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Artist Profile: Richard Clayderman

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Richard Clayderman

Richard Clayderman is one of the most prolific Easy Listening Artists alive today, an international sensation, proudly wearing the title of “Prince of Romance” bestowed on him, more or less, by former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Clayderman performs hundreds of concerts a year all over the world to sell-out crowds. His CD’s sell millions of copies. With his career well into its second decade, Clayderman shows no signs of slowing down or stopping.

Not His Real Name

You could say that “Richard Clayderman” was born in 1976, with the release of the recording of “Ballade pour Adeline”. Clayderman is the stage name of Phillipe Pagès.

Pagès, then 22 years old, must have known that he was about to embark on the ride of a lifetime. He says that his producers were concerned that his own name would be mispronounced outside France, and so he chose to perform using the maiden name of his Swedish great-grandmother.

Born in Paris

Phillipe was born December 28, 1953 (according to his official site, tho you also will find the year listed as 1954). His father taught piano and introduced Phillipe to the instrument at a very young age. He attended the Conservatoire in Paris, accepted there at the age of 12, and appeared destined for a career in classical music.

Leader of a Rock ’n Roll Band

Richard Clayderman

But this was the 60’s. Rock and roll caught Phillipe’s ear and at age 16, he decided that he wanted to do something different with his music. He and a few friends formed a rock group. Clayderman says those were lean years - the group really struggled. So, to augment his income, he worked as a studio musician and accompanist, supporting artists such as Johnny Halliday and Michel Sardou.

A Star is Born

Richard Clayderman

Phillipe enjoyed being on the fringes of the spotlight. His personality, described as quiet, calm, and reserved, collaborator, seemed well-suited for the supporting role and he has told interviewers that he didn’t really want to be a star.

But the music industry had other plans for this good-looking blond young man. Producers Olivier Toussaint and Paul de Senneville needed someone to record a song that de Senneville had written for his daughter.

Richard Clayderman

They auditioned a number of pianists and Phillipe, with his soft romantic style of playing got the job. “Ballade pour Adeline” launched Clayderman’s career, selling 22 million copies around the world. Clayderman told BBC interviewers in early 2005, he still likes playing the tune in concerts.

Family Man

And stardom and performing have grown on him. He now says that he enjoys the direct contact with an audience.

Richard Clayderman

Clayderman’s music takes him around the world, performing some 200 concerts a year, but he has strong ties to his family and to France. He returns home as often as possible, to wife Christine, daughter Maud and son Peter.

“Prince of Romance”

Richard Clayderman

As for the title, the “Prince of Romance” Clayderman says it was a comment that Nancy Reagan made after a performance at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York some years ago. She called him “a prince of romance”, reporters overheard and the rest is history.

But it is a title that Clayderman says is accurate, telling the BBC that, after all, his music is romantic and his personality is romantic, so it fits!

Still on the Road

Clayderman continues to tour the world, performing this year in China, Japan, Mexico and Europe. He has sold more than 70 million recordings, worldwide and has earned hundreds of gold and dozens of platinum records. But Clayderman is not one to rest on his laurels or his technique. He tells the BBC that he practices the piano every day and considers it a pleasure, never a chore.

Side Notes:

The best and probably most accurate information about Richard Clayderman, can be found on his official Website, www.clayderman.co.uk.

Richard Clayderman

It includes a lengthy biography, tour information and discography as well as three delightful pages of Frequently Asked Questions, answered by Clayderman, himself.

The site also includes links to other fan sites and to this site: www.acquis.com.au/rc.html where you can order a DVD copy of a documentary about Clayderman, his life and his career.

Other sites with good information include these for a basic biography:

And these sites, with a little something extra:

  • BBC.co.uk
    This includes a video clip of an interview with Clayderman
  • www.rfimisique.com
    This biography has much more detail than any of the others about Clayderman’s career and descriptions of his concert tours.