: Landon Peoples

Here’s something you may not have known about Carla Bruni, the former supermodel and first lady of France: The songstress has been trying to write in English for 20 years. She speaks it fluently, bien sûr, but when it comes to songwriting, she admittedly just can’t quite get it. That fun fact is just one of a few reasons why, come October 6th, Bruni is releasing French Touch, an album of covers featuring some of music’s most romantic and recognizable hits—all in her signature style.

It all came out of a brainstorming session with top music producer David Foster. “We had a drink and he said to me, ‘Why don't you sing in English? Write some English songs.' And then I said to him, 'I've been trying for 20 years to write in English, and I don’t get it. I’d need a cowriter, you know? Someone American or English that can cowrite with me. I just don’t have the words,’” Bruni laughs of the project’s simple-yet-challenging prospects. "I haven’t read enough in English—all the books and the poetry I’ve read were in French. So, he said, ‘Why don’t you do some covers?' And I said, 'Oh, okay.' And that's how we did it.”

Simple as that. Because the Italian-born, French-raised mother of two does, in fact, sound so European on the mic, her coquettish French accent makes the already perfect songs that much better. The classics are all there: from Johnny Mercer’s enchanting "Moon River" to Depeche Mode’s catchy "Enjoy The Silence,” Willie Nelson’s iconic “Crazy” (on which Bruni sings alongside Nelson), and more.

According to Bruni, the process of writing songs (and as in the beginning stages of her career, giving them away to artists like Julien Clerc and Isabelle Boulay) couldn’t be more different than covering them. In attempting to differentiate the two, Bruni charmingly fumbles, bringing back to mind the fact that she’s a master of more languages than most.

“Writing a song comes from the heart, you know? You sort of have to find the melody and the lyrics, and then we sing it. It’s inside your head or your heart (or in your pen) before it's in your voice,” Bruni begins. "Covering the song is just so much more like being an actor because it’s not songs that are coming from your own universe. You’re putting your own universe on it... Over it? In it? I don’t know how to explain.”

French Touch is a first for Bruni on several levels—her first time recording in English, her first time working with Foster, and her first time covering hits of the legends who’ve inspired her for most of her life. But as a veteran of several vocations at this point (singing, modeling, international diplomacy), Bruni just wants to connect with anyone who’s listening. Naturally, she ends on a high note: "I want the songs to bring back memories to people that grew up listening to them, the same way they did to me."

Credits: IMAGE dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

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