Ute Lemper (born July 4, 1963) is a German chanteuse and actress. Born in Münster, she graduated from the Dance Academy in Cologne and the Max Reinhardt Seminary Drama School in Vienna.
Her diverse credits include musicals, such as her breakthrough role in the original Viennese cast of the Cats, the title role in Peter Pan, a recreation of the Marlene Dietrich-created Lola in The Blue Angel, the original European Sally Bowles in a Paris production of Cabaret, and the original London revival Velma Kelly in Chicago.
Lemper, named Billboard's Crossover Artist of the Year for 1993/1994, is a prolific recording artist, appearing on numerous cast recordings and compliation concerts, including Roger Waters' The Wall concert in 1990. As a solo artist, her extensive discography includes ubiquitously well-reviewed interpretations of Kurt Weill's compositions from the late 1980s, in addition to German cabaret songs, which were very political songs sung in underground location in 1930s Berlin and elsewhere. One disc of Lemper's, Illusions from 1992, is devoted to the songs of Marlene Dietrich and Édith Piaf, an interpretive effort that would be widely panned if most artists were to pursue it but for which Lemper received rave reviews. She has numerous pop albums, variously in English, French, and German, and 2000's lauded modern Punishing Kiss. Punishing Kiss featured songs written especially for her by the likes of Scott Walker, Elvis Costello, and Neil Hannon, the latter of whom performed with her on two of the disc's tracks. Lemper is known for wild interpretations on discs like the Sondheim tribute City of Strangers, containing a particularly askew version of the Elaine Stritch-popularized song The Ladies Who Lunch. In 1998, a Lemper compilation, All That Jazz: The Best of Ute Lemper, was released. In 2003 and 2006 Lemper's songwriting talents were shown on her discs from those years as she moved from being an interpretive singer to a singer/songwriter.
A painter in the neoclassical style, Lemper's paintings have been showcased in numerous galleries.
She has also appeared in films such as Prorva, Bogus, Jean Galmot, aventurier, Prospero's Books, Appetite and Prêt-à-Porter (in the latter appearing in a well-publicised nude scene filmed while she was pregnant). She has contributed to the soundtracks of numerous films, including Kissing Jessica Stein and Appetite.
Lemper, a married mother of three, resides in Paris and New York City. She performs worldwide, recently even in the war-torn Middle East. She has also authored a book and several journal articles.
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