France is known for its great cuisine, its beautiful capital, and its rich history. However, it is also the home of many extraordinary musicians. These popular French music artists sing in different styles and have different audiences. However, they all have one thing in common: they would make a great addition to your playlists.
If you want to widen your music taste and discover brand new musicians you’ll love, read on. This article will cover the most popular French music artists you need to check out.
10 Popular French Music Artists You Need to Check Out
This electronic duo was formed in 1995 by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel. The group was one of the most influential acts in European electronic music, especially in the 2000s and beyond.
However, what really sets this duo apart on the French music scene is their versatility. Apart from dominating the EDM part of the industry, they have also dabbled in pop, jazz, baroque pop, and lounge. By doing so, they have successfully managed to cross over into anglophone countries as well, gaining popularity in the UK and the US.
There is hardly a soul in Europe who hasn’t heard Zaz’s breakthrough 2010 hit Je veux. This song made waves all around the world, crossing language barriers and introducing everyone to a true French vocal powerhouse.
Zaz has a unique style that blends pop and jazz and mixes it all with witty and memorable lyrics. Her music is a perfect choice for when you are feeling down and need a little pick me up. She wants to remind the world that love and joy are the strongest forces in the world, and when you listen to her music, it is not hard to believe her.
3. Christine and the Queens
Don’t let the name of this act deceive you. It is not a band, but a single singer-songwriter named Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier. Apart from singing and writing her own music, this lady also produces, making her a full package when it comes to musical talent.
Her genre could be described as a mix between alternative, pop, and synthpop. She writes relatable lyrics and is not afraid to get emotional and explore subjects such as grief, sexuality, and addiction. So, if you are a sucker for great hooks and ballads that will make you cry, this artist is the one for you.
Chris sings in French and English, which has made her quite accessible to wide audiences back home and across the Atlantic, in the US. Interestingly, Vanity Fair named her the most influential French person in the world in 2016, ahead of the French president himself.
4. Serge Gainsbourg
It is hard to compile a list of the most popular French music artists without including the biggest legend the country has ever had. Even decades after his death, Serge Gainsbourg still remains the epitome of French artistry, combining hedonism and excess in sound with provocative lyrics relevant even today.
For the sake of comparison, Gainsbourg is to France what Bowie, Jagger, and Sting are to the Anglophone music world. His music will transport you to a France of the past, his lyrics will intrigue you, and his voice will touch you unlike anything else. Listening to him, you will truly learn what French music is all about.
5. Vanessa Paradis
Though most people outside of France know her as Johnny Depp’s ex, Vanessa Paradis is also one of the most popular French music artists. She has been a staple in French music ever since her debut single, which she released when she was only 14.
Vanessa sings in French and English, but it is her music in her native tongue that gets her the most acclaim. Her style is a mix of pop, rock, and R&B, and apart from singing, she also plays the guitar, piano, and tambourine.
Soprano is a French rapper, singer, and songwriter. He started his career as a part of a successful group called Psy 4 de la Rime. However, he has subsequently gone solo and released a few albums that have propelled him to unimaginable fame in France. In fact, he is the only artist to fill Marseille’s famous Stade Velodrome after Johnny Halladay.
His music will appeal to you if you like rap, R&B, and intelligently written lyrics and hooks. Soprano’s music is impossible not to vibe along to, so definitely add it to your playlist if you are going on a road trip and need something fun to listen to.
Though Angèle comes from Belgium, she is one of the most popular musicians in France. And since she sings in French, including her in this list makes a lot of sense. She also sings in English, which has allowed her to cross over into the UK and US music scenes and collaborate with big acts in pop.
Her genres of choice are chanson and pop, and her voice is easily recognizable and nice to listen to. If you want upbeat pop bangers and the occasional tear-jerker ballad, she will be perfect for you.
8. Johnny Hallyday
Having sold over 110 million records worldwide, Johnny Hallyday is one of France’s biggest superstars. He was a quintessential figure on the rock and roll scene, and he is even credited for bringing rock to France. His songs are still alive and bringing people joy and comfort, four years after his death.
You will surely love his music if you are a true rock fan. His voice was strong and deep, and that is something that he brought into every single song he recorded. The French see him as a legend and a monumental figure in French art, and it is not hard to see why, considering his impressive legacy.
This Congolese musician grew up and started his career in France. His real name is Gandhi Bilel Djuna, and he used to have the stage name Maître Gims before dropping the first part and going by just Gims.
Although he sings and raps in French, he has managed to cross over into the American and European scenes with his charismatic style. He has collaborated with big names such as Sting, Sia, Lil Wayne, and Pitbull. He is the prime example of music’s ability to transcend all barriers and bring people together despite their differences.
10. Coeur de Pirate
Coeur de Pirate is the stage name of Béatrice Martin. She is a French musician living and working in Montreal, Canada. There, she is credited for bringing French music and chansons closer to Quebec youth. She debuted in 2006 when she was only fifteen years old and has been one of the most popular French music artists ever since.
At first, the public saw her as just another teen sensation that would fade away soon. However, she proved them wrong with her unique and mature style. Soft and emotional ballads are her forte. She is also able to connect to her audience through her lyrics and emotional approach to songs.
If you need songs to enjoy while it’s raining outside and you are lounging in bed, this artist will have you covered. She has a soft voice and will make an amazing addition to all your chill music playlists.
A Few Parting Words
French has always been seen as the most aurally pleasing of all the Romance languages. When you listen to the popular French music artists on this list, you will see exactly why that is. No matter what your favorite genre is, the list will have something for you. Hopefully, you will enjoy discovering new music and add some of the suggestions to your favorite playlists.