Anggun: An artiste of many talents
With her deep voice and exotic accent, Anggun has conquered the hearts of thousands of fans across Europe and Asia. From her first hits, “La Neige au Sahara” [Snow over the Sahara] and “La Rose des vents” [Rose of the Winds], to her participation in the Eurovision song contest, from her appearances on small screens to her humanitarian actions, Anggun reviews the moments that have marked her career with professionalism and sensitivity. Meet the personality behind the microphone.
photo by Sandra Fourqui
You started music at the age of 9 and at only 14 you became a star in Asia destined shortly to win over the hearts of Western music-lovers. After the release of your eighth album, entitled “8”, in 2018, what meaning does the stage have for you today? Does it still have the same symbolic value?
The stage is where an artist meets her audience. I have always loved these privileged moments when I receive an enormous amount of love, where there is a real exchange, almost like a communion. Music has this incredible power to take you on a journey, to make you share strong emotions and feel alive! I love performing on stage - it’s addictive! Singers must sing, performers must play, without that we are nothing. That’s why this pandemic is such a complicated time for performing artists, as we are in a way deprived of our oxygen.
More recently, you went to Thailand with Frédéric Chau and Mathilda May to make your first TV film, “Coup de Foudre à Bangkok” [Falling in Love in Bangkok]. How do you feel about your first experience as an actress?
This was an amazing opportunity to take my first steps as an actress alongside these marvellous actors. They were incredibly kind to me. They gave me confidence and now I’m really keen to plunge back into the adventure, perhaps with a more substantial role this time.
photo by Sandra Fourqui
After X-Factor Indonesia and Asia Got Talent, you find yourself back in the TV studio among your fellow detectives for a new season of Mask Singer. What are your most cherished memories as a member of the jury panel?
I love my fellow detectives, Jarry, Alessandra Sublet and Kev Adams, they’re so funny and full of energy! Not a single day goes by without a chuckle, or even a laughing fit! Filming sessions are long - we start around 11 and sometimes finish at one in the morning, so having them by your side makes it much more pleasant. It’s a very enthralling programme, very committing, but I'm so happy to be part of this adventure. And the audiences are out there! The programme has really caught on with the public.
More than just a performer, you are also a woman highly committed to civic and charitable causes such as the prevention of warfare, poverty and the environment, as well as women’s and LGBT rights. Now a UN ambassador, why is it important for you to uphold these convictions?
I realise that I love the life I lead, I live in a country where human rights are one of the foundations of society, where if something’s not right I can go on the streets to protest and I have the right to vote if I want to change the country’s leadership. I know this is not the case for many people, even for the vast majority of the world’s population. As Maxime Le Forestier said in his glorious song, “Being born somewhere, For the one that’s born, It’s always a matter of luck”. You need only live in a certain part of the world to be deprived of your fundamental rights. And so I use my voice and the reputation I’ve built up to speak on behalf of those who have no voice or whose words go unheeded. And this is not without consequences for me either! In 2015, when I sent an open letter to the recently elected Indonesian president begging him to save the life of a Frenchman condemned to death in Indonesia, I received thousands of boycott calls and death threats and some of my concerts were cancelled on the spot. But it’s so much more important for me to use my voice to support the causes close to my heart that I accept the risk.