When listening to your favourite radio station, a particular song and its catchy melody can get stuck in your head all day long. A funny thing happened to me repeatedly: checking what the song is and surprisingly discovering that the band is actually French. Not that I was doubting the extent of talented music artists from France; the lyrics were in fact in English, thus more difficult to spot. I know what you might be thinking: “But isn’t France and the French very picky on preserving their language?”. Yes, I was thinking the same. Still, the country follows the increasing trend of singing in English (and the accent is not so bad!).
When I want to refresh my playlist with new talents, I watch the TV programme “Taratata”. This monthly live show, which was created in 1993, features mostly pop-rock artists playing their new or most famous songs. The majority of the guests would invite their fellows to share a song and help them being known from a wider audience, which makes this programme extremely creative. All current major bands have been on stage there, and the range of unexpected duos formed for just one night is simply stunning. For example, you can admire and listen to Julia Stone singing half in French and turning the famous Serge Gainsbourg’s “Requiem pour un con” into “Requiem for a Jerk”.
There are so many gifted musicians out there, trying to break into the music world. The offer is so large that it becomes difficult to make a decision on what to listen to. To make my choice easier, I decided to rely on such a high-ranking and trusted programme as “Taratata”. Since then, my playlist has never been so complete and diverse.
These tools in hands, I thought some of the latest French gems were worth sharing. The 5 artists featured in the list below have their own particular touch, and will provide you with a rich and varied insight into the new French scene.
I discovered Fakear while listening to his latest hit “La Lune Rousse” on the radio. The beats and the female singer’s bewitching voice simply took me far away. This electro singer-songwriter just started his own career over 3 years ago with the song “Morning in Japan”. And indeed, the Asian influence is plays a great part in his other songs. His first album, “Animal” is about to be released.
This is probably the most mainstream artist of the list, as “Baby I’m Yours” (feat. Irfane) has been an international hit. It’s hard to believe this song is already 6 years old, it still sounds so brand new. Breakbot signed with Ed Banger Records in 2009 and his popularity has been growing ever since. He performed, together with Irfane, a few songs of his recently released album “Still Waters” during the live show of Taratata in March 2016. The soul voice of the female-singer Yasmin is a true gift, and brings a vintage touch to these Daft Punk-like electro beats.
3. Ibrahim Maalouf
Even Ibrahim Maalouf himself admits that his project seemed like an absurd challenge from the very beginning. Yet, this Lebanese-French trumpet player is unique and conveys so much emotion without using the power of lyrics. The result is an intriguing combination of oriental and western influences, which is well illustrated in his latest album “Red & Black Light”. As a strong advocate of improvisation, he has also composed many film soundtracks, and collaborated with renowned artists from France and abroad. Check out this cover of Beyonce’s famous song.
In need of background music for a festive dinner with friends? Synapson’s electro vibes will create the ideal pre-party atmosphere. Alexandre and Paul, the two songwriters and musicians forming the group, released their first EP in 2010, and kept on boosting their popularity until culminating with their latest album “Convergence” in 2015. They are likewise known for their remixes, especially “Djon Maya Maï” (feat. Victor Démé), currently hitting the top of the charts.
I am glad to include Jain as representing the “girl power” of the list. Sweet, fresh, and energetic are good adjectives to describe this young songwriter and singer, who has lived in different continents. All of these features are the basis of her catchy and dancing tunes such as “Come” or “Makeba“, which you will hum all day long. With her distinct and singular style, she could be compared to Kate Nash or even Lilly Allen; that alone is a good argument to lend an ear to her first album “Zanaka”.