Francesco Barracato, better known under the name of Frédéric François, was born in Lercara Friddi, Sicily, on 30 June 1950. His family left Sicily two years later and moved to Liège in Belgium. His father, a miner, would sing the great Italian classics to the family on Sundays. In so doing, he passed his passion for music to Frédéric very early on.
Frédéric François joined his first group, called “Les Eperviers” [The Sparrow Hawks] at the age of 13. In 1965, he enrolled at the Liège conservatoire, where he studied violin, voice, musical notation, declamation and phonetics. In 1966, he won the “Microsillon d’argent” [Silver Microgroove Record] award (in a singing competition at the Festival of Châtelet, Belgium) accompanied by his second group, “Les Tigres Sauvages” [The Wild Tigers]. In 1969 he recorded his first disc under the name of Frédéric François. In 1970, he released his first record in France thanks to Lucien Morisse (Europe 1). In 1971, his first big hit "Je n'ai jamais aimé comme je t'aime" [I have never loved the way I love you], was number 1 on the charts for 13 weeks.
In 1972, he became the revelation of the year with "Je voudrais dormir près de toi" [I would like to sleep near you]. In a career spanning 32 years, he has had hit after hit in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada and in most French-speaking countries with: "Laisse-moi vivre ma vie" [Let me live my life], "Chicago", "Quand vient le soir, on se retrouve" [When evening comes, we get together], "Viens te perdre dans mes bras" [Come and lose yourself in my arms], "De Venise à Capri" [From Venice to Capri], "Dancing de mon coeur" [Dancehall of my heart], "Mon coeur te dit je t'aime" [My heart tells you that I love you], "On s'embrasse, on oublie tout” [Kiss and make up], "Une nuit ne suffit pas" [One night is not enough], "Je t'aime à l'italienne" [I love you, Italian style], L'amour s'en va, l'amour revient" [Love comes and goes], "Est-ce que tu es seule ce soir ?" [Are you lonesome tonight], "Tzigane" [Gipsy], "Fou d'elle" [Mad about her], "Les Italo-américains" [The Italian-Americans], "Je n' t'oublie pas" [I can’t forget you], and "L'Amour fou" [Crazy love]. No fewer than 45 “Gold” singles and 40 “Gold” albums. Ever since his first triumph at the Olympia in 1984, he has returned every other year without fail. The recorded videos of his last 3 shows at the Olympia were a phenomenal success (platinum video: “Olympia 94", "96", "98").
In 1995, Frédéric François recorded “the most beautiful Neapolitan songs” (O sole mio, Santa Lucia, Mamma, Funiculi Funicula,...), and went on to sell more than 250,000 albums. In 1996 he sang before the Pope, representing France during the gala evening at the Vatican. In 1998, a renewed triumph at the Olympia, followed by a tour until December, which attracted more than 300,000 spectators. In 1999, a record entitled “the greatest Italian melodies” was released (Come prima, Ciao ciao Bambina, Volare,...). In 2000, his book “Ma vie” [My Life] was published by Editions Hors Collection in which, with the collaboration of Serge Igor, Frédéric François speaks for the first time about thirty years of love and songs.
Frédéric François performed at the Olympia in March 2000, with more than 70 other shows in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. A Karaoke video (13 big hits) was released for the first time in December 2000. The DVD version followed in November 2001. A new album "Un slow pour s'aimer" [A slow for love] was released in November 2001 (14 previously unreleased tracks). More than 250,000 albums were also sold during more than 100 shows in France, Belgium and Switzerland from 1 February 2002 to 15 July 2003.
After the triumph of his last album “Un slow pour s’aimer" [A slow for love], Frédéric François reprised the most beautiful Christmas songs along with some unreleased material. The album "Frédéric François chante Noël" [Frédéric François sings Christmas] was released on 25 November 2002. The book “Olympia 2002” was published in 2003, along with 24 tracks in a digipack, in DVD and video.
In 2003, Frédéric François paid homage to Tino Rossi by covering 10 of his biggest hits including "Méditerranée", "Marinella", "Ave Maria", "Petit papa Noël". This album was entitled "Les romances de toujours" [Romance forever]. In 2004, a compilation entitled “Un été d’amour” [A summer of love] featured 19 of his biggest hits and 1 previously unreleased title, plus a DVD with 4 video clips and a photo reportage by way of bonus. On 8 November 2004 a digipack compilation entitled “30 chansons de légende” [30 Legendary Songs] was released (20 studio recordings and 10 live recordings from this biggest shows). Frédéric François has sold more than 35 million records to date.
On 19 April 2005, an album entitled "Et si l’on parlait d’amour" [And if we spoke of love] was released featuring 15 new songs, already a double gold record (200,000 copies sold). His book "Autobiographie d'un sicilien" [Autobiography of a Sicilian] came out in October 2005. In this moving book we discover for the first time a warm and gifted man, proud of his ideals, who fights each and every day to defend values that make life more generous. Frédéric François looks back on a career spanning 35 years, and pays homage to his mother and father to whom he owes everything: love, support, the Olympia, and his wife, of course, who inspired his most beautiful songs. For the year-end holiday of 2005 a compilation entitled "Bailamos, viens danser" [Bailamos, Let’s dance] was released. This CD features songs that trigger a desire to dance the tango, the bolero, etc… a Hispanic ambience that includes in particular: "Impressioname", "Volare", "Chiquita", "Tzigane",…
Frédéric François performed on the Olympia stage for the 11th time from 30 September to 9 October 2005, and went on tour in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Ile de la Réunion from 15 October 2005 to 15 December 2006. In February 2006, the “Live Album” recorded at the Olympia was released, with 19 tracks in a digipack and crystal edition as well as the DVD version. In February 2006, Frédéric François was awarded a Diamond DVD for his career appearances at the Olympia with more than 250,000 copies sold.
On 14 June 2006, a new compilation entitled “Mes préférences" [My preferences] was released. This album features stories from Frédéric François’s life, marvellous moments which he has cherished in the bottom of his heart, like “O sole mio” which he sang in front of his visibly moved father at the age of 10, via "Laisse-moi vivre ma vie" [Let me live my life], "Fou d'elle" [Mad about her], a song created especially for his latest little girl Victoria, "Mamina" and "Le strapontin de papa" [Dad’s folding chair], songs dedicated to his parents, but also "Petite lle" [Little Island], his very first recording.
On 13 November 2006, a CD was released featuring 20 mythical songs to relive the charm and nostalgia of the seventies. Frédéric François continued his tour in France and Switzerland as of February 2007. On 22 October 2007, a new album entitled “Merci la vie” [Thank you, Life] was released. This album has gone gold in Belgium and France. From 29 February to 9 March of 2008, Frédéric France was on the legendary stage of the Olympia again for 8 performances. He would go on tour in France, Belgium and Switzerland from 15 March to December 2008. On 30 October 2008, “Merci la vie” [Thank you, Life], the book, was published by the Editions du Rochier, running to 140 pages with more than 300 photos of the singer.
On 24 November 2008, “Tour 2008 – Frédéric François – de l’Olympia à Forest National” [2008 tour – Frédéric François – from the Olympia to Forest National], a live album was released, followed by the DVD version on 4 December 2008. In 2009, he embarked on a theatre tour in France, Belgium and Switzerland, as well as in La Réunion, Mauritius and Egypt (60 shows). Another tour of Egypt followed in 2010, with two shows at the Alexandria Opera and Cairo Opera. That same year, 2010, the “Chanteur d’amour” [Singer of love] was released, an album that went gold with more than 100,000 copies sold. In 2011, he was again at the Olympia in Paris for an “Anniversary Show” from 11 to 20 February, followed by a major tour from February to December 2011, and from March to December 2012 in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Ile de la Réunion and Mauritius. In 2011, a DVD entitled “Tour 2011/ Frédéric François Spectacle Anniversaire” [2011 tour/Frédéric François – Anniversary Show] was released, followed by the release of the Audio CD version. In 2012 he gave two exceptional concerts at the Olympia in Paris with Liane Foly and Roberto Alagna as his guests.
In 2013, at the Mons International Festival of Love Films, the Belgian Prime Minister, Elio di Rupo, awarded Frédéric François a “Crystal heart,” in recognition of his work where the key word has always been love. A new album entitled “Amor Latino” went gold immediately after being released on 21 October 2013.
This latter album is synonymous with a musical voyage, with a highly coloured musical palette, where Frédéric creates new sounds by blending Pop, Oriental, Electro, Bacciata, R ‘n B, or a suggested tango. It also afforded him an opportunity to work together with Luca Bignardi, an arranger of some of the biggest names in show business such as Lara Fabian, Andrea Bocelli, Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti.
In 2014, Frédéric François was back at the Olympia for an exceptional “Anniversary Show,” where he wanted to celebrate 30 years of concerts in the legendary Parisian venue more than ever before. Designed like an American show worthy of Broadway, the concert featured 10 musicians and choristers on stage, as many technicians, 5 giant screens, etc. Thanks to LED technology, his daughter Victoria and Roberto Alogna could appear on stage, as could the novelist Marc Levy to look back on 4 decades of hits. In December 2014, a compilation of Christmas songs and other universal titles was released entitled “La Magie du Noël” [The Magic of Christmas], which included the previously unreleased track "Avant Noël" [Before Christmas].
For Saint Valentine’s in 2015, a “best of” compilation of staple and more topical love songs was released. The live DVD of the 2014 show recorded at the Olympia came out in April 2015.
Olympia 2014 live DVD released at the end of 2105
“Les Femmes sont la lumière du monde’’ [Women are the Light of the World], Frédéric François’s new album, slated for release on 8 April 2016, reaffirms his place in the firmament of stars, with contemporary sounds, magnificent melodies and splendid lyrics.
All his favourite themes are broached: love, passion and above all, WOMEN.
In parallel, a biography entitled “C’est mon histoire” [This is My Story], will also be published in April 2016.
A tour in Belgium, France, Switzerland and the rest of the world is planned for 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, Frédéric François will be back at the Olympia for two exceptional evenings (on 8 and 9 April 2017), and he will also perform at the Forest National (Belgium) on Saturday, 29 April 2017.