Nicolas Sarkozy’s singing lover, Carla Bruni, teams up with Mike Batt
( Times ) - After the whirlwind romance, Carla Bruni is to relaunch her pop career. But can the man behind Remember You're A Womble take France's new First Lady to the top of the charts?
President Sarkozy will be sharing house room at the Elysee Palace with the songwriter and producer Mike Batt, who has agreed to become Ms Bruni's muse.
The Italian-born supermodel has signed to Batt's record company, Dramatico, home to the singer-songwriter Katie Melua, who has sold seven million albums.
Bruni, 40, who was once linked to Sir Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, is recording six songs in Paris, which Batt will help to polish for the English-speaking market.
Batt found that Ms Bruni was typically outspoken at a dinner party before Nicolas Sarkozy was elected. "She was slagging him off," he said. "She said it would be terrible if he was elected. Carla tells it like she sees it at every level - but that was before she knew Nicolas."
Batt, 58, was responsible for a run of chart-toppping hits by The Wombles in 1974, and wrote the music and lyrics for the million-selling Art Garfunkel single Bright Eyes. He also paid ?110,000 in an out-of-court settlement in 2002 after being accused of plagiarising John Cage's 4'33", which consisted of four and a half minutes of silence. Batt insisted that his One Minute Silence was "eminently superior" to Cage's.
In 2001, Batt, a Tory voter who has since distanced himself from the party, composed a theme tune for William Hague's disastrous election campaign.
Heartlands came in two versions: classical and funky.
Bruni enjoyed huge success in 2002 with her first, autobiographical album, Quelqu'un m'a dit, a stylish account of past love affairs that sold two million copies. Her chanteuse style has been compared to those of Francoise Hardy and Jane Birkin.
Dramatico is to relaunch her acclaimed current album No Promises, in which Bruni created a sultry musical backdrop to poems by W.B. Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Dorothy Parker. It has so far sold in moderate numbers but will get a US-wide release after the considerable publicity that her new relationship has attracted.
Observers looking for clues to the affair in songs such as At Last the Secret is Out will be disappointed, since No Promises was recorded before the pair met. But the new material is expected to mark a return to her autobiographical approach.
Batt said: "It isn't Je T'Aime. Carla's music is in a different category to other models who have tried to make records. It is a very sincere record made by someone who enjoys making music."
Mr Sarkozy, 52, was first smitten by Bruni when she began strumming her guitar at a dinner party in a villa near Paris last November. Guests noticed that they left together.
The Italian heiress described poetry as a "shelter to protect us from life". No Promises features a harmonica-fuelled interpretation of W.B. Yeats's These Dancing Days are Gone, a take on W.H. Auden's Lady Weeping at the Crossroads and a version of Emily Dickinson's I Felt My Life with Both Hands. She said: "My songs are made of very simple and very deep emotions one can get from beautiful poetry."