A voice known to all French people. A tube that sold more than a million and a half copies in the early 2000s. A “Want to love” shared around the world. This Saturday, singer Daniel Lévi died at the age of 60, his wife announced. A death linked to colon cancer diagnosed in 2019 and which he had publicly mentioned wishing to publicize his fight against the disease.
On Instagram, his wife Sandrine had recently relayed a message indicating that her husband “needed prayers more than ever to heal. “. “Time is running out,” it read.
Born in Constantine, Algeria, in 1961, Daniel Lévi grew up in Lyon and quickly immersed himself in music. A passion which he wishes to make his profession, helped by a decade at the conservatory. He was only 22 when he recorded his first album, “Cocktail”, which went relatively unnoticed. Nothing to give up.
In addition to preparing other titles, he finds himself hosting evenings in Parisian palaces or on the beaches of the Côte d’Azur. He notably met Gloria Gaynor there, who offered him to do the first part of his tour in Europe. But also Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand, with whom he composed the soundtrack of “Parking”, in 1985. Or even Catherine Lara, who offered him a role in her musical “Sand and the Romantics”. The young Lévi then played Musset and Chopin on the stage of the Châtelet theater in Paris.
“Aladdin” offers him his first big success
His first great popular success, however, he owes it to Disney. In 1993, he recorded the French version of “Ce rêve bleu” alongside Karine Costa for the end credits of “Aladdin”. The mayonnaise takes. The disc is embedded for more than six months in the ranking of best sellers. Until settling on the podium, behind Bryan Adams and Ace of Base. A big success that allows him to get noticed, even if his following projects fail to repeat this feat.
“Aladdin” offers the singer recognition that he capitalizes on as much as possible. His second album, “Entre parenthèses”, released in 1996, did not work miracles. But allows him to perform in particular at the Bataclan.
At the dawn of the 2000s, the success of “Notre-Dame de Paris” having passed through there, Lionel Florence and Patrice Guirao, accompanied by Pascal Obispo and Elie Chouraqui, worked on a musical, called “The Ten Commandments “. And they are looking for a Moses, one of the main roles in this musical show. At the casting, Lévi presents himself with a cover of the famous “Hymne à l’amour” by Edith Piaf. The magic takes hold, Obispo and Chouraqui decide to entrust him with the score.
A phenomenon song
On June 7, 2000, the public discovered the first excerpt from this extraordinary show for the time. A ballad of more than five minutes, signed Lionel Florence, Patrice Guirao and Pascal Obispo. A song performed by Daniel Lévi. His title ? ” The desire to love “. A real phenomenon but which, surprisingly, never reached the first place of the top 50.
Because in this first summer of the millennium, France is dancing above all to “These evenings” by Yannick. But don’t neglect this “Desire to love”, haloed with a diamond disc for more than 1.2 million copies sold. Awarded the Victoire de la Musique for the original song of the year 2001. And even covered by Celine Dion in an English version on the album “A New Day Has Come”.
Just four months after the release of the record, while the whole of France sings “L’Envie d’aimer”, “Les Dix Commandements” settles in the Palais des Sports in Paris. The reviews are mixed, but the public adheres. Nearly two million spectators flock to discover Moses, Aaron, Bithia, Nefertari or Ramses, in Paris and in the provinces. The international public is also falling for this story, which will tour the world for seven years before being relaunched in 2016 in France and being performed in New York last May.
A surprise return in “Mask Singer”
If the musical propelled him alongside the greatest, Daniel Lévi nevertheless intends to detach himself from Moïse. In 2002, he signed with Universal and released a new album, “Here and Now”. But impossible for him to forget his character. To his great displeasure, the opus only meets with a success of esteem, far, very far, from that of the musical.
And, three years later, “Le coeur Ouvert”, fourth solo disc, produced in collaboration with Pascal Obispo, is no better. The interest of the public as of the media then decreases. And other artists take his place. He divorced in 2014 from Laure, the mother of his first three children: Abel, born in 1993, Raphaël in 1998 and Rivka in 2005. He married in October 2018 Sandrine Aboukrat, producer of shows met in Marseille four years earlier, with whom he will have a baby girl in the summer of 2022.
In November 2020, Daniel Lévi signs a surprise return. TF1 viewers discover him dressed up as a robot in the second edition of “Mask Singer”. He bows to Larusso, disguised as a penguin. But the interest is reborn. To the point that he released a new record, “Grace to you”, in early 2021. An album he wanted to accompany with a tour in France and Belgium, with the complicity of several members of the “Ten Commandments”. But a project finally stopped dead last spring, when the ex-Moïse announced that he had to undergo new treatments due to a relapse of his colon cancer. And that he will never have been able to carry out in the end.