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Though French is considered the second language in Canada, almost all the music, film and television we consume is in English. Quebec has an active and thriving entertainment business, but it seems us English-speaking provinces have yet to discover the talent our French frères and sœurs possess.
Look no further. We’ve compiled a list of a few notable French pop acts from Canada and beyond.
Belgian signer Stromae may be the most well-known artist on this list. His 2009 hit “Alors On Danse” hit No. 1 in 19 countries. Though he hasn’t had a song make as great of an impact on our shores, he’s still known as one of the most popular hip hop and electronic artists in Europe.
It’s hard to find much information about Indila. It seems like one day she didn’t exist and then suddenly in 2013, she took over the French airwaves with her ironically named first hit “Dernière danse” (which translates to “Last Dance”). Known before as “that female voice on a bunch of rappers’ songs,” this breakthrough track made Indila more than a cameo.
A Jill of all trades, Héloïse Letissier, known on stage as Christine and the Queens, combines music, performance, art videos, drawing and photography to create her work. Inspired by drag queens while visiting London, she adopted the “Queens” title and dedicated much of her “freakpop” work to transgender individuals. In an interview with Dazed, Letissier said she aims to be the black sheep of popular culture by challenging the ideas of femininity, gender and queer culture.
Quebec-native Béatrice Martin, better known as Cœur De Pirate has been credited for bringing Francophone music to the young generation of Canada. Martin got international recognition in a way only possible in today’s social media-driven society: by being the backing track to a viral video. “Ensemble” was the soundtrack to Francis Vachon’s viral video of a time lapse of a baby playing with his toys.
Møme has taken home the unofficial title for song of the summer with his hit, “Aloha.” This French electronic DJ had his musical start at the Nice Conservatory studying jazz, French touch and pop. After taking a trip to Australia, the DJ fell in love with the chillwave genre popularized by artists like Flume.
Born in the Congo, rapper-singer Maître Gims was a member of hip hop group Sexion d’Assaut before embarking on a solo career in 2013 with Subliminal. The album went on to sell over a million copies and hit diamond recording status. Maître Gims is such a big deal that even huge American artists like Pitbull and Sia have made appearances on his albums.
R&B singer Zaho moved to Montreal at the age of 18 and soon discovered the world of professional music. It wasn’t until nine years later in 2008 that she released her first studio album, Dima. The same year, Zaho won Best Francophone Artist at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Her new single, “Laissez-Les Kouma,” currently sits at No. 3 on the Hip Hop France chart and already has over 10 million views on YouTube.