This weekend sees a whole host of French acts play at the The Great Escape festival in Brighton, an…
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One could perhaps expect interesting creativity from a singer that goes by the pseudonym -M- for its resonance with 'aime' (French for 'love'). Interesting, to say the least, describes Matthieu Chédid's musical style. With a different stage name also comes a different stage character. The naturally shy and soft speaking singer is known for making his flamboyant alter ego come alive when performing on stage. With his hair gelled into the shape of the letter M, his kitsch pink suit and guitar, he is known as being eccentric and larger than life as a musical performer.
Chédid was born in Paris in 1971 into a musical family. As the son of Louis Chédid, a celebrated French singer, and grandson of poetress Andrée Chédid, becoming a lyrical musician, songwriter and guitarist seemed to have come naturally to him. His mysterious image as a musician partly stems from an attempt to distance himself from being under his father's shadow. However, his own musical talents have allowed him to establish himself as a successful artist. He has worked alongside many famous French artists throughout his career that started in his adolescent years, such as; Johnny Halliday, Vanessa Paradis, NTM and Sean Lennon. In the nineties, his album Le Baptême (1997) and Je dis aime (1999) established his recognition as an original and innovative artist. Winning the awards of 'Best Male Singer of the Year' and 'Best Concert' at the Victoire de la Musique in 1999 no doubt proved this. He has also enjoyed international praise for his film soundtracks. The success of his song Belleville Rendezvous, the soundtrack to Sylvian Chomet's film, The Triplets of Belleville (les Triples de Belleville in French) in 2003 was nominated for an Academy Award the same year. His soundtrack to Guillaume Canet's thriller, Ne le dis à personne, won the prestigious Cesar Award for 'Best Film Music' in 2007. More recently, he starred in and created the music for Bibo Bergeron's animation film Le Monstre à Paris (2011) alongside Vanessa Paradis.
Besides his kooky image, Matthieu's reputation as an original artist owes to his musical style which angles out to many musical genres. Songs such as Machistador and Je Dis Aime demonstrate his kitsch image and disco-pop rock sounds. But not only does he appeal to the funk and rock music crowd, some of his music is much more mellow. For example, Les Roi Des Ombres and La fleur is on the other side of the music genre spectrum. The acoustic strings and the fluctuating tones of his high-pitched voice create dream-like melodies.
Fans wait with anticipation for what '-M-' comes up with next. Having abandoned the wild pink suit for a more sober monochrome look and sensual sound for his last album Mister Mystère, 'mystery' seems like a suitable word to sum up the artist.
Le Baptême (1997)
Je dis aime (1999)
Labo M (instrumental) (2003)
Qui de nous deux (2003)
: Mister Mystère (2009)
Le tour de -M- (live) (2001)
M- au Spectrum (live) (2005)
En tête à tête (live) (2005)
Les saisons de passage (live) (2010)
Belleville Rendez-Vous (soundtrack) (2003)
Ne le dis à personne (soundtrack) (2006)
Un monstre à Paris (soundtrack by Vanessa Paradis & -M- / Patrice Renson) (2011)
* Belleville Rendez-Vous, soundtrack to Sylvain Chomet's film, Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)*
Le Roi des Ombres
Je Dis Aime
*A Portrait of Mathieu Chédid (ina.fr) *