A fixture of the French pop scene beginning in the mid-’80s, Calogero enjoyed success as a member of the trio Les Charts and as a composer-for-hire before finally mounting a solo career in 2000. Born Calogero Maurici in Grenoble on July 30, 1971, he studied the flute as a child, later mastering guitar, piano, and bass as well. With brother Giaocchino and childhood friend Francis Maggiulli, he co-founded Les Charts in 1986. A chance encounter with French pop legend France Gall proved instrumental in landing the fledgling trio an audition for producer Philippe Gaillard, who quickly agreed to helm their debut single, “Je M’envole.” With his long, curly hair, sensitive lyrics, and boyish vocals, Calogero – affectionately dubbed “Charlie” by fans – soon emerged as a teen heartthrob, and with 1991’s “Notre Monde à Nous” Les Charts became certified chart superstars. The trio nevertheless split in 1997, and Calogero spent the remainder of the decade writing material for other artists including Florent Pagny, Ismaël Lô, Hélène Ségara, and Patrick Fiori. In addition, he contributed songs to the stage musical Les Dix Commandements. He finally returned to performing via tours in support of Pascal Obispo and Zazie, and in 2000 issued his debut solo LP, Au Milieu des Autres.
With 2002’s Pierre Jaconelli-produced eponymous follow-up, Calogero returned to chart glory, reeling off a series of hits like “Aussi Libre Que Moi,” “Prendre Racine,” and “Tien an Men.” With 2003’s 3, he notched another round of hits including “Face à la Mer,” “Yalla,” and “Si Seulement Je Pouvais Lui Manquer,” additionally earning a Victoire de la Musique award as Best Male Artist. An extensive French tour yielded 2005’s Live 1.0. After an extended hiatus, Calogero returned in 2007 with a new studio LP, Pomme C. It was a big success, hitting number two on the French charts, and the follow-up, 2009’s L’Embellie, went one better, going to number one. A Best Of album featuring orchestral versions of his biggest hits followed in 2010 and another live disc, En Concert, in 2011. Then, the following year, he formed the supergroup Circus, with Stanislas (who had played with Calogero’s brother Giaocchino in Pure Orchestra), Philippe Uminski, Elsa Fourlon, and Karen Brunon. The band’s slightly punky, slightly retro vision of indie rock attracted much attention and its eponymous debut album was released November of 2012. Calogero’s next major project was writing and directing all the music for Florent Pagny’s Vieillir Avec Toi, which hit number one and became one of the biggest French albums of 2013. The following year, he issued an album of his own that became nearly as big. Les Feux d’Artifice, released in August 2014, peaked at number one in France and Belgium, and was his biggest-selling album since 3 in 2003. In 2017, Calogero returned with his seventh, studio album, Liberte Cherie, featuring the singles “Je Joue De La Musique,” and “On Se Sait Par Cœur.” It debuted at number one in France. by Jason Ankeny