Henri Markarian, better known as Marc Aryan, was a singer, songwriter, and record producer born as a French citizen, who also acquired Belgian citizenship after a long residency in the country.
Marc Aryan was born to Lebanese Armenian parents coming from Malatya, Turkey. He studied music and piano in Valence, and started writing his own songs. In 1957, he left Valence to Paris for better musical opportunities. In 1963, he went to Belgium where one of his sisters ran a nightclub in Knokke-le-Zoute on the coast. He tried his songs on the dance routines at the club gaining great favour.
Marc Aryan initially released materials under the personal label Markal. He then changed the name of the label to Malatya where his parents came from. He recorded several songs for an album released in Brussels. With initial success, Henri Markarian decided to adopt the stage name Marc Aryan (derived from pronunciation of his Armenian family name).
His singles became very popular in Belgian francophone market and in France. His single "Katy" that was released in 1964-1965, topped both Wallonia and Flanders Singles Charts becoming one of the top selling singles for 1965. He made sold-out concerts throughout Belgium. Other successful singles by him included "Volage Volage" (20 weeks in the Belgian Top 10), "Un Petit Slow" (again a #1 hit), "Angelina", "Giorgina", "Parce que je t'aime", "Si j'etais sur..", "Quand je te prends dans mes bras", "Qu'un peu d'amour", "Mon petit navire", "La chanson du viel aveugle" and "Tu es numéro 1 au hit-parade de mon cœur".
After the successful years 1964 and 1965 locally, the years 1966 and 1969 proved to be his most prosperous years internationally. Marc Aryan enjoyed great popularity in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, where he also sang some songs in Armenian language and in Eastern Europe and Latin America. He had some commercial success in Quebec, Canada's predominantly francophone province.
Marc Aryan visited Turkey where his parents originated from. His success was huge after his release of the oriental-themed "Istanbul", one of his best known hits that became an instant classic in Turkey. He also released a number of re-arrangements of his biggest hits in Turkish language, following the example of famous European artists who had done the same like Salvatore Adamo, Johnny Hallyday, Sacha Distel, Enrico Macias and Peppino di Capri. Turkish language versions in his album Istanbul'da include 9 songs including "Yalancısın", "Dünya Dönüyor", "Kalbin Yok Mu?" and others. The Turkish lyrics were mostly written by Fecri Ebcioğlu.
In 1968, he also visited the Soviet Union where he sang for tens of thousands of fans in Moscow and other cities filling stadiums. Marc Aryan also eventually visited his homeland Armenia for very successful concert tour insisting to sing some songs in Armenian including the famous "Yerevan" dedicated to the Armenian capital.Upon his return in 1969, he established a music studio he named Katy after his successful single "Katy". His best songs were released in a double CD collection in 1974 again hitting the Top 10 of sales. In 1997, a tribute concert entitled "Hommage à Marc Aryan" was held in Schaerbeek, in which his most well-known songs were interpreted by contemporary singers including Marka, Perry Rose, Dominique A, Jean-Luc of Sttellla, Be Plouvier, Zop Hophop and actor Benoit Poelvoorde.