Claude Debussy was a French composer whose career spanned over 30 years. Regarded as one of the most influential composers of his generation, Claude Debussy's works have influenced several other composers, such as Bill Evans, George Benjamin, Olivier Messiaen, and Béla Bartók. Claude Debussy is also regarded as the first Impressionist composer, though he rejected the term.
2 Yo-Yo Ma
French singer and actress, Vanessa Paradis, became a celebrity at the age of 14 with the French song Joe le taxi in 1987. She tasted further success with English songs like Be My Baby and many other French songs. She has also acted in several French films and has modelled regularly for high-end fashion products by Chanel like perfume and handbags.
David Guetta is a French songwriter, record producer, and DJ. Over the years, Guetta has been one of the most popular DJs in the world; in 2011 and 2020, he was voted the best DJ in a poll conducted by DJ Magazine. Referred to as the grandfather of EDM, Guetta has several prestigious awards under his belt, including two Grammys.
Kathie Lee Gifford achieved celebrity status by working as a television presenter. She then became a singer-songwriter and author, cementing her place in the entertainment industry. Also known for her charity work, Kathie serves as an ambassador for Childhelp, a non-profit organization working towards preventing child abuse.
Erik Satie was a French pianist and composer. An influential artist during his time, Satie's works served as a predecessor to later artistic movements like repetitive music, minimalism, and the Theatre of the Absurd. Apart from being a musician, Erik Satie was also a prolific writer, who contributed to publications, such as Vanity Fair and 391.
10 Kayden Boche
After his mother’s death, Kayden Boche was placed in a foster home, where he suffered abuse. The French model was scouted soon after high school and became a sensation after his Dior Addict campaigns for Christian Dior fragrances. He has also directed Jérémy Amelin's single Oh, Oh!
Barbara Pravi is a French actress, singer, and songwriter. As a songwriter, she has contributed immensely to the success of popular artists like Jaden Smith, Julie Zenatti, Yannick Noah, and Chimène Badi. She also contributed to the success of Valentina Tronel, composing J'imagine which helped Valentina win the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic conductor and composer who was highly regarded in places like Russia, Britain, and Germany. Although he did not achieve fame as a composer, Berlioz became renowned internationally for his skills as a conductor. He also wrote musical journalism, which includes his influential work, Treatise on Instrumentation.
French musician, singer-songwriter, record-producer, DJ, and film director Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo is one former half of the French electronic music duo Daft Punk that he formed with Thomas Bangalter. The duo achieved both critical and commercial success with albums like Discovery and RandomAccess Memories. Homem-Christo has also spawned works through the record label Crydamoure which he co-owns with Eric Chedeville.
Hélöise Letissier, also known as Christine and the Queens and Chris, often challenges gender stereotypes through her music. The queer electropop and indie artist was inspired by drag queens in London, after she quit theater school following a break-up. Known for her chart-busting debut album, Chaleur humaine, she identifies as pansexual.
Soko is a French musician and singer-songwriter. The song We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow, which is part of her debut album I Thought I Was an Alien, reached the ninth position on the Billboard Hot 100. Soko is also a critically acclaimed actress, earning César Award nominations for her performance in films like In the Beginning and The Dancer.
French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen is credited with creating melodically innovative scores, using what he called "modes of limited transposition." An ornithologist, too, he added bird songs into his compositions such as La fauvette des jardins and Catalogue d'oiseaux. His Messiaen: Concert A Quatre won a Grammy.
20 Ève Curie
French and American writer, journalist, and pianist Ève Curie was one of the daughters of scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. She was the only one in the Curie family who did not choose a career in science. She authored her mother’s biography and was actively involved with UNICEF, helping women and children in developing countries.
French musician Thomas Bangalter had been part of the six-time Grammy-winning electronic music duo Daft Punk for 28 years, before it split. Known for wearing their signature helmets while performing, he and his partner, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, released iconic hits such as Da Funk and Get Lucky.
23 Fab Morvan
Adila Sedraïa, or Indila, began her career as a composer and even wrote songs for artists such as Axel Tony and Admiral T. She earned a label deal after collaborating with Youssoupha on the song Dreamin’ and reached No. 2 on the French charts with her debut track Dernière danse.
26 Thomas Mars
Phoenix lead vocalist Thomas Mars once spoke about how he had cut off everything that could distract him from making a potential career in music during college. He met Sofia Coppola while composing for one of her films, and the duo got married, leading to more collaborations.
Georges Bizet was a French composer whose career was cut short by his untimely demise at the age of 36. Since his death in 1875, Bizet's final work Carmen has become one of the most frequently performed works in the opera repertoire. Although he couldn’t achieve success during his lifetime, Bizet's death is considered a loss to French musical theatre.
Bilal Hassani is a French YouTuber, singer, and songwriter. He achieved international recognition in 2019 when he represented France at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. He managed to score 105 points in the Eurovision final, finishing 16th. In 2019, he was also honored at the NRJ Music Awards with the Francophone Breakthrough of the Year award.
32 Amanda Lear
One of the greatest composers of all time, French pianist and organist Gabriel Fauré is best remembered for his masterpieces such as Requiem. His music career began at 9, when he was sent to Paris to become a choirmaster. At 75, he was awarded the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'honneur.
36 Sara Dallin
37 Manu Chao
Born to Spanish parents in Paris, Latin Grammy-winning artist Manu Chao is one of the pioneers of Latin alternative rock. His French rock band Mano Negra has delivered hits in English, Spanish, and Arabic. His solo career has seen him release international hits such as Clandestino and Me Gustas Tu.
French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer is best known for her hits such as Libertine and Les Mots, and for her collaborative acts with Laurent Boutonnat. Born Mylene Jeanne Gautier, she later changed her name to Mylene Farmer in honor of Hollywood star Frances Farmer, who was her idol.
French electro house artist, musician, DJ, actor and producer Kavinsky started off as an actor before making his mark in the French music-scene. He gained greater mainstream recognition after his song Nightcall was used in title sequence for the blockbuster hit 2011 American neo-noir action, drama and crime film Drive. The song was later included on his debut studio-album, OutRun.
40 Kendji Girac
42 M. Pokora
Medieval French philosopher, theologian, and poet Peter Abelard was born to a knight but gave up his inheritance to study philosophy and logic. He fell in love with his pupil, Héloïse, but her uncle got Abelard castrated, following which Abelard became a monk and made Héloïse a nun.
47 Rick Dufay
Rick Dufay is a French-American guitarist known for his association with the popular band Aerosmith. He played for the band from 1980 to 1984, during which regular guitarist Brad Whitford had left the band. Dufay left the band upon Whitford's return in 1984 and was praised for his selfless gesture. Thus, Dufay is credited with keeping the band from disbanding.