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Night Owl © Antoine Beauvillain
Night Owl © Antoine Beauvillain
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Music In France: 11 Albums To Look Out For In 2016

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 1 September 2016
If you’ve been asking yourself which French singers are ruling the radio waves or which albums to check out in 2016 then look no further. From massive hits that have been topping the charts for months to the latest releases, we have a decisive rundown of the 11 records they’ll be playing on boulevards across France.

Claudio Capéo by Claudio Capéo

Claudio Capéo is a talented singer and accordionist best known for appearing on Season 5 of France’s version of The Voice. Since then, the 31-year-old from Alsace has shot to fame: his third, self-titled album has held the top spot in the French charts since July and its first single, Un homme debout, has garnered nearly 20 million hits on YouTube at the time of writing.

Emotions by JUL

This is the latest album from JUL, the prolific hip-hop artist from Marseille. The singer-rapper has released six albums in the past three years, all of which have peaked within the top 10 of the French albums chart. This is in addition to releasing dozens of singles and collaborations.

Tout le bonheur du monde by Kids United

Kids United were formed in 2015 with the support of UNICEF, Hélène Ségara and Corneille as part of a campaign to raise awareness and funds for child refugees. For their second album, the group has shrunk from six to five members, aged between eight and sixteen, but their message of hope and peace is as big as ever.

Ensemble by Kendji Girac

Although Kendji Girac‘s second studio album was released almost a year ago, it is still sitting comfortably at the top of the French charts. This is a testament to the popularity of the winner of Season 3 of the French Voice. Indeed, his first album, Kendji, was the second highest selling album of 2014 and has sold well over a million copies so far. Below is his latest track off of an as yet untitled third album.

À bout de rêves by Slimane

Another graduate of The Voice school of reality-pop, Slimane and his trademark beanie launched their debut album in July, just two months after the singer won Season 5 of the competition. The autobiographical album went straight to number one in the charts in France and Belgium.

L’attrape-rêves by Christophe Maé

Christophe Maé first came to the public’s attention as a star of musical theater, playing the brother of King Louis XIV in the 2005 production Le Roi Soleil. He has since forged a successful career as a mainstream artist, selling millions of albums and winning numerous industry awards. He has cited Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Ben Harper, Tracy Chapman and Jack Johnson as influences of his mainly acoustic style.

Zanaka by Jain

Jain‘s debut album, released in November 2015, continues to be a big hit with French audiences. The album’s title means ‘child’ in Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar, and is a tribute to this 24-year-old from Toulouse‘s mother. It was also nominated in the Album Révélation category at the Victoires de la Musique 2016 awards by the French Ministry of Culture.

Far From Home by Calypso Rose

Calypso Rose is a living legend in her homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, having been in the music business now for over 40 years, producing 40 albums and composing 800 songs. French audiences can’t get enough of her. As she’ll tell you herself, she is the undisputed queen of calypso, a musical style native to the Antilles which draws on West African traditions. When she isn’t touring, as she will be in Paris in September, she likes to relax at her home in Queens, New York City.

Renaud by Renaud

One of the most hotly anticipated records of 2016, Renaud‘s eponymous sixteenth album was the first from the artist in seven years. Like his three previous efforts, it peaked at number one in the French chart, despite confusion as to what it was actually called (Renaud had stated in a radio interview that the album would share the title of the lead track Toujour debout).

Bruxelles by Boulevard des Airs

This is the third studio album from Boulevard des Airs (otherwise known as B.D.A.), a band that have been playing together since they formed in their schoolyard in Tarbes in 2004. The group’s music is self-described as ‘homemade’ and this latest work continues their commitment to simplicity paired with sharp lyricism.

Encore un soir by Céline Dion

There’s no way the Grande Dame of Francophone music could be left off this list. This is the fifteenth French-language album from Céline Dion and her twenty-sixth in total. She has sold over 200 million albums and is likely to add substantially to that figure with her latest offering.