Zazie (born Isabelle Marie Anne de Truchis de Varennes, 18 April 1964) is a French singer, songwriter, and former fashion model. Zazie co-produces all her albums. She is noted for her playful use of language.
Isabelle de Truchis de Varennes was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. She was nicknamed "Zazie" in reference to the title character of the Raymond Queneau novel, Zazie dans le métro. Her mother was a music teacher and her father, Hervé de Truchis de Varennes, was an architect. At home, they listened to Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel and Barbara, as well as classical music. Inspired, Zazie began learning to play the violin at the age of ten, later teaching herself to play the piano and guitar. After high school, Zazie began studies to become a physiotherapist; however, her classic beauty and nearly six-foot stature caught the attention of modelling agents, and she abandoned her schooling to become a fashion model.
1992: Initial Forays into Music and Je, Tu, Ils
In 1990, Zazie began her musical career. She signed a contract with Phonogram in 1991. In 1992, she released Je, tu, ils, her first album recorded in the studios of Peter Gabriel. She collaborated for the first time with Pascal Obispo on the song "Un, deux, trois, soleil". She wrote almost all the tracks of the album and participated in the composition. The album had minor success, and the single "Sucré salé" was ranked No. 46 on the Top 50 (French SNEP Singles Chart). The following year, Zazie was awarded 'Best New Female Pop Artist of the Year' (révélation variétés féminine de l'année) at the Victoires de la musique. The other two singles from the albums were much less successful, but the singer's career was launched. Her record label agreed to sign for a second album.
From Je, Tu, Ils, Zazie distinguished herself as a songwriter by crafting songs notable for their wit, alliteration, homophonies and double entendres.
From 1995: Success
In 1995, she released her second album Zen, which was co-written by and co-produced with Vincent-Marie Bouvot. The album produced the singles "Zen" and "Homme sweet homme". Her 1996 single "Un point c'est toi" from the same album was discussed on Canada's MuchMusic TV program Too Much 4 Much due to its controversial content. Ultimately, the discussion panel deemed the video okay for audiences. In the video, a group of four smitten women, including Zazie, follow a pair of men down to a lake. There, the two men strip off their clothes and swim in the water. Zazie fantasizes about undressing one of the men and kissing him. However, her fantasies are spoiled as the two men kiss each other.
In 1997, Pascal Obispo and Zazie released the single "Les meilleurs ennemis".
Her 1998 album Made in Love was co-produced by Ali Staton, Pierre Jaconelli, and herself. The album photos were taken by fashion designer Jean-Baptiste Mondino. The songs "Ça fait mal et ça fait rien", "Tous des anges", and "Tout le monde" were released as singles. This album was followed by a live album, Made in Live, the next year. In 1999 she also wrote a song for Jane Birkin.
In 2001, Zazie teamed up with Axel Bauer on the single "À ma place". It was her most successful single in France, reaching number four on the French charts.
Zazie once again addressed homosexuality on her 2002 single "Adam et Yves" from her 2001 album La Zizanie. This album was produced solely by Pierre Jaconelli. Other singles included "Rue de la paix" and "Danse avec les loops". In 2003, she released another live album, Ze Live.
Her 2004 album Rodéo was co-produced with Jean-Pierre Pilot and Philippe Paradis. The video for the single "Excuse-moi" features Zazie playing the role of an Indian woman who leaves her cheating husband. She followed this album up with a live album, Rodéo Tour in 2006.
Her sixth album, Totem, was released in February 2007. Like her previous album, it was co-produced with Jean-Pierre Pilot and Philippe Paradis. The "Totem Tour" began on 1 July.
Also in 2007, she wrote several songs for Christophe Willem's album, Inventaire.
In June 2010, Zazie released a new single "Avant l'amour" (Before Love). Avant l'amour was the first single from the album "Za7ie"; it reached No. 54 on the French SNEP radio airplay chart.
"Za7ie" was constructed as a concept project of 49 songs, split into seven theme albums of seven songs each. A shorter version with 14 songs was released in September 2010, with the 49 song project released as a box set in November of the same year.
Zazie announced eighth album, "Cyclo", which is scheduled for release in spring 2013. The album was produced by Olivier Coursier of AaRON and mixed by Tony Hoffer.
In 2015, Zazie was a member of the jury in the 4th season of the French version of The Voice.
Zazie co-composed the music of the 1997 film Ma vie en rose.
Zazie made her acting debut in the 1998 film by Didier Le Pêcheur "J'aimerais pas crever un dimanche" (Don't Let Me Die on a Sunday).,
In 2007, Zazie wrote and co-composed seven of the fifteen tracks of Christophe Willem's first album, Inventaire, while also providing backing vocals in the tracks she wrote.
In 2009, she participated in Rendez-vous en terre inconnue.