[Actress] Milla Jovovich was signed by SBK Records on the basis of a demo she cut at age 12 and quickly learned how much input certain producers expected from their artists: none. They presented her with some bubble-gum pop cover tunes designed to be released as singles with a five-week life span on the international dance charts; she initially complied, then balked, insisting on using her poetry for lyrics and recording her own material. The impasse was resolved in her favor; SBK eventually relenquished creative control and those embarrassing early sessions never saw the light of day.
Released in April 1994, Milla's The Divine Comedy remains one of the best kept musical secrets of the 90's. Acoustic, folky, and hard to categorize, Milla's music is similar to that of Kate Bush (who she cites as a major influence) and Sarah McLachlan. Her rich voice is coupled with seldom used instruments like the mandolin, dulcimer, and flute to create an oddly unique and airy sound. The final track, In a Glade, is a beautiful traditional Ukrainian folk song that Milla sings in her native tongue.
Chris Brenner heard Bjorn, David, & Johna playing on a street corner in Paris, and "hired" them on the spot. They toured after The Divine Comedy was released although they didn't play on the album.
Where did the name The Divine Comedy come from? Milla: "When I was first working on the sketch for the album cover my mom introduced me to a young Russian artist named Alexis Steele. I looked at his sketch for the cover and I saw that struggle - all the struggle that I'm singing about. It IS the divine comedy."
Two different videos were made for Gentleman Who Fell - the first version was directed by Lisa Bonet, featured Harry Dean Stanton, and was in color. Milla wasn't satisfied with the way it came out and decided to make a new video (black & white). The b&w one is basically a pastiche of Maya Deren's famous avant-garde short film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943).
Milla toured for about 6 months in 1994 following the release of The Divine Comedy.