While you’re more likely to see a Parisienne in sweatpants than a French song on the US or UK pop charts, there’s a huge appetite for today’s French music among Anglophones. It enjoys a certain popularity among Francophiles, travelers, French-language learners and anyone with an ear for global music.
If you’re interested in contemporary French music but don’t know where to start, get ready to meet 10 hot artists who’ve released new pop, rock, hip-hop and R & B albums in recent years.
Coeur de Pirate is a charming indie pop singer and classically trained pianist, and she’s one of the few artists to become as big in France as she is in her native Québec. Pick up her breakout debut, Coeur de Pirate, and her follow-up, Blonde.
Just want something to shake your booty to? Pop princess Shy’m (right) is the go-to girl for radio singles and dance hits. Her fourth album, Caméléon, is out just in time to make your summer vacation playlist.
As a songwriter and producer, Benjamin Biolay is responsible for some of the top French albums of the past decade. As a singer, he’s the poster boy for the nouvelle chanson movement and is often compared to Serge Gainsbourg for his sensual, melancholy singing style. He’s also a French celebrity, which means his romantic entanglements often make for tabloid fodder. For a Biolay crash course, get his new “best of” album.
Camille is known for her avant-garde style of nouvelle chanson, which often incorporates playful vocal effects and body percussion. Her latest musical experiment was recorded inside church chapels and a 12th-century abbey for the acoustics. Start with her award-winning debut, Le Sac de Filles, and get her latest, a bilingual effort called Ilo Veyou.
Christophe Maé (left) makes feel-good acoustic pop, infused with folk, reggae, soul and a hint of blues. If you like guitar-strumming singer-songwriters, then this is your guy. Pick up his two studio albums, Mon Paradis and On Trace la Route.