Irene Cara, from the Bronx to the Oscars

Irene Cara, the emblematic interpreter of the soundtracks of Famous and flash dance is dead. Originally from New York, the singer died in Florida at the age of 63.

Those who knew the beginning of the 1980s have not forgotten it. At the time, Irene Cara was one of the ubiquitous American stars in charts and in the imagination of Western youth, fascinated by the successive musical revolutions from the United States. If his career will not have had the longevity that the artist doubtless hoped for, his feats of arms – them – will be remembered. Died in Florida at the age of 63, of unknown causes, Irene Cara was among the happy couple having obtained the most prestigious awards in the cultural industry made in USA. This American dream begins in the early 1970s in New York, when a gifted little girl makes herself known on television in the children’s program The Electric Company. The beginnings of a worldwide success.

An Oscar for Flash Dance

Indeed, this singer born in the Bronx in 1959 dropped out in 1984 the Oscar for best song original for the famous piece What a feeling, co-written with Keith Forsey with music by Giorgio Moroder. This title is born for the soundtrack of the film flashdance, by Adrian Lyne, which features actress Jessica Beal. It also earned Irene Cara the Grammy Award for Best Pop Singer. Sold over 20 million copies worldwide, the soundtrack of flash dance will become inseparable from the 1980s.

Proof that the film and its soundtrack have gone down in history: the parody performed by Florence Foresti in 2016.

Fame with Fame

A few years before the phenomenon flash dance, Irene Cara is already causing a sensation in stores and on the big screen. The New Yorker was only 21, in 1980, when she rose to fame. That year, she plays, dances and sings in the film Famous, by Alan Parker, which will then be made into a television series. The story centers on a gang of young people attending the High School of Performing Arts in the Big Apple. Among them: Coco Hernandez, played by Irene Cara. In this first soundtrack, the young woman offers an emotional moment to the public with the ballad Out here on my own. But above all, his performance on the title Famous in the streets of Manhattan will become cult.

After the adventure flash dance, Irene Cara will continue her career in discretion. His last album, Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel, dates back to 2011. If the resounding successes of the singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban origin seem far away, their impact remains relevant. Films and series featuring dancers torn between their ambitions, their social difficulties and their heartache always find their audience. Of dirty dancing at One, Dos, Tres Passing by save the last dance or the saga Sexy Dance, the list is long. And each time, references to the work of Irene Cara are never far away.

Irene Cara in the movie Fame (1980) ©DR

Irene Cara, from the Bronx to the Oscars – Radio Monaco