Art Mengo In-depth Biography
Toulouse, France, singer/songwriter Michel Armengot, aka Art Mengo, specializes in love songs. His soft, gentle, somewhat wounded voice perfectly suits the subject matter, and his music has evolved from a radio-friendly soft pop sound to a more intricate blend of pop, intimate jazzy orchestrations, and mellow grooves. Though he has never stopped working since the beginning of his career in 1989, he has sometimes avoided the limelight, often working for such other artists as Johnny Hallyday, Ute Lemper, Henri Salvador, Clarika, Juliette Gréco, Jane Birkin, Florent Pagny, and Enrico Macias. Mengo was born in 1962 in Toulouse; his family was originally from Spain and had fled the country during the Franco dictatorship. Afflicted as a child by a 70 percent hearing deficiency, he was cured via surgery in his teenage years and immediately discovered a whole new sonic world. Although later focusing on his college studies, he recorded a few tracks with the help of his stepbrother Patrice Guirao as lyricist, and was signed to a record label for the release of his first single, "Les Parfums de Sa Vie (Je l'Ai Tant Simée)."
Released in 1990, Un 15 Aout en Fevrier was rewarded with a Victoire de la Musique Award for Best Emerging Male Artist in 1991 and his second record, 1992's Guerre d'Amour, attracted enough praise and interest in the recording business to allow Mengo to write material for Johnny Hallyday (the song "Ça Ne Change Pas un Homme") and Ute Lemper (the entire Parler d'Amour LP). Released in 1995, La Mer N'Existe Pas saw Mengo explore sadder and more intimate subjects, making it his most personal work to date. Gaining confidence on-stage, he toured for a few months, leading to the 1997 release of Live au Mandala, considered to be a live best-of record. After 1998's release of the Croire Qu'un Jour LP, Mengo spent five years writing material for other artists and composing for his 2003 comeback album, La Vie de Château. The product of a newfound collaboration with lyricist Marc Estève, La Vie de Château displayed growing songwriting skills and craftsmanship. Art Mengo has since entered a new stage in his career, as demonstrated by the 2006 release of Entre Mes Guillemets, an album that reveals the artist navigating his customary gentle seas of carefully crafted compositions, while also for the first time featuring lyrics written by Mengo himself. ~ Olivier Duboc, Rovi