Discover French R&B and Soul singers like Zaho, Shy’m, Ayna, Aldrick, K-reen and more.
While a lot of French Pop has its roots in traditional Chanson Française, Soul/R&B music (aka Black music or Urban music) is a uniquely American art form. Even when the artist is French, the arrangement and phrasing is that of an American-style R&B song, with only the lyrics written in their own language.
Because it's a uniquely American art form, it's no surprise that French R&B singers are heavily influenced by U.S. R&B and Neosoul artists. The good thing for English fans is that it doesn't take much of a cultural leap to enjoy R&B music being sung in French.
Check out some of today's top artists:
Add these top picks to your playlist from new artists and old favorites. They're guaranteed to groove you.
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French-Canadian singer Zaho (Zehira Darabid) has a rich and unique vocal tone, which she shows off effortlessly on infectious ophomore album, Contagieuse. It's not available digitally in the U.S., but it's worth it to buy the physical CD as an import. The album also includes the hits "Tourner la Page, " "Divisés, " and "Boloss."
For some older stuff by Zaho that you're sure to love, check out La roue tourne, which reminds me a bit of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River." Now that I think about it, somebody needs to get to work on that mash-up.
Shy'm (Tamara Marthe) is the French equivalent of Beyonce or Rihanna (take your pick), which basically means she's a former R&B chick who now enjoys broad crossover appeal. Shy'm is a stage name - the "shy" is for her shyness, and the "M" for Martinique, her father's homeland. A trained dancer and singer, Shy'm shot to stardom in 2006 when her debut album Mes Fantaisies hit the top ten and went platinum in France. (It includes the hits "Victoires, " "T'es Parti, " and "Femme de Couleur" if you want to check it out.)
Her second album Reflets, often gets overlooked, but if you enjoy the typical Beyonce album, then you'll find this a solid effort that holds up well over time. Shy'm has never been particularly soulful, but it'd be a stretch to call any of her recent work "R&B." She was aiming for the masses with 2010's Prendre l'Air and even more so with her latest album, Cameleon, which is basically an ode to EDM (electronic Dance music). Still, she's one of the biggest names in the French music biz, which means everyone will be watching for her next move.
Apple mulls French monopoly options
-- Analysts are awaiting Apple Computer`s response to a new French law that requires the company to make purchased downloaded music compatible for all players.
Now, songs purchased for 99 cents at Apple`s iTunes Music Store can only be played on Apple`s iPod players, but the French government legislated against the practice.
However, the law, passed last week, has a loophole that allows Apple to obtain permission from artists, record labels and publishers to keep its digital rights management software on the music so it cannot be played on non-Apple devices, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.