I have a confession to make… I hate French music. After spending two years working at a popular French restaurant in Toronto, the sounds of Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, and other classic French chanteurs still drive me a bit crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you’re forced to listen to the same playlist on repeat for eight hours per day. 

Left: Angele and Dua Lipa standing next to each other, in front of a yellow wall. Right: Birds flying on an empty street in Paris.
Top & above left: Angèle / Right: Matteus Silva

Since moving to Paris, I’ve given Francophone music another chance, but this time through a more modern lens. Inspired by some of my favorite anglophone artists, here are five modern French speaking music artists to check out now:

If you like Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, and Lorde, check out Angèle 

Left: Angèle standing behind a piano keyboard, with her fingers on the keys. Right: Angèle's album cover.

If you know anything about modern French music, you’ve probably already heard of the Queen of French Pop, Angèle. She rose to fame in 2018 after her single Tout Oublier broke the record for weeks at the top of the Belgian singles charts, formerly set by fellow Belgian singer and rapper Stromae. More recently, she’s broken into the international pop scene with her collaboration with English singer Dua Lipa on the single Fever.

If you like Mac Miller, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino, check out Roméo Elvis 

Left: Roméo Elvis posing in front of a white curtain, with smoke around him. Right: Roméo Elvis in a recording studio, looking away from the camera.

Keeping it in the family, rapper and hip-hop artist Roméo Elvis is actually Angèle’s older brother. They’ve collaborated on songs like Tout Oublier and my personal favorite J’ai vu, alongside his producer, Le Motel. His music has evolved quite a bit over the years, so I recommend checking out his 2019 debut album, Chocolat. 

If you like Kehlani, H.E.R., and Jhené Aiko, check out Yseult

Left: Yseult wearing a red leather bodysuit. Right: Four photos of Yseult posing with different expressions.

Yseult rose to prominence in 2013 as runner-up on the tenth season of Nouvelle Star (France’s American Idol). She released her first self-titled album in 2015, but it wasn’t met with commercial success. She left her music label and returned in 2019 with her own independent label and a more raw and personal style of music, a stark contrast to her earlier days of electro-pop. Since then, her music has been widely recognized and praised. Earlier this year, her song Corps was nominated in the Original Song category at the French music awards Victoires de la musique. While she didn’t win in that category, she was named Révélation feminine, or Best Female Newcomer. 

If you like SZA, J. Cole, and Frank Ocean, check out Swing

Left: Swing sitting on a chair in an empty room. Right: Swing performing on stage in front of an audience.
Left: zzdaniil / Right: hamzaseriak

Okay okay, one last Belgian artist and then I’m done. Swing is inspired by hip-hop and soul, and especially artists who rap and sing at the same time. The catchy beats and refrains will catch your ear at first, but be sure to listen closely to meaningful lyrics in songs like S’en aller, Pas besoin de raison, and Homosapiens with his group L’Or du Commun, joined by fellow Belgian rappers Primero and Loxley. 

If you like Marina, HAIM, and Robyn, check out Christine and the Queens

In 2016, Christine and the Queens was at the top of Vanity Fair’s list of the most powerful and influential French people, ranked ahead of the president of France! They have said that they don’t want to choose between English and French music, so they typically release singles in both languages. Their indie pop often takes a second listen to fully understand the lyrics, especially in songs like People I’ve Been Sad where they switch back and forth from English to French.

A Parisian café and people walking in front of it. The sign on the café reads Café du Musée.
Jean Pierre

Take a listen to the playlist I’ve made of my favorite songs from all of these artists and be sure to let us know of your favorite francophone music artists in the comments below!

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Written by Jessica Johnston for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.


Jessica Johnston

Jessica is from Toronto, Canada, where she studied communication and public relations at Ryerson University, and worked in internal communications. She moved in Paris in the summer of 2020 after quitting her corporate job in the pursuit of the Parisian lifestyle. She loves trying new things, discovering new cultures, and connecting with people. In her free time, you can find her trying new restaurants, browsing the skincare section in pharmacies, and spending time in parks across Paris.

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