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.
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.
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.
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.
DJ Snake is a French record producer and DJ. He is best known for his English-Spanish song Taki Taki, which won several awards, including BMI Latin Awards. Over the years, Snake has won many prestigious awards, such as Billboard Music Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2019, he was ranked 16th on DJ Magazine's Top 100 DJs list.
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.
Albert Schweitzer was an Alsatian polymath who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophical work, Reverence for Life. He is credited with founding the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which was a direct result of his philosophical expression. Schweitzer is also credited with influencing the Organ reform movement, which began in the mid-20th-century.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Khatia Buniatishvili is a Georgian-French pianist. Buniatishvili has been playing since the age of three and gave her first concert when she was just six years old. She then went on to play at an international stage at the age of 10. Buniatishvili is known for her association with Sony Classical, which has produced many of her solo piano albums.
Congolese-French hip-hop artist Gandhi Bilel Djuna, better known as Maître Gims, or Gims, soared to fame with the group Sexion d'Assaut and then launched a solo career. Best known for tracks such as Zombie and Bella, Gims had initially studied graphic art but later followed in his singer father’s footsteps.
Charles Aznavour was a French-Armenian actor, singer, diplomat, and lyricist. One of France's most famous singers, Aznavour was called the Frank Sinatra of France. One of the best-selling musicians of his generation, Aznavour sold 200 million records. In 1998, CNN named him the Entertainer of the Century. In 2017, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A major figure of the 1960s’ yé-yé movement, French singer-songwriter Françoise Hardy is known for tracks such as Tous les garçons et les filles. She also appeared in supporting roles in a few films. Following her diagnosis of lymphatic cancer and the subsequent radiation therapy, she pleaded for assisted suicide.
French composer Francis Poulenc was most self-taught, as he was not encouraged to join a music school by his pharmaceutical manufacturer father. Part of the legendary “Les Six” of French music, Poulenc was also a skilled pianist. He is also remembered for the opera Les dialogues des Carmélites.
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.
The son of American filmmaker Jules Dassin, French pop idol Joe Dassin was educated in Switzerland and the U.S., and earned degrees in anthropology before moving to France. After playing supporting roles in his father’s movies, he soared to fame with songs such as Les Champs-Élysées and L'Été indien.
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.
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.
One of the greatest French opera composers and music theorists of all time, Jean-Philippe Rameau enriched the late Baroque period with his harpsichord pieces. His organist father wanted him to pursue law, but Rameau wasn’t academically bright and had poor grammar, which made Rameau travel to Italy to study music.
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.
Born to Italian parents, Jean-Baptiste Lully grew up to be a legendary composer who ruled the French courts. He started his journey as a violinist in Louis XIV’s band and later came to be known for his tragic operas. He had also apparently invented the French overture.
Josquin des Prez was one of the most influential Renaissance composers. Known for his motets, masses, and chansons, he is revered as the main figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Details of his early days are vague, and he was, for a long time, mistaken as another singer, Josquin de Kessalia.
Born to a music instructor father, French composer and conductor Nadia Boulanger was no stranger to music as a kid. The first woman to conduct prime orchestras, she had the who’s who of the music industry, such as Elliott Carter, Roy Harris, and Quincy Jones, on her list of students.