After her first international album, she has mainly released albums in Europe and Asia only where she has produced several hit singles over the years. To date, Anggun has released 12 studio albums (5 in Indonesian and English, 4 in French) as well as 2 compilation albums and one soundtrack album.
1974-1994: Early life and success in Indonesia
Anggun was born in Jakarta, Indonesia as the second child and first daughter of Darto Singo, an Indonesian songwriter. She was raised in Yogyakarta, a Javanese capital and cultural center. Her father trained Anggun in singing since age 7 with high discipline. She was trained various vocal techniques on a daily basis. To further develop her career, her mother began serving as her manager, accepting singing offers and handling her business. Later on at the age of 9, she recorded a children.
In her teens, Anggun was influenced by native Javanese artists as well as by rock & roll singers and bands such as Elvis Presley, Metallica and The Police. In 1986, with Ian Antono, an Indonesian famous producer, Anggun released her first official album titled Dunia Aku Punya which began her success homeland. Anggun's fame reached its peak with the release of subsequent singles, "Mimpi" and most notably "Tua Tua Keladi" (the latter gave her "The Most Popular Indonesian Artist 1990-1991" award). These singles were massively popular in Indonesia. Following the success of these singles, Anggun returned to release follow-up albums; Anak Putih Abu Abu in 1991 and then Nocturno in 1992. Both albums achieved great success and moreover established her as one of Indonesia's "Lady Rockers".
In 1992, Anggun began a relationship with Michel Georgea, a French man, whom she had met the year before in Kalimantan while touring. The couple decided to marry, despite their age gap and a rumored objection by Anggun's family, reportedly because they felt Anggun was too young to get married. After the marriage, however, she founded a record company, Bali Cipta Record, (making her the youngest Indonesian singer to do so) and released what would be her final Indonesian studio album, Anggun C. Sasmi... Lah!!! in 1993. She attempted to shed her tomboy image with the video for the album's first single, "Kembalilah Kasih (Kita Harus Bicara)". Meanwhile, it became the first music video by Indonesian artist to appear in MTV Asia, Hong Kong. The album was another smash hit for Anggun but she began to feel unsatisfied with her success in her country and started thinking about having an international music career. Previously in 1992, Anggun signed a deal with a renowned Japanese recording company in Singapore, Pony Canyon, to record an English album which would be released in Asia. But later the project was canceled, as Anggun wanted to bring her talent to the West.
Finally, in 1994 after the release of a compilation album containing all her Indonesian hits entitled Yang Hilang, she sold her record company to fund her move to Europe.
1995-1996: Tough beginnings in Europe
Having given up all of her success in Indonesia, Anggun and her husband moved to UK. The couple settled in London for around a year. In a 2006 interview with an Indonesian music magazine, Trax, Anggun admitted to experiencing "culture shock" and having some serious financial problems facing a new life in Europe, saying "I thought the money that I got by selling my record company was enough [to sustain life in UK], but I began to lose my money, little by little. I had to spend so much money on taking cabs and eating! So I ended up taking buses everywhere and going to clubs to introduce myself as a singer." She also admitted that she had to be a "fake" Javanese that she "had to convert from being this shy, introvert, 'real' Javanese woman to being an unabashed, fearless, "fake" Javanese woman."
She began writing songs and recording demos, but after a few months, all the demos she had sent to record companies around UK came with negative replies. She eventually realized that her career in the UK was going nowhere and began thinking about moving to another country. She thought about moving to the Netherlands, thinking that it would be easier to start her international career there since there is a lot of Indonesians in the country. But she changed her mind and went to France instead, and this time she wouldn't leave. She recalls, "The moment I stepped my feet in Paris, I felt like home right away. So I decided to stay."
Two years after leaving Indonesia, in 1996 finally Anggun's international career saw the light of the day. She was introduced to famed French singer, Florent Pagny through an acquaintance. Pagny later introduced Anggun to producer/songwriter Erick Benzi (who previously had worked with Celine Dion, Jean-Jacques Goldman and Johnny Hallyday, among others). Impressed by her talent, Benzi immediately offered Anggun a record deal and on the same year, Anggun was signed to Sony Music and Columbia France. After a brief French course at Alliance française, Anggun began work on her debut album with Benzi as well as a handful of musicians and songwriters, including Jacques Veneruso, Gildas Arzel and Nikki Matheson.
In June 1997, Anggun released her first French album entitled Au Nom de la Lune. Although the majority of the album was in French, it also had minor Indonesian lyrical insertions (written by Anggun herself) on several songs as well as English. Most notably, the album was also a huge artistic departure to Anggun's trademark "lady rocker" image she had previously been famous for during her years in Indonesia. Instead, the album experimented more with world music and adult contemporary sounds. It has been said that Benzi suggested Anggun to "change" her image but Anggun has said that she too felt it was the time for her to "become a woman", as she was in her early 20s at that time and feeling that she needed to be "feminine". The international success of Anggun began when the first single of the album, "La neige au Sahara" quickly became a top hit in France and Belgium. It became the most played single in France of 1997 .
In late 1997, Anggun released her debut international album, Snow on the Sahara. The album was released in Europe and Asia in over 33 countries worldwide, which is a re-recorded, English version of Au nom de la Lune and contains a cover version of David Bowie's hit "Life on Mars?". In several countries, the album was released under the title Anggun.
The first single of the album, "Snow on the Sahara" immediately became a successful hit in Asia and Europe, and reaching Top 40 in most countries across the continents. It became a number-one hit in Italy, Spain and several countries across Asia, being the biggest worldwide hit of Anggun to date. It also became a Top 5 Club Hit in the UK. Coincidentally, the follow-up single, "A Rose in the Wind" failed to gain the same success, despite charting in Italy at number 17. However, its Indonesian version, "Kembali", became a big hit and has become one of Anggun's most popular hits in the region.
In 1998, Anggun attempted to break into the North American market. Snow on the Sahara was released by Epic Records in May 1998 in the United States with a slightly altered tracklisting. She went on an extensive tour for nine months in the States to promote the album.
Anggun's appearances in the US began when she performed on a popular daytime talkshow, The Rosie O'Donnell Show as well as becoming a supporting act for The Corrs and Toni Braxton's concerts. In August 1998, she performed on the New York "Sessions at West 54th" and interviewed by David Byrne. She was also the first Asian singer to be interviewed exclusively on CNN International by Riz Khan in the World Beat program. Moreover, she was invited by Sarah McLachlan to join Lilith Fair. Anggun has been also given a huge media coverage on Rolling Stones and Billboard.
By all these publicity, three of Anggun's songs entered the Billboard Chart and became the first Asian female artist to enter the US chart. "Snow on the Sahara" became a modest dance and adult contemporary hits and made it into second position after Céline Dion in a Billboard journalist's favourite singles of '98. Anggun also made it onto the playlist of an Afro-American radio station in Texas, sandwiched between Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston.Nevertheless, Snow on the Sahara was not a commercial success album in the US. The album reached #23 on Billboard Heat Seekers Charts and only sold approximately 92,000 copies in the US. However, it still remains the highest selling albums by Asian artists on the market.
Snow on the Sahara has received international success by having sold over than 1 million copies worldwide and it has also been certified a Diamond Export Sales award. It became the highest selling album by an Asian artist outside Asia (a record that Anggun still holds until today).
During this time, Anggun also participated in numerous collaborations. In 1997, she contributed vocals on a duet with Gildas Arzel, "C'est le debut" (the French version of Donna Lewis and Richard Marx's collaboration on "At The Beginning") for the soundtrack of an animated feature movie, "Anastasia" as well as the song "Ton amour ocean" for the "Gloups, je suis un poisson!" soundtrack. She also participated on 3 charity albums, including Ensemble contre le Sida in 1998, Les enfoires and Les Restos du coeur (both in 1999).
In 1998, Anggun also made history for being the first Asian artist to be nominated for the Victoires de la musique (a Grammy Award equivalent in the French music scene). She received a nomination for La revelation de l'année award (Revelation of the Year/Best New Artist). Although she was highly tipped for the award, she eventually lost it to Lara Fabian.
2003-2006: Luminescence and Best-Of
Anggun's work with Columbia ended in 2003. She later moved to Montreal, Canada where she met her second husband, Olivier Maury. In 2004, Anggun and Maury got married in a private ceremony in Bali (Her second marriage ended again in 2006). Maury (a law school graduate himself) later became Anggun's manager. The two began searching for a new label. In 2004, upon returning to Paris, Anggun landed a new record deal with Heben Music, an independent label under Sony BMG France and Universal Music International. She began working on a new album with several producers, including Jean-Pierre Taieb and Frederic Jaffre as well as her Open Heart producer, Niels Brinck. Anggun, who composes mainly in English, enlisted the help from several well-known French songwriters, such as Jean Fauque, Lionel Florence, Tété and Evelyn Kral to adapt her English songs into French. French rap diva, Diam's, was also included.
In late 2004, Anggun released her first solo French single in nearly 4 years, "Être une femme". The single was available in 2 versions: one was the solo version (for commercial release) and the other was a duet with Diam's (for radio release). In 2005, it became Anggun's second Top 20 hit in France, peaking at number 16 on the French Singles Chart. It also became Anggun's first French single to chart on the Switzerland Singles Chart (at number 58).
In February 2005, Anggun released her third French album, Luminescence, and debuted at number 30 on French Albums Chart. Surprisingly, the album peaked at the highest point of the chart. The second single, "Cesse la pluie" also became a hit, peaking at number 22 in France and number 65 in Switzerland.
In August 2005, Anggun toured Europe and Asia by released the English version of the album. Both versions (French and English) shared the same title, which is different from her previous efforts. "Undress Me" was chosen as the first single from the English version. Despite it wasn't accompanied with a music video, it managed to reach number 13 in Italy and number 6 in Indonesia. It also provided Anggun with her first hit in the Middle East (where the song topped the charts in Lebanon and United Arab Emirates) and in Turkey. "In Your Mind" was released as the second single and it was a huge hit in Indonesia, peaking at number one for a month in Indonesian Airplays Chart, her longest stay at the spot. The third single, "Saviour", also became another number one hit for Anggun in her homeland and a substantial hit in Italy, Greece and Russia. The song was also used as the soundtrack for the American Box Office movie, The Transporter 2.
In 25 May 2006, Anggun held her biggest concert in Indonesia entitled "Konser Untuk Negeri". In August 2006, she released the special edition of Luminescence, both for the French and the English versions. The first single (the third in French and the fourth in English) off the new version was "Juste avant toi" and its English version "I'll Be Alright". The video featured some footage taken from Anggun's commercial and critical-acclaimed concert in Jakarta. It was shot in Jakarta and Bali, Anggun's second video to be shot in Indonesia since her international career (after Snow on the Sahara). "Juste avant toi" became Anggun's fourth Top 40 hit, peaking at number 28 in France. It became a summer hit in France and peaked at number 4 on the French International Airplays Chart (a chart compiling the most-played French songs outside France). Meanwhile, "I'll Be Alright" became Anggun's seventh number one hit in Indonesia.
She also made an appearance on Star Academy (an American Idol-alike show in France) to promote the release of the album. The next day, Anggun made the highest jump on the French Albums Chart from number 119 to number 16 (a total 103 levels) with Luminescence Special Edition.
In December 2006, Anggun released her Best-Of album in Indonesia. The album compiled all her international hits (including three re-worked versions of her old Indonesian hits). New version of "Mimpi" was released as a radio single and became a huge hit in Indonesia in late 2006 to early 2007. It again peaked at number one on the Indonesian Airplays Chart, Anggun's eighth single to top the chart since her international career, and her longest one (along with "In Your Mind") for one full month. The album certified Double Platinum for a month sale in Indonesia. In the same month Anggun received a special award, "Best International Artist", at Anugerah Musik Indonesia (a Grammy Award equivalent in Indonesia) for her international fame and her success in raise up Asian and Indonesian music industry worldwide.
Within the same period, the final single from Luminescence entitled "Garde-moi"/"A Crime" (the original French version was a duet with David Hallyday - who also composed the song), was released. It was Anggun's least successful single of the album, although it reached number 5 in Indonesia.
Anggun released Best-Of in Italy (with different track-listing than the Indonesian version) with "I'll Be Alright" as its lead single. She also released a single entitled "Tonight" (a collaboration with a German band, Reamonn) and a charity single with several female French stars, titled "Pour que tu sois libre".
In September 2007, Anggun involved in a documentary film entitled Un jour sur terre (Earth). She became the documentary narrator and released the soundtrack single "Un jour sur terre". She has been also appointed as "Marraine de l'environnement" (ambassador of Micro-environment) and awarded "Le Grand Couer de l'annee" from Filles TV, France for her contribution in some social and environmental events. In December 2007, she received again invitation from Vatican to perform on the Christmas concert in Verona, Italy along with Michael Bolton. She performed her hit "Snow on the Sahara" on the concert at the Philharmonic Theater of the Arena.
Anggun gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Kirana on November 8, 2007 in Paris, by her relationship with French writer, Cyril Montana.
In late 2008, Anggun released her fourth international studio album, Elevation. It was her second album to share the same title both in English and French. Differ with her previous albums, Elevation experimented Urban music and Hip hop as well as R&B. The album was produced by hip hop producer pair Tefa and Masta. The album also featured several rappers, include Pras Michel (The Fugees), Sinik, and Big Ali. Anggun moved from major label Sony BMG to Warner Music. However, Sony BMG still holds the right for Asian market.
The French version album was released in France on October 20, 2008. The album debuted at number 36 on the French Albums Chart, giving her the second highest debut on the chart. The album spawned first single "Si tu l'avoues" which has been chosen as "Song of the Year" by Radio France International. In Indonesia, Elevation was released on December 2008, with three additional songs recorded in Indonesian along with English songs. The first single released for Indonesia and Malaysia was "Jadi Milikmu". Her appearances in Indonesia in late January have also boosted up sales giving the album a certification of Double Platinum two months after the release date.
On November 9, 2008 she performed at the World Music Awards with Laurent Wolf. She lent vocals to Wolf's dance hit, "No Stress". Anggun's version of "No Stress" is available as a bonus track on the Indonesian edition of Elevation. After great responses towards the performance, Wolf has also added Anggun's version onto the Deluxe Edition of his hit record Wash My World.
The rest of Europe and some other Asian countries have not yet received the album but some promotions will take place for releases in 2009. In Indonesian Magazine "Femina" Anggun has said that the album would also be released in Australia. Release for the American market is yet to be confirmed and in recent interviews she has reported that there are some possibilities depending on the album's success throughout the year of 2009.
On 16 October 2009, Anggun was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Anggun co-write and contributed vocals to two tracks ("Blind" and "Always You" - the latter track which also appears as a reprise) on the album Atemlos by Schiller, released in Germany on March 12, 2010
* 1986: Dunia Aku Punya
* 1990: Mimpi
* 1990: Tua Tua Keladi
* 1990: Takut
* 1991: Anak Putih Abu Abu
* 1992: Nocturno
* 1993: Anggun C. Sasmi... Lah!!!
* 1994: Yang Hilang
* 1997: Au Nom de la Lune
* 2000: Désirs Contraires
* 2005: Luminescence
* 2006: Luminescence Edition Speciale
* 2008: Elévation
* 1998: Snow on the Sahara
* 1999: Anggun
* 2000: Chrysalis
* 2002: Open Hearts
* 2005: Luminescence
* 2006: Luminescence Special Edition
* 2006: Best Of
* 2008: Elevation
Best Of The Best Hits of Anggun
- Bayang-Bayang Ilusi
- Yang Kutunggu
- In Your Mind
- Tua-Tua Keladi
- Still Remind Me
- Kembalilah Kasih (Kita harus Bicara)
- Snow on The Sahara