A First Lady No Longer, Carla Bruni Returns To Music

Carla Bruni's new album, her first since her husband, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, left office, is titled Little French Songs. i i

Carla Bruni's new album, her first since her husband, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, left office, is titled Little French Songs. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
Carla Bruni's new album, her first since her husband, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, left office, is titled Little French Songs.

Carla Bruni's new album, her first since her husband, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, left office, is titled Little French Songs.

Courtesy of the artist

Ella Fitzgerald was known as the First Lady of Song, but Carla Bruni is the singer-songwriter of first ladies.

The Italian-born, globe-trotting fashion model recorded an international hit in 2002, "Quelqu'un M'a Dit" (in English, "Someone Told Me"). In 2008, she married Nicolas Sarkozy, then president of France, and became literally a rock star first lady.

Now, with Sarkozy out of office, Bruni has released a new album, Little French Songs.

"It was a mix of circumstances," Bruni tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "I did wait until my husband was not the president of France anymore. But I also waited because I had a little girl, a baby girl, so I had really no choice. ... I did it piece by piece. I wrote the album, then I recorded the album in another time, then I released the album in another time — instead of doing it all at once like most songwriters do."

The new album features a love song called "Mon Raymond." Bruni says she wrote it for her husband, but chose an alias for two reasons: "Nicolas" was claimed decades ago by another French-speaking singer; and in any case, she wanted an easier name with which to rhyme.

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"[Raymond is] a round sound. Also, it's sort of an old-fashioned name. For us, in France, Raymond was more the people from the '40s, the '50s," she says. "I thought it was funny to use such a name to describe him — quite precisely, by the way."

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