FRANCE – Amina Annabi was born into a family of musicians. Her father is French and her mother is Tunisian. Her grandmother was a musician and one of her uncles was involved in setting up the Tabarka Festival in Tunisia, so Amina got the chance to see a number of music stars, going along to concerts by Joan Baez, James Brown and the famous Algerian diva Warda. It was at the Tabarka music festival that Amina would get to meet the young Senegalese star Wasis Diop. They became friends and they had the opportunity to work together some years later. In 1975, Amina and her mother, a talented musician and composer, moved together to Paris.
Three years later Amina formed her own group, after showing her talent in singing and dancing a variety of music styles, from soul to traditional Egyptian songs. The group made appearances in many local schools but it was in 1982 when Amina started to build her solo career. By that time she got involved with Radio Nova, Paris’ leading radio station in world music. One of the producers of the station was Martin Meissonnier. He started to work with Amina and soon they became a couple—their daughter was born in 1986. In 1983 she won a music contest with a rap song, “Shehérazade“, influenced by Arab rhythms. It was released as a CD single. Amina began performing in Paris around this time.
In 1991, Amina won ‘Le prix Piaf‘ as Best Female Singer of the Year, then she went on to get involved in Peter Gabriel’s peace project during the Gulf War. Joining a host of international stars in the studio, Amina took part in the recording of an EP which featured a new version of Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”. The same year she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Rome with one song of her own, entitled Le Dernier qui a parlé…. She tied with the Swedish participant for the first place but due to EBU’s rules, the French entry ranked 2nd and the award went to Sweden.
She read the French jury’s votes during the final of Melodifestivalen 2010.
Right after the Eurovision Contest, Amina recorded her second album, Wa di yé (Love is Unique) and she toured around France to promote it. In 1993 Amina got to play the lead female role opposite Spanish star Miguel Bosé in La Nuit sacrée. Later that year she got involved with an English film entitled The Hour of the Pig. Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky chose Amina to play in his film Ulysse, which was broadcast on US networks.
In 1994 Malcolm McLaren asked Amina to guest on his album, Paris, along with Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Hardy. After that Amina took a long break travelling to her homeland and she was back in 1999 with new albums and concerts around the globe.