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My most important breakthrough was, of course, my first solo LP, Love in C Minor.

It was an unexpected success – this was a record that was really meant for the clubs, therefore very distant from the radio format. I didn’t intend to make something that would reach a large audience; there was a nearly 17-minute-long track on the A-side, mostly instrumental, with only a few voices saying “love me”. And the drums were very loud in the mix, which was absolutely not the trend at the time. No surprise, no record company wanted to sign it. In short, they took me for a lunatic! So I decided to make 5,000 copies of the record through Island UK and tried to sell them here and there in various shops.

Then, a dealer in Paris sent, by mistake, a cardboard box of 300 copies of Love in C Minor to a US wholesaler. The wholesaler listened to the record, and he loved it. So he started playing it in a club in New York. From that point, the buzz spread very quickly and… well, the rest is history: three million copies sold, and my first Grammy Award!

"I didn't intend to make something that would reach a large audience"

The unexpected success taught me to be a professional. I had the opportunity to work with great producers and musicians – Jerry Hay, Toto, Nile Rodgers, Lene Lovich, to name a few – which greatly enriched my life and career. I thought that this success would only last a few months but I’ve been living my passion for almost 50 years now without giving myself any dictums or limitations, neither in life nor in music – and I’m thankful to all the successive generations who’ve arrived since the 70s, who’ve remixed and sampled my catalogue. It also taught me self confidence and belief. I feel that, whenever there’s an obstacle, the best way is not to avoid it nor let it stop you, but rather use it as a springboard to go higher, to go beyond. I think an artist should always be wary of asking themselves too many questions and instead inhabit a certain form of megalomania. Because any success begins with one bold and daring step. A little luck never hurts, too.

DNA is out now via Because Music