French pop music artists
Just want something to shake your booty to? Pop princess Shy’m 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.
3. Benjamin Biolay
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.
5. Christophe Maé
Christophe Maé 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.
Zaz exploded onto the scene two years ago with her self-titled debut album and the runaway hit “Je Veux.” Her raspy vocals and vintage-y chanson style proved instantly infectious, quickly making her an international star.
7. Ben l’Oncle Soul
Ben l’Oncle Soul is France’s contribution to the retro soul movement (as popularized by Amy Winehouse and the like). His gruff, powerful vocals recall ’50s and ’60s soul men like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. Experience the sound on Ben’s Live Paris album.
8. Sexion d’Assaut
If you only know one French rap act, make it Sexion d’Assaut. This crew of eight MCs from Paris has been dominating the charts since 2010 with hit after catchy hit. Start with the breakout album L’Ecole des Points Vitaux, and for the latest, pick up L’Apogée.