Étienne Daho (pronounced: [e.tjɛn da.o]) (born January 14, 1956 in Oran, French Algeria) is a French singer, songwriter and record producer. He has released a number of synth-driven and rock-surf influenced pop hit singles since 1981.
He sings in a low, whispery voice somewhat akin to Leonard Cohen or Chet Baker and his music established him as a pop cult hero. He cites Serge Gainsbourg, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and Syd Barrett as his musical influences. All his albums have been certified at least gold or platinum, including "Mythomane" in 1981, "La notte, la notte" in 1984, "Pop satori" in 1986, produced with a young William Orbit, "Pour nos vies martiennes" in 1988 and the double platinum "Paris ailleurs" in 1991, recorded in New York.
A best-selling recording artist in his own right in France, Daho is best known in Britain for his appearance on the number 11 Saint Etienne hit single "He's on the Phone", which is an English-language adaptation of his 1984 French-language big hit "Weekend à Rome". He also collaborated with Saint Etienne on the Reserection EP, his album Eden, and his single hit Le Premier Jour.
Daho's collaborations and productions both on stage and in the studio with other artists have been extensive. He has worked with Brigitte Fontaine, Arthur Baker, Air, Working Week, '80's new wave band Comateens, Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithfull, Françoise Hardy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis, Dani and more. His music has also been remixed, among others, by Air, Fischerspooner, Amon Tobin and William Orbit.
Daho's 1996 album Eden displayed a diverse array of electronic-oriented songs that included downtempo ballads, drum and bass-influenced tracks, and Hi-NRG dance. He duetted with Astrud Gilberto ("Les bords de Seine") and was accompanied by The Swingle Singers on "Timide intimité". Backing vocals on several songs were provided by Lyn Byrd of the Comateens, Sarah Cracknell (who co-wrote "Les passagers"), and Elli Medeiros.
Eden was subsequently re-released for the anglophone (English-speaking world) market with great reviews with the song "A New World", which was an English-language version of "Au Commencement". Daho performed in a sold out I.C.A. He also sang at the Marquee in 1989.
After a double platinum greatest hits compilation Best of Singles in 1998, the number one Corps & armes in 2000 saw Daho eschewing electronics in favour of a more orchestral sound fuelled by traditional instruments: piano, acoustic guitar, horns, directed by Wil Malone. One of the tracks included an English-language duet with Vanessa Daou ("Make Believe"). It includes also "Le brasier", "La baie" and "Ouverture".
Daho shifted gears once again for his dark and moody 2004 album Réévolution, which featured a guitar-heavy rock sound. He released the single hit "If" with Charlotte Gainsbourg as well as the Phil Spector influenced "Retour à toi" and "Les liens d'Eros" with Marianne Faithfull, reading her great uncle Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in furs.
In 2005, Daho released a live album Sortir Ce Soir, which featured many of his greatest hits performed in concert.
In 2007, his new album, L'Invitation, which was created with Edith Fambuena, was released to good press reviews. In 2008, a compilation of covers was released, called Tombés pour Daho (after Daho's single, Tombé pour la France). The recording artists include Benjamin Biolay, Doriand, Elli Medeiros, Daniel Darc, and Arnold Turboust. In the same year, on March 8, Daho received a Victoire de la Musique award in the category Album Pop / Rock of the Year.
His last album, "Les Chansons de l'innocence retrouvée", was released in 2013 and was a smash critical success in France, being included in several best end-of-year lists, by Les Inrockuptibles or Télérama, among others.
For record sleeves and music videos Daho collaborates with Pierre et Gilles, Michel Gondry, Nick Knight, Doug Nichol, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, M/M, Åbäke, Inez van Lamsweerde and Guy Peellaert among others.
In 2016 Etienne is invited by John Cale to sing " I'll Be Your Mirror " at the " The Velvet Underground and Nico "'s celebration album at the Paris's Philharmonie.
Translations and covers
- Daho re-recorded the song "Au Commencement" in English as "A New World" for the anglophone market.
- He released dance mixes by remixers such as William Orbit of some of his '80s singles, such as "Épaule Tattoo", in the '90s.
- Spanish singer Luz Casal recorded a cover version of "Duel au soleil" in Spanish called "Un Nuevo Dia Brillara" that became a hit song.
- Saint Etienne's single He's on the Phone is heavily based on Daho's "Week-end à Rome", and features his speech from the original recording. Daho also collaborated with the band on several other songs.
- Daho also recorded a cover of "My Girl Has Gone", a 1965 hit originally written and recorded by The Miracles .
- A fan of Pink Floyd, Daho has recorded versions of "Arnold Layne" and "Cirrus Minor."
- Nouvelle Vague recorded a cover version of "Week-end à Rome" with Vanessa Paradis.
(All albums until 2003 under Virgin Records, from 2005 onwards, on Capitol Records )
- 1981: Mythomane
- 1984: La notte, la notte
- 1985: Tombé pour la France (mini album)
- 1986: Pop satori
- 1988: Pour nos vies martiennes
- 1989: Live ED
- 1991: Paris ailleurs
- 1993: DahOlympia
- 1995: Réserection (EP with St. Etienne)
- 1996: Eden
- 1998: Singles
- 2000: Corps & armes
- 2001: Daho Live
- 2002: Dans la peau de Daho (long box)
- 2003: Réévolution
- 2005: Sortir ce soir (best of live)
- 2006: Pop satori Deluxe (boxset)
- 2007: L'invitation
- 2009: Daho Pleyel Paris (Live)
- 2010: Le Condamné à mort (with Jeanne Moreau)
- 2013: Les chansons de l'innocence retrouvée
- 2014: Diskönoir
- 2015: L'homme qui marche
- 1986 : Une Nuit Satori à l'Olympia – VHS – Virgin
- 1991 : Paris Ailleurs – VHS – Virgin
- 1993 : Daholympia – VHS – Virgin
- 1998 : Intégrale des Clips – VHS/DVD – Virgin
- 2001 : Daho Live – VHS/DVD – Virgin
- 2005 : Sortir Ce Soir – DVD – Capitol – Dvd de platine
- 2008 : An Evening with Daho – DVD – Capitol
- 2009 : Daho Pleyel Paris – DVD – Capitol
- 2015 : Etienne Daho KOKO Theater of London – Arte TV
- Frédérique Veysset, Daho dans tous ses états, Les Humanoïdes associés, 1989
- Eric Chemouny et Pierre Fageolle, Étienne Daho, Presses de la Cité, 2001
- David Sanson, Étienne Daho de A à Z, Express Prelude & Fugue, 2002
- Antoine Giacomoni, Daho par Giacomoni, The mirror sessions parties photographies, Horizons illimités, 2004
- Carole Vernier " Sensibilité et passion" Éd. Rouchon, 2006
- Aurélie Christa, " Du passé compliqué au présent simple", Éd. Thélès, 2007
- Benoît Cachin " Portraits et entretiens" Éd. Tournon, 2007
- Christophe Conte " Une histoire d'Etienne Daho" Éd. Flammarion/ Pop culture, 2008
- Benoît Cachin, Dahodisco, Éd. Gründ, 2013
- Alfred et David Chauvel, L'Homme Qui Chante, Éd. Delcourt 2015