Francis Cabrel Biography
Francis Cabrel (born 23 November 1953 in Agen, France) is a French singer-songwriter and guitarist. Inspired heavily by Bob Dylan, he has realeased a number of albums falling mostly within the realm of folk, with occasional forays into blues or country. Several of his songs, such as "L'encre de tes yeux" and "Petite Marie" have become enduring favourites in French music. Others, such as "C'était l'hiver", about the suicide of a young girl, have since been covered by other artists such as Canadian Isabelle Boulay.
Cabrel was born into a modest family, with a working father and a mother who was a cashier. He has a sister, Martine, and a brother, Philippe.
A shy teenager, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" inspired him to pick up a guitar and start writing his own songs. At 16, enthralled by music, he started to sing the songs of Neil Young, Cohen and Dylan. He also learned English by translating the lyrics. He would later tell that his guitar enabled him to appear more interesting to others.
Expelled from secondary school in Agen for lack of discipline, he went to work in a shoe shop while playing gigs with a group named "Ray Frank and Jazzmen", which later became known as "les Gaulois" because every member of the band had a moustache. Indeed, at that time, Cabrel's appearance was that of a hippie, with long hair and a moustache.
In 1974 he took part in a contest of song of Sud Radio and performed in front of a panel of judges, which included Daniel and Richard Seff. With his own song "Petite Marie", dedicated to his wife Mariette, he won the contest and was signed to a record deal by CBS.
In 1977, during CBS' "New French Song" campaign, his first record " Ma ville" was released. However, he quickly realized that CBS, having tampered with the accent of his singing voice on "Petite Marie", had thus interfered with the expression of his true personality. That version of the song is disavowed by Cabrel today.
However, at the Olympia, opening for Dave during one month, and he won the "prix du Public" at the Festival de Spa in Belgium in 1978.