As a follow-up to last week’s post, I bring you my top five male francophone singers (in no particular order):
The artist that started my francophone music obsession. I still can’t believe that it’s been 15 years. There are a fair number of anglophones that know of Bruno Pelletier, but nearly all of them know him because of Notre Dame de Paris, a really bizarre French musical based on the Victor Hugo novel. I really never liked NDdP, so I tend to be a little snobby when it comes to my Bruno fandom. Listen to “Le Temps des Cathedrales” (his big NDdP solo) if you’re curious, but there are plenty of better songs. He’s made ten albums in twenty years, and they cover a broad range of styles. His early work is very hair band, and his recent stuff is adult contemporary. In the middle he’s had a Christmas album, a jazz album, and another weird musical (Dracula!). A new album comes out this fall and I have tickets to see him in Sherbrooke again next March. Yay!
Songs to check out: Ailleurs C’est Comme Ici, Aime, Je m’voyais plus
If there’s one reason why I wrote “in no particular order” at the beginning of this post, it’s because I truly can’t decide if I have begun to love Patrick Fiori more than Bruno Pelletier. I noticed it one day when I had to make two mix cds of all my favorite Bruno songs and all my favorite Patrick songs. I struggled to fill a disc with Bruno songs, and I struggled to fit a disc with Patrick songs. Coincidentally, Patrick Fiori was also in Notre Dame de Paris, but somehow he never gained the same worldwide following. Try asking about him in a Quebecois record store and you’ll get blank stares. A few of my favorite songs he’s done aren’t even in French (“Aurora” and “My Way” with Chico and the Gypsies are both in Spanish) which proves you don’t have to undertand the lyrics to enjoy a song. Well, it proves that I don’t have to understand the lyrics to enjoy a song. I’m still trying to get the rest of America to agree with me.
Songs to check out: Que Tu Reviennes, L’Instinct Masculin, Marseille
As much as I raved about the contestants on season one of Star Academie, the winner of season three, Marc-Andre Fortin, is probably the most talented. His voice is super powerful, but it’s also just so pretty. It has to be only a matter of time before he records a massively successful album of lullabies. In 2010 he had a scary battle with tongue cancer that actually required surgery, but thankfully his voice doesn’t seem to have suffered any.
Songs to check out: Toi sur le moi du monde, Bien entendu, Meme si tu m’oublies
Celine Dion’s son-in-law is a relatively new musical discovery of mine (he’s married to Rene Angelil’s daughter, Anne Marie). A part of me feels like I shouldn’t put him in my top five when I only own one of his three albums (Entre Deux Mondes), but I really love that one album! And while I don’t own any other music where he’s actually singing, his work is all over my cd collection. It turns out that he’s written or produced songs and albums for several of my other favorite artists. Both his voice and style of music totally sound like Bryan Adams which is funny because I never liked Bryan Adams as much as I like Marc Dupré. Maybe Bryan Adams needs to sing in French. Oh wait, he does!
Songs to check out: Pour Qu’on Se Garde, Mille Raisons, Comme Des Sauveurs
Garou completes the Notre Dame de Paris trifecta on this list. At 6’2″, he was perfectly typecast as the hulking Quasimodo. The deep, gravelly baritone that made him so right for the role was also the reason I never really cared for him. It’s a unique sound, and you have to get used to it. It wasn’t until his third, self-titled album came out that I finally came around. The songs on it are so catchy that I fell in love with them despite the harshness of his voice. Album number four, his first English attempt, was a major flop, and album number five, a cover album, had several missteps (really unfortunate versions of U2’s “New Year’s Day” and Madonna’s “Sorry”). Album number six was a return to form, and a new album is on the horizon this September.
Songs to check out: Gitan, Sous le Vent, anything off of Garou
Honorable Mention: Ben l’Oncle Soul, Christophe Mae, Florent Pagny, Maxime Landry, Wilfred LeBouthillier