Bibie will have performed only one hit. And what a hit! Slowlyreleased in 1985, sold one million copies. However, nothing predestined the singer to make a career in France. Born in Ghana into a family of diplomats, Bibie lived in Germany, Great Britain, Lebanon, Senegal, according to the assignments of his father. This is what we learn in an article from the Figaro, published this Tuesday, July 12, in which the singer looks back on her journey, worthy of a film. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a singer“, she says. From the age of 14, she participated, without the knowledge of her parents, in a song contest organized by television in Ghana. She launched herself as a professional in 1972 and moved to London to back in her country, she became a recognized singer. In Lagos, Nigeria, she even became the protegee of the great Fela Kuti, the pope of Afrobeat. In Côte d’Ivoire, Alpha Blondy offered her to do the backing vocals on her album. The boss of her club in Abidjian considers her the new Aretha Franklin.
Bibie: a career in France for an English speaker
Then she falls in love with Guy Gluck, who will become her manager, and agrees to go with him to France. Once there, she inherits a composition by Jean-Paul Dréau, author for Michel Polnareff, who had Frenchified his name. He does not know what to do with it: it is in fact a question of Slowly. “I knew it by heart but I had difficulties with the text. I went back to Jean-Paul to record a demo. In two takes, the song was in the box“, recalls the singer who is not French-speaking. When the single came out, it was a huge success. Chris Blackwell, the producer of the huge Bob Marley and U2, wanted to collaborate with her. to count on the jealousy of Guy Gluck. Alcoholic, this one ends up harming the career of his companion: “I became more and more reserved as Guy became aggressive. He was afraid of losing me. I was too scared to confide in anyone, but I was going through real mental torture. Finally, I decided to leave it in 1990“.
Bibie: why she stopped singing for 10 years
With the money earned with Slowly, she buys a mansion in the Aisne. But when the property burns down three times, everything becomes very complicated: “Following this drama, I was unable to sing for 10 years“, says the singer who says to herself ” much calmer than before“. Back in Ghana, Bibie converted into vocal singing lessons, scenic coaching and vocal therapy: “I healed myself by healing others“. Fifteen years later, she was finally back on stage. Since then, she has regularly appeared on the tours of the stars of the 1980s. With some regrets all the same.”I like this. But I feel like my career hasn’t been what it could have been. Several African singers like Salif Keïta or Angélique Kidjo explained to me that I had opened doors for them. It’s a consolation. But I dream of one day being able to present a show just for me“.