Here we bring nine singers to your attention: these ladies come from around the globe and dip into genres from singer-songwriter pop, dance bangers and new wave – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With no other reason than we adore them each for their respective talents and for the fact that they are not necessarily household musical names worldwide, we thought we should celebrate them.
Most Recent Release: French Touch
Must Hear: “Miss You”
Carla Bruni rose to international stardom as France’s First Lady, but has since gone back to her original profession of performing. The singer’s delicate, calming tones have filled five albums in both French and English. Her debut album, Quelqu’un m’a dit, released in 2002 went to straight to #1 in her native France as did her English follow up, No Promises, and subsequent French album, Comme si de rien n’était. She has released a further two albums – including the particularly elegant cover album French Touch.
Final Release: Le visage de l’amour (1986)
Must Hear: “Laissez Moi Danser (Monday Tuesday…)”
Dalida, a true icon of fifties to eighties continental European music, is sadly not always given the legendary status that she is deserving of. Dalida died in 1987 but left us with dozens of albums and hundreds of recorded songs dipping into numerous genres: pop, chanson, folk, dance, easy listening and adult contemporary. The singer packed a vulnerability into these tracks, paralleling the struggles she faced throughout her life and career. Gigi l’amoroso, Parole parole, Bambino, Come prima, Je suis malade, and Laissez Moi Danser are some classics to ease you in.
The French actress and regular Lars Von Trier collaborator, also has an esteemed discography – to be expected when your parents are Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Yet just quite how good Gainsbourg’s releases are may surprise some. Flitting between sombre and reflective with touches of upbeat electronic music, the performer’s releases have gone from strength to strength. Albums 5:55, IRM and Rest form part of an incredibly striking musical trilogy.
Most Recent Release: Negative Capability (2018 LP)
Must Hear: “As Tears Go By,” “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan,” “The Crane Wife 3”
Beginning with a career in folk music with 1964 UK top ten hit As Tears Go By, Faithfull has managed to sustain an artistically fresh career for fifty plus years. Starting with sixties folk and easy listening, by the 1970s Faithfull broke into edgy new wave pop-rock with LP Broken English. A varied career that followed with hard rock, electronic dance, opera and folk-rock would follow. The singer continues to release music with her latest LP Negative Capability receiving critical acclaim in 2018.
The transexual icon boasts the “Most Expensive Body on Earth,” and has become something of a cult icon thanks to her Club Kid persona and role as David LaChapelle muse. The performer also has an incredible music career under her belt with one feature length original studio album, remix albums and two EPs. Her debut album I… Amanda Lepore boasted numerous dance anthems such as Convertible, I Want Your Number and Doin’ It My Way. Her most recent EP, LEPORE was a musical triumph with instant classics like Buckle Up and Too Drunk to Fuck.
Most Recent: Gainsbourg-Birkin: Le Symphonique (2017 LP)
Must Hear: Fictions (2006 LP), “Je t’aime… moi non plus.”
The English cinema icon was quick to become adopted by France after her relationship with Serge Gainsbourg. The pair collaborated on numerous hits which would see Birkin reach stratospheric heights of fame – most notably “Je t’aime… moi non plus.” The star would go on to have several other French successes such as “Ballade de Johnny-Jane”, “Baby Alone in Babylone”, “Et Quand Bien Même”, “Ford Mustang”, and “Baby Lou.” She saw something of a musical revival in the UK with 2006 album Fictions.
Final Release: Camera Obscura (1986)
Must Hear: “These Days”
The German singer and model, Nico, was quick to gain icon status after her collaborations with Andy Warhol who encouraged her participation on The Velvet Underground and Nico album. She would record the sublime debut solo LP Chelsea Girl, however, never held the album in particularly high regard. For further releases she took more control over her musical artistry with her sound moving from her folk debut into post-punk, avant garde and gothic industrial music. These further releases were not particularly easy listens, but intriguing in their own way. Her final release was 1986’s Camera Obscura LP.
The enigmatic disco goddess has sustained a musical career since her 1977 debut LP I Am a Photograph. With seventeen studio albums to her name, Lear has become a cult success around Europe with her glamorous persona, elegant vocal delivery and joyous Eurodance tracks. The star has enjoyed success on stage, writing and modelling also, but it is her music that we adore.
Model, fashion designer and musician, Daphne Guinness, has released two studio albums produced by the iconic Tony Visconti. The first of these Optimist in Black – a dark dramatic pop album rich in atmosphere containing powerful anthems like Marionettes and Fatal Flaw. Marc Bolan and David Bowie are channelled in its woozy psychedelic pop-rock follow up Daphne and the Golden Chord. We eagerly await Daphne’s future releases.