France best selling albums ever: Chambre 12 by Louane (2015)
Until the early 90s, it wasn’t the norm to debut big. During the last 20 years it has become more and more frequent. Starting as incredibly well as Louane did is still a feat as rare as it isremarkable.
Born in November 1996, she came into the spotlight at barely 16 when in early 2013 she participated in The Voice season 2. TF1‘s highly popular TV show. Reaching the last 8 candidates, she failed to make the final.
Obviously, such an exposure helps but doesn’t guarantee success. Indeed, the winner of that season, Yoann Fréget, failed to even have a Top 100 single. His debut – and only, possibly last – album debuted at #21 before leaving the Top 100 a mere four weeks later. What could Louane realistically expect then?
The immediate impact for her not winning the contest was the absence of a contract to record an album. Instead, she was selected to act in a movie called La Famille Bélier in 2014. A massive success in theaters – the #2 film of the year with nearly 7,5 million viewers – Louane received several award nominations and even some wins, including a César, the French equivalent to the Oscars. Her popularity was soon extremely high. The difficult times she faced in her personal life, losing both her parents within a year, increased even more the sympathy the French public had for the talented teen.
Getting an opportunity to record an album after that movie gave her a chance of success. One she took. After a first unnoticed single Jour 1, which initially peaked at #110, the cover of Michel Sardou classic Je Vole, sung by Louane for the movie Soundtrack, reached #2 in January 2015.
Nothing was safe as far as her own original material was concerned, though. Her debut single Avenir entered into the singles chart through the back door, starting at #126 in that same January 2015 month. By its fourth week, it made the Top 50 at #43, two more weeks passed and the hit was already at #10. Three more weeks later Avenir topped the French single chart, dislodging the monster smash Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
In the same week, the album titled Chambre 12 debuted at #1 providing the singer a chart double. Hardly anticipated a couple of months before, the increasing airplay of Avenir, and the growing hype, shot the LP to 60,370 first week sales. Remaining then at #2 for three weeks due to the annual charity album of Les Enfoirés, Louane took over the throne again in April.
The buzz reached such heights that former #110 single Jour 1, went on to peak at #6 during its 37th charting week. At some point in May 2015, all three songs Je Vole, Jour 1 and Avenir were comfortably sitting inside the Top 20. In spite of competition from Les Enfoirés, later continued with Francis Cabrel‘s new album topping the charts for 5 weeks, Chambre 12 never left the very top positions, going back to #1 frequently.