Between them, France and Belgium count some of the French-speaking world’s biggest stars, and what’s more, they’re a melting pot of emerging talent.
And yet, from unhinged hyper-pop to the philosophy teacher turned viral rap sensation, there’s always more to discover. Here’s five French and Belgian artists you need on your radar.
The new face of French hyper-pop, ELOI is reshaping the Paris music scene one synth loop at a time. Her sound is futuristic, on tracks like Soleil Mort (Dead Sun) and jtm de ouf (ily so much) distorted vocals lend themselves skittering synths and dance beats. She released her debut album Dernier Orage (Last Storm) last year, “Prends-moi la main, j’te fais des gosses.” (“Take my hand, I’ll make you kids.”) She sings over glitchy synths in standout track Call Me. It’s both unsettling and riveting.
Felhur x Andro
Philosophy teacher Félix Hurault and beatbox champion Antoine Pinchaud have teamed up to rap the works of Rimbaud and more. They went viral for their skit series taking celebrated philosophers and authors, and transforming their words into a catchy flow. Turns out, if Victor Hugo were a rapper, he’d be pretty fire. In keeping with France’s tradition of slam poetry and politically engaged rap, rap conscient, the duo recently released an EP of original tracks themed around revolution and inequality, but equally with a few introspective moments too.
Pierre de Maere
With his cut-glass cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and flamboyant style, 22-year-old Pierre de Maere not only has the look, but also the music to back it up. Armed with a catalogue of well-crafted pop hits, the Belgian star goes on tour this year. He’ll be performing packed-out shows around Europe for an audience who will no doubt be singing along to his breakout hit, “Docteur, un jour je marierai un angeeeee.”
Previously a musician for Lost Frequencies, Thibaud Demey launched his solo project in 2021 under the artist alias Doowy. The Brussels-based producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer paints a colourful soundscape of euphoric disco and synth-pop. His latest EP, Pastel Sunset, was released in November, and fans of artists such as Roosevelt or SG Lewis will no doubt enjoy these retro groove-laden tunes.
Morgan made a name for herself uploading her freestyles on TikTok. Content such as “If Jean de La Fontaine was around in 2000”, unflinching feminist freestyles or backstage clips of her rehearsing as part of the new urban opera adaptation of Molière has earned her nearly 2 million followers on the platform. Last year she released Racines (Roots), her first full-length album. Part hip-hop, part pop, part rock, but always featuring her uncompromising and innovative rap flow, Morgan is one to watch on the French rap scene.
Looking for more French artists to add to your playlist? (Check out last year’s cohort of Rising French Artists.)