Thirty years ago, the Milli Vanilli lost everything when it was discovered that its two official members, the vocalists Fab Morvan It is Rob Pilatus, they weren’t that vocal. After a failure in backing track of an MTV program exposing that the two were lip syncing to the hit song “Girl You Know It’s True”, it was discovered that the Milli Vanilli album had been sung entirely by other artists, and that Rob and Fab were just the “public face” of the duo.
But would the scandal be as big as it was in 2023, in the age of artificial intelligence music and virtual bands? In an interview with OmeletFab Morvan admitted that he finds himself thinking about it sometimes.
“I think it would be totally different if it happened today. When I look at TikTok, I see that people record videos lip-syncing to other people’s songs, and it’s celebrated as an art in itself. Meanwhile I was crucified for doing the same thing”, he comments, before making a reservation to his own statement. “I understand there is a difference. We won a Grammy, and it wasn’t something we deserved for our art. It wasn’t my voice that was awarded.”
Morvan believes, however, that Milli Vanilli appeared at a time when “the pop music industry was at the beginning of a transformation, mainly in the way it was sold”. “When we sold so many records and started winning awards, people weren’t very happy to see us triumph. Some people were mad at us before it all came out”, he rationalizes.
The documentary Milli Vanilli, which traces the group’s trajectory, it was an opportunity to review this history with contemporary eyes, and Morvan is already seeing the results: “When we had the first screenings of the film, the youngest people in the room said: ‘So what? Why all this scandal? Just because they lip-synched?’”.
Milli Vanilli is available for streaming on Paramount+.