Maybe you’ve checked out Coucou’s blog posts on the Top 11 French 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s songs. This time around, we’re introducing you to some french artists paired with anglophone counterparts to help you in your French music search. While there will probably never be songs as similar as “Comme d’Habitude” by Claude Francois and “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, there are plenty of modern stylistic overlaps to help transition your ears to a more French musical palette.
While listening, you’ll familiarize yourself with the language’s sounds while also exposing yourself to new pieces of contemporary French culture. Even better, use a lyrics service like genius.com to not only supercharge your comprehension but also memorize the lyrics to your favorites so that you can #chanterallday. Check out our favorite French artists down below, along with some English-singing equivalents to help you find what you’re looking for.
By Brian Alcamo
Angèle / Billie Eilish
If you like pop driven melodies that will play well with the younger crowd, give Angèle a shot. Hailing from Belgium, she broke Stromae’s record on the country’s charts in early 2019 with her song “Tout Oublier”. Both Angèle and Billie Eilish have family roots in the music industry, with Tout oublier being a collaboration between Angèle and her brother, Roméo Elvis. Unlike Eilish, though, Angele’s tracks don’t skew as far towards “scary,” and are a little lighter.
Vianney / Vance Joy
Vianney and Vance Joy are arguably the most similar artists on this list. In 2016, he earned the award of Performing Artist of the Year (“Artiste Interprète”) at the“Victoires de la musique 2016” (the French Grammys). Vianney is perfect for fans of Vance Joy, both of whom take gentle guitar melodies and incorporate le elements like trumpets and bongos. If you’re a fan of wholesome, summery music that will take you on a trip all the way from les forêts down to la plage, check out Vianney.
Nekfeu / Khalid
Nekfeu is a true triple threat, being a rapper, actor, and producer. Not only is he a solo artist, he’s also a member of the bands L’Entourage and 1995. The 29 year old won Best Urban Music Album at “Victoires de la Musique 2016” with his debut album, Feu. While he raps more than Khalid, Nekfeu employs dreamy undertones and beats that could be at home on your favorite R&B playlist. His rhythms will have you swaying back and forth without any help from that second glass of chardonnay. Listen to the most popular song off his most recent album Les Etoiles Vagabondes: Expansion, titled “Tricheur”.
Bonus: Back in 2015, Nekfeu released the very fun song “Reuf” featuring the one and only Ed Sheeran! If you’re into that sort of crossover, you can check it out here.
Fishbach / Dua Lipa
Fishbach’s style takes cues from the 80s, just like British pop icon Dua Lipa’s. Hailing from Dieppe, in Normandy, her full name is Flora Fishbach. The artist blends deep house, 80s pop, and popular tastes du jour all in an attempt to get you singing and dancing. Coming from personal experience, I can tell you that this attempt does indeed work! Listen to Fishbach’s song “Un Autre Que Moi” to get a taste for her androgynous vocals and seductive synths.
Eddy de Pretto / Bastille
Eddy de Pretto’s voice could be easily mistaken for that of Bastille’s Dan Smith. The difference in style of music, however, is that de Pretto takes more influence from rap, mixing his voice that’s perfect for indie rock with beats that could take over a dance floor. Listen to his song “Fête de trop” to get a feel for this style.
Aya Nakamura / Rihanna
We would be remiss to create a blog post about contemporary francophone artists without mentioning Aya Nakamura. If you like deep bass and thick beats that you can dance the night away to, then you’re going to love Ms. Nakamura. Like Rihanna, her style combines club-like thumps with catchy, easy to memorize hooks that’ll have you singing along in no time. Aya Nakamura won BET’s award for “Best International Act: France” in 2019, and if you want to follow an artist on her way to the top, be sure to check her out.
Bonus: Ms. Nakamura has released a remix of her song “Pookie” featuring American Lil’ Pump, so be on the lookout for her rise in the US, and make sure to tell your friends that you found her first, thanks to Coucou.
Therapie Taxi / Foster the People
Like Foster the People, Therapie Taxi makes music that is perfect for a wide range of tastes. Skewing toward indie rock while including some heavy pop and rap influences that would make them a hit on American radio, the band is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. The style is eclectic with each track sounding much different than the previous. The nice thing about Therapie Taxi is that they feature a mix of female and male singers, and you can thank that gender diversity for the group’s wonderful harmonic range.
Listen to our playlist!
The world of French music is endless, and there truly is a style out there for everyone. You can listen to our playlist with each artist’s hit songs here, but don’t forget to do some music hunting of your own. We suggest searching through the “similar artists” sections on your preferred streaming service, and to create radio stations based on your favorites for some algorithm-recommended chansons françaises. Bonne écoute !