Sunday, November 08, 2015

NRJ Music Awards 2015

This year's NRJ Music Awards took place last night in its traditional home in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.  It was the 17th edition of the awards.  Over recent years the NRJ Music Awards has attracted international media attention, although this is entirely related to the high number of international A-list artists who turn up on the red carpet, rather than a sudden interest in French music.

But here on this blog I only care about the French music and couldn't care less about those overexposed artists whose songs turn up on NRJ and every radio station, everywhere in the world, every day of every year!!

This year's winners:

French Newcomer - Louane
French Male Artist - M Pokora
French Female Artist - Shy'm
French Duo/Group - Fréro Delavega
French song of the year - "Conmigo" - Kendji Girac

International Newcomer - Ellie Goulding
International Male - Ed Sheeran
International Female - Taylor Swift
International Group - Maroon 5
DJ - David Guetta
International Song of the Year - "See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth
International Video Clip - "Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift

Special awards - Sting, Adele, Charles Aznavour, Justin Bieber

The thing you notice straight away in the French winners' list is the dominance and popularity of "The Voice".  Unlike the UK version of the show which has failed to produce a commercially successful artist (apart from Becky Hill who has been the featured vocalist on a few dance hits), France's "The Voice, la plus belle voix" started off the career of 18 year old Louane Emera who then went on to appear in the hugely successful film "La Famille Bélier" which in turn kicked off a solo career which has made her one of the biggest selling artists of the past year in France with her debut album "Chambre 12".

Above: Louane shows off her award.

The next winners rose to fame on the 3rd series of The Voice which was won by a certain Kendji Girac.  Acoustic duo Fréro Delavega went on to release a very successful debut album of bright and breezy tunes.  Now as you know I've never really been a fan of the 'acoustic' style of music which has been popular over the last few years but I find Fréro Delavega very agreeable as they seem to follow a more upbeat musical style rather than the dreary acoustic ballads which have me reaching for the off switch.  And even better, they do it in the French language!  Just one thing do not turn up to such a glamorous occasion dressed like that!

Above: Fréro Delavega, who didn't get the 'dress smartly' memo.

Finally, it was another successful night for Kendji Girac, the 19 year old who's taken French music by storm over the past couple of years with his flamenco-flavoured pop with a modern twist.  After winning best newcomer and song of the year awards at the 2014 NMAs, his song "Conmigo" was chosen in a public vote as French song of the year.  I do love Kendji's music but "Conmigo" IMHO isn't really one of his best songs as it's more generic r'n'b than the flamenco style which I prefer. Nevertheless I predict a lot more success for him in years to come.  Kendji has just released his second album "Ensemble" which is packed with more latin-flavoured pop bangers and will soon be making its way to my record collection.  

Above: Kendji on the red carpet.

Who knows - he might even go on to be as successful as this year's top French male artist M Pokora, who's been winning NRJ music awards since 2006.  Matt's another artist with a talent show connection; those of us with long memories (!) will remember him from the French version of Popstars The Rivals in 2003 as a member of Linkup.  

Above: Another in a long line of awards for Matt Pokora.

Finally, there was also a rare appearance at last night's awards by the legendary Mylene Farmer, whose latest album "Interstellaires" was released just a couple of days ago.  The first single to be released from it was a duet with Sting on a remake of one of his songs "Stolen Car".  Here's Sting and Mylene on the red carpet:

There was some disappointment though for the fans eagerly awaiting Mylene's first live TV performance in a long time, as a) she and Sting pre-recorded their performance of "Stolen Car" and b) the vocals weren't live but were playback.

Nevertheless though it is great to have her back.  I haven't had a chance to listen to clips of the new album yet - I'll approach this one with some trepidation as the last couple of her albums haven't done anything for me and came nowhere near the greatness of her classic older material, from Cendres de Lune up to and including Innamoramento.  Everything after that has been a disappointment for me, mainly because I have compared it to those older albums; but then again I guess that even a relatively disappointing Mylene release is still better than most of the overhyped junk passing for popular music these days.

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