Anggun’s fate has followed a musical, spiritual and geographical path. Her father, a writer, instilled in her a sense of the power of words and poetry. At an early age, dance, singing and the piano became natural ways of expressing herself – and the stage one big playground.
Her homeland – Indonesia and its 13,000 islands – fell in love with her and watched her grow up. After starting out as a child mascot, she went on to embody the fascination of her country’s youth for the West and the excitement of rock. Her albums sold in their millions, her live gigs filled stadium after stadium, and the whole of South-east Asia fell for her.
But this budding woman was already dreaming of greater things, of travelling across the ocean and having the courage to start again from scratch, first in London and then in Paris where a few crucial encounters led her to sign for a major French record company in 1997.
The first fruit of her new life, ‘Au Nom de la Lune’ (international title: ‘Snow on the Sahara’) came out in 1998, followed by her second album ‘Désirs contraires’ (international title: ‘Chrysalis’) in 2000, both of them providing a silky showcase for the singer’s voluptuous sensibility.
Her first meaningful success in France was ‘La Neige au Sahara’, which was the most popular track on French radio in 1998 and the album went double gold. Over thirty-five other countries fell under her spell. America and its dreams were shimmering on the horizon. Italy also embraced her exotic soul songs with their classy French touch. The figures speak for themselves…
The first album was certified triple platinum export (over 900,000 copies sold), went Double-Platinum in Italy, Gold in France, Gold in Switzerland, Gold in Singapore, Gold in Finland, Platinum in Malaysia, Triple-Platinum in Indonesia. And so on. The album even broke into the Billboard Heatseekers Chart’s Top 20 in the US! Her hit track ‘Snow on the Sahara’ (the English language version of ‘La Neige au Sahara’) was a certified Gold Export Award and went straight to number 1 in Italy and Spain, and number 5 in the UK Clubs charts. And so forth.
The second album was a major hit as well, going platinum export. ‘Chrysalis’ was certified Gold in Italy within a week of being released! The first single ‘Still Reminds Me’ charted in the European Top 5 Singles charts.
Naturally, Anggun’s success also included a large number of concerts and events abroad (World Music Awards, MTV Awards, Silver Screen Awards, Top of the Pops, Women Inspire Awards, a concert for the Pope at the Vatican, etc.). This constant, endless travelling has taken her farther and farther away from France. Yet the two million albums she sold worldwide in less than 5 years made Anggun one of the French record industry’s biggest success stories, alongside the likes of Air, Manu Chao and Daft Punk.
In some countries, such as her native country Indonesia, the new life of Anggun has inspired youngsters to take up French. This cultural impact, alongside her commercial success, earned Anggun deserved recognition at the 2003 Midem Awards in January where she received a Diamond Export Award for her record sales outside France.
More recently, Anggun has performed on the soundtracks to two Scandinavian films, ‘Anja & Viktor’ and ‘Open Hearts’, both produced by cult Danish production company Dogma Films. Anggun was even nominated for a ‘Best Song’ award at the 2003 Danish Film Awards for ‘Open Hearts’. That same year her duet with the Italian rock star Piero Pélu (‘Amore Imaginato’) was number 1 in the Italian charts for 10 consecutive weeks.
A year later, Anggun received the prestigious title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture for her international success and her work to promote French culture. She also agreed to become a spokewoman for the United Nations as part of their “micro-credit programme” to tackle underdevelopment.
As a woman with a foot in two different cultures, she is a messenger of musical harmony who pours out her heart, sometimes wounded by being away, often reinvigorated by adventure. Anggun’s career and talent are unique. France opened its doors to her, and Anggun has opened her heart and, to millions of fans, she is a living example of a free woman who combines the grace and inspiration of French and Asian culture.
In 2004, Anggun brought out an elegant and precious album entitled ‘Luminescence’, which was greeted with rave reviews by the media and the public alike. Featuring a number of prestigious guests, ‘Luminescence’ established Anggun’s reputation for good and was certified platinum in France and for export!
Her second single, ‘Saviour/Cesse la Pluie’, was the most-played French-speaking on radio stations overseas in 2005 and was also a huge hit, spending more than 15 consecutive weeks in the French Top 40 singles chart. The track was also nominated in the ‘Best International Song’ category at Poland’s prestigious Sopot Music Awards.
Luc Besson chose the song as the theme tune for his US blockbuster ‘The Transporter II’, which was n° 1 at the US and European box offices!
Then at the end of 2007, Anggun was once more in the news when she sang in the BBC film ‘Planet Earth’, which was a number one box-office hit in France. The film was a huge success, with over one and a half million people going to see it at French cinemas.
In 2007, Anggun called on some big names from the hip-hop scene such as Pras from The Fugees to deliver an album with a resolutely urban sound that surprised listeners. With its staccato rhythms, urban flow and powerful production, Anggun once more struck out from the beaten track and showed her considerable talent where we least expected it. She took a real artistic risk and was rewarded with a gold-export Award in France and a phenomenal 8-times Platinum Award in her native country, Indonesia.
The same year Anggun became an Ambassador for the hair-care brand Pantene in South-east Asia.
Her committed work for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. As an artist, Anggun only sees any value in fame if it enables her to promote a message of universal importance. Already deeply conscious of in the major issues facing today’s world, Anggun accepted immediately when the FAO asked her to be one of its Goodwill Ambassadors.
As someone who is very sensitive to the problems of malnutrition and food security, Anggun devotes a great deal of time and effort to her role as a spokeswoman for the organization’s essential programmes, in particular the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals), a road map for global leaders in order to ensure that everyone on the planet has adequate nutrition.
Anggun has carried this message to the four corners of the globe and to her adoring fans, encouraging them for example to sign a large-scale petition against global hunger (www.1billionhungry.org). Anggun cannot stand idly by and watch one billion children, women, and men worldwide continue to suffer from malnutrition. And she will never stop using the media exposure she attracts to encourage people everywhere to make the world a fairer and more harmonious place.
cts to encourage people everywhere to make the world a fairer and more harmonious place.