The less known stars of French chanson

At least internationally, of course. Maybe I’m just talking from Slovenian youth’s perspective where francofolie is still a thing only within a limited crowd. Yet, I feel there are famous singers that are very much present in the French cultural spirit and had a huge influence in the music’s evolution, but are very less talked about outside of the francophone world. I started exploring it sort of retrospectively, obsessively clicking on YouTube search buttons while listening to interviews with new bright hopes of the Parisian and outer capital scene, talking about their inspirations. Something so self-evident to a French saying little or actually being completely unknown to me. Then, the ball continued to roll. Some of their songs really grew on me, so I decided to share them. Music has that eternal appeal, no matter the period it’s made in, right?

Alain Bashung : It was Fishbach cover of the song below on Monte le son (the thing to follow for live interpretations of current artists) that introduced me to him. And I admit the original touched me more. Something so pure about it. I soon realized his other (older) songs are much different, more demanding and surprisingly maybe even more modern in sound.

Daniel Balavoine : I think it was Fishbach’s fault as well. This guy… is touching beyond most of the others I know. He spilt his guts out on pretty much every song. And I find his voice is special, too. It seems like a strong spirit and a broken soul that was nonetheless meant to tell his story and shine through its own darkness. Yeah, you’re getting some poetical inclinations listening to his confessions. He’s the one cutting Mitterand’s monologue right in the middle of a debate with his own (angry) insights, still so meaningful today.

Jacques Dutronc : And then, this guy is all in for the happy songs. Or not really. As feel-good as they sound, they often have something critical, even cynical to say, still today. He knew how to get his message across for sure. I needed a hundred indications for his existence, from a humoristic TV show (Fais pas ci fais pas ça) to TLSP cover of Les Cactus, but I finally got it and now I’m loving it.

Francis Cabrel : Looking for the love songs, you eventually (or probably quite soon) definitely stumble upon quite a few of his songs. I admit, even I succumbed to the desire of someone singing those lyrics to me, so beautifully they express emotions through melodies. They’re a classic, so you might find them on singing competition’s TV stages (like The Voice, of course) once in a while. You know, the ultimate test for musicians that defined the aspiring singers, searching for songs where they can successfully show their voice’s sincerity… and all that.

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