It is obvious that Olivier Toussaint is a very busy man, better say he is a very busy business-man. Never ask him his job, he would be trouble to give you an answer straight away. As a matter of fact, he is at the same time a record producer, a composer, a singer, an arranger, a globe-trotter (have a look at his passport!) and he also takes care of several artists and companies management.
A family of musicians
His great-grand father, Gilbert Duprez, was a very well known Opera singer under the 2nd Empire. His Father’s parents met at the Opera : they were both singers. “My mother is an excellent pianist” says Olivier Toussaint, “She performed in big orchestras. As you can see, since I was a kid, classical music has always been part of my life: many artists used to come to my parents to play piano, violin and cello for hours. Anyhow, this classical music background didn’t really fit to my expectations, I was much more carried away by Jazz, easy listening orchestras, American and British groups such as The Platters or The Shadows, solo singers such as Paul Anka and of course in 1963 I fell in love with The Beatles…”
Olivier’s mother wanted him to go to University. He successfully graduated in Sociology and Economic Science. But degrees didn’t prevent him to take part as lead-singer in several groups which he set up himself.
By chance, he met with Paul de Senneville with whom he started a partnership in 1968. “At that time Paul de Senneville was managing Michel Polnareff’s career… I was virtually nothing.”
“We started to write songs together and rapidly our song-writing team got well known: our titles were recorded by major French singers such as Michel Polnareff, Mireille Matthieu, Michèle Torr, Christophe, Hervé Vilard, Dalida, Petula Clark and Claude Francois. All in all, the partnership Paul de Senneville / Olivier Toussaint as songwriters and producers totalizes around 100 million records sold internationally.
Pretty soon they also got involved in Production business: they started up the group “Pop Concerto Orchestra” with Olivier Toussaint as lead singer. Following this, they launched a second Rock ‘n’ Roll group “Anarchic System.” Over a period of 5 years both groups sold several millions of records. 1975 is the major breakthrough for Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint with the triumph of “Dolannes Melody” which launched the trumpet player Jean-Claude Borelly.
A year later they discovered Richard Clayderman an established him as the top French record seller world-wide: more than 75 million
Olivier Toussaint is fascinated by foreign cultures and languages: during his numerous trips abroad his favourite “hobby” is to pick up as many words as possible, this way, he is now very fluent in several European languages. “I’d rather sing in Italian or English than in French”, says he.
Since 1978, Olivier Toussaint found it essential to break his artists abroad: obviously he was the right man to handle the situation. Today, 30 people work in Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint’s company – Delphine Records. They have 4 recording studios in the “hotel particulier” they own close to the Champs Elysées.
A come back?
In 1983 with the title “Eden is a magic world”, Olivier Toussaint got No.1 in the charts in France, Switzerland and Belgium. “I’ve worked so much for my artists that I’ve completely forgotten to take care of my career. Right now what I need is a brilliant manager!” says Olivier Toussaint with a smile. “Actually, singing is what I like most.”
Paul de Senneville
Paul de Senneville began his career as a journalist working for big French newspapers such as “France Soir” and “Paris-Presse”, then he became a TV program producer. As director of a record company, Disc AZ, he started working with his passion: music.
Success came very quickly and in 1976, Paul de Senneville set up his own record company, Delphine Productions (named after Paul’s first daughter, Delphine), with Olivier Toussaint.
Delphine in one of the leading French music exporters to the world market. It is also the only company specialising in instrumental music. Nowadays, the Delphine group represent 15 companies dealing with various activities: an advertising film and clip production company, an agency for advertising and casting actors and a casting agency as well as two modelling agencies.
Paul de Senneville is a very famous French composer and has worked with the top French artists such as Mireille Mathieu, Michel Polnareff, Dalida, Claude François… He composed Richard Clayderman’s first success: “Ballade pour Adeline” (named after Paul’s second daughter, Adeline). Since then, by playing Paul’s music, Richard Clayderman has become the French artist with the highest record sales in the world. Actually, more than 100 million albums have been sold in 57 different countries, representing 290 Gold records and 90 Platinums.
Besides music, Paul’s hobbies are horse racing and collecting modern paintings.
Gérard Salesses was born in Toulouse, in the South of France. His passion for piano made him become, at a very young age, an accompanist for various French singers (Sylvie Vartan is the most well-known). Gérard Salesses quickly turned from accompanist to arranger. He started collaborating with Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in 1975. Gérard has arranged hundreds of recordings for Richard Clayderman including: Someone Like You, Do You Know (Where You’re Going To), Super Trouper, L’Océan and Cavalleria Rusticana.
Bruno Ribera is probably among the 3 best French saxophone players, and is also an arranger. Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint requires his talent for various recordings. Arrangement for Richard Clayderman include: Six Ribbons, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Richard Clayderman’s 1998 recording: ‘Zodiacal Symphony’.
Jean Baudlot is above all a guitarist. He became A&R director of a record company in 1974. He joined Delphine Productions in 1979 as A&R director and collaborates with Paul de Senneville on several compositions for Richard Clayderman. In 1995 he set up his own recording studio and specialises in producing jingles for TV and radio commercials.