Insane success then planetary scandal of a duo which does not sing on its disc: Fab Morvan survived the Milli Vanilli, never let go of the music and tells his crazy story, soon in biopic and book.
“Ah yes, those who do not sing!”: This is what we hear when we mention the pair on the cover of the album “Girl you know it’s true” sold by the millions, awarded a Grammy in 1990. Trophy returned once the deception unmasked. Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan were just the faces and bodies – on posters, videos, tv shows and stages – piloted by producers to embody the voices of other singers posed on the tapes.
But to put an end to the suspense, Fab (Rob died in 1998) sings very well, in a pretty voice, as he proves on the AFP video, singing the chorus of “Three little birds” a capella Bob style Marley, one of his idols.
Rewinding. The day we give them the Grammy, “it was as if I had boiled a pot, I take it, it was ready to explode, because we had not sang on the thing … We had to make sure you don’t show anything, ”Fab remembers. A few months later, the two handsome dreadlocked kids, in their twenties, will end up paying the price for their “naivety”.
Fab describes the classic “trap”: “we were inexperienced, the producers had the industry behind them, they put us to sleep, like the snake-charmer, we said to ourselves if we don’t do what they tell us, we will not be able to work in music ”.
Fab and Rob are spotted by Frank Farian, producer of Boney M, as they gravitate to the music scene in Munich (where Rob resides, Fab is from Paris, they meet because they frequent the same circles and hit on the same girls) .
Fab unfolds the film: this contract signed “without a lawyer or a manager, the old-fashioned way (laughs)”, the pecuniary advance which dazzles them then the machine which races with these concerts in 107 American cities in front of huge crowds after the Grammy. Among the amused memories, a visit to Michael Jackson who shows them his goldfish named … “Milli” and “Vanilli”.
But there is this “increasingly heavy secret to bear”. When the backdrop is revealed, they are thrown to the press. “The punch (he mimics a punch), we took it right in the head, we ate for everyone. Rob didn’t see it coming, people say he died of an overdose, but he died of a broken heart when the fan support was gone, “says Fab, without denying the excesses of life” rock ‘n’roll’ of his ex-accomplice.
He did not sink. The lifestyle of this fifty-year-old with Martinican roots is obvious: he seems twenty years younger. And Fab clung to his “goal, to become a singer-songwriter, even a producer”. “I never gave up, that’s why I’m still here”. DJ sets, shows, records, follow one another, with varying degrees of success.
What changes today is the look of the American press. If “the end of the band was the end of playback and digital manipulation, and that served to raise our standards, it would be easier for us to justify how we humiliated them,” admits in an NBCNews online article, who demands an apology from the music industry from the surviving member.
For Fab, doors are opening, projects are emerging, whether musical or biographical. “A film biopic by Brett Ratner (the ‘Rush Hour’ franchise, among others), a documentary in negotiation, a TV series and a book too,” he announced. And to conclude, appeased: “over time people are starting to understand how the music industry works.”
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116