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Disco Comes Alive with France Joli

France Joli

The iconic Disco Diva France Joli (“Come To Me”) makes two stops in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. The first stop is on Friday at The Parker Playhouse at 8pm, where she will be one of the Disco legends performing at “A Night at the Disco, Where The Stars Shine.” The other performers include Norma Jean Wright and Luci Martin, Ultra Nate, First Choice, Odyssey, Double Exposure, Sharon Brown, Alisha, and Cherril Rae. This night will be hosted by Brooklyn’s own Joe Causi and New York’s own DJ Johnny Iovino with special guest South Florida’s own Amanda Austin. France will then be performing on Sunday evening at 10pm at Hunters famous Disco T Dance.

On July 7, 1979, an unknown, 16-year-old French Canadian female vocalist named France Joli performed her new single “Come to Me” for the first time before a throng of 5,000 on Fire Island at a benefit now infamously known as Beach ’79.

Joli left the stage a star, becoming a media darling who appeared in all the popular publications and on all the hot TV shows of the day. “Come to Me” became a smash hit that sold three million copies globally, rose to number one on disco charts around the world, and reached number 15 on Billboard magazine’s pop chart.

43 years later France is still traveling al lover the world singing, and as she is about to come make two appearances in South Florida, I thought it appropriate to sit down with the icon for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

France Joli

How did singing begin for you or did you come out of the womb singing?

Singing started when I cried when I was born…LOL. The first time my grandmother (who was an opera singer) heard me cry she looked at my mom and said your daughter is going to be a singer. I think I started singing before I started talking. 

What was your first professional gig?

I think I was 10 years old, and it was a benefit. I think I got $50, and I thought it was a lot of money. It was at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

When did you know singing would be your career?

I was 4 when I think I knew. I recorded 4 songs at that age at RCA Victor studios as a gift for my aunt. I don’t remember a day in my life where singing wasn’t a part of it.

You performed at some iconic places and events including Studio 54, Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Saint and many more. How did that feel?

It felt surreal. I didn’t know what was happening to me. And I would tell my mom to pinch me as it was happening so fast. I didn’t know what to do with my emotions, it was overwhelming, and it was a dream come true. I was 16 years old and traveling the world. Being at Studio 54 for the first time was mind blowing. 

Speaking of traveling the world. Do you have a favorite city or venue?

My favorite venue is Radio City Music Hall as I remember doing a whole week there when I was opening for the commodores. My favorite city is New York, which is my second home. There is not another place like NYC!

In 2012 you produced and recorded a dance version of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah,” how did that come about?

When my father passed, I sang “Hallelujah” at his funeral and I don’t know where it came from, but I felt a light on me at the church, and I had a flash that I should do a dance version of the song. Shortly after that, I decided to produce it. I produced the song for me, and I didn’t worry whether it was going to be successful or not. I am so thankful it was!

Other than “Come to Me” do you have a favorite song?

If you mean one of mine, yes I do, its: “Gonna Get Over You,” is probably the closest song to me. R&B was always something I loved to do.

My favorite song right now is Sam Smiths Unholy, and one of my top all-time favorite songs is West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys. 

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Authentic, Lover, and Obsessive.

What do you do for fun?

I paint, I write music all the time in my head and in the studio. I golf in the summer and play with my beautiful puppy.

What should our readers expect from your performance at Hunters on Sunday Jan 22 and from your performance at “A Night At The Disco: Where The Stars Shine”?

To be in top shape vocally, some love and of course for me to sing my hit records and to be fully in the moment. In addition, I always have fun, and I will reminisce with the crowd.

Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you want to talk about?

Yes, I want your readers to know that one of the reasons I am still doing this after all these years is because of the fans and their loyalty. My fans are so very important to me. I wish I could take them all home with me. 

For more information on France, you can follow her fan page on Facebook.

To purchase tickets for “A Night at the Disco, Where The Stars Shine” go to Parkerplayhouse.com. To see France, perform at Hunters Nightclub, get there early as I am sure the club will be packed!

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