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European pop diva Axelle Red was born Fabienne Demal on February 15, 1968. Demal grew up bilingual, speaking both French and Dutch from her earliest years. A fan of American pop and R&B, she developed a strong interest in singing as a child, beginning to perform in her early teen years. Demal was discovered by a talent scout at age 15, and was invited to record a single, entitled "Little Girls." The song became a national hit, turning Axelle Red into an instant star. Though she studied law and drama for a time, by 1988 she had turned her full attention to her musical career, having signed with the powerful multinational BMG. The song "Kennedy Boulevard," written by Axelle and her musically gifted brothers, became the singer's first gold record, followed shortly thereafter by "Aretha et Moi." In 1992 Axelle Red switched over to Virgin, with whom she produced her first full-length record, Sans Plus Attendre. Thanks to a string of radio hits, the R&B-inflected record would sell 500,000 copies, becoming Belgium's best-selling record of all time. Thanks to several important live appearances and a successful follow-up record, A Tatons, Axelle Red quickly rose to international stardom. Face A/Face B (2002) and French Soul (2004) paid homage to her longtime love affair with American soul and disco music, offering up opportunities to work with some of those genres' most prevalent names. Projects like her fifth studio record, Jardin Secret, found Axelle as engaged with political causes as musical pursuits. As a representative for UNICEF and an advocate of tolerance, in recent years the singer has wielded her considerable star power in support of humanitarian causes worldwide. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez