Singer-songwriter Christophe Maé performs acoustic Pop infused with Folk, Reggae, Blues and Soul. His music has an upbeat acoustic vibe, similar to Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, or John Mayer. He's one of the biggest Pop stars in France today.
The singer, born Christophe Martichon, hails from Carpentras, a town in the Provence region of southeast France. A self-taught musician, Mae is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman, Otis Redding, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, and one can hear threads of them woven throughout his music.
Just months away from becoming a certified pastry chef, Maé decided to pursue a music career instead. After some false starts, his first big break came in 2005 when he was cast in the French stage musical Le Roi Soleil (the Sun King). Mae stole the show in the role of "Monsieur", King Louis' brother. A smash hit, the play enjoyed a sold-out runs and tours across Europe. It was one of the most successful musicals in France's history.
Along with "Ça marche," Christophe Mae and cast-mate Lysa Ansaldi's showstopping duet "Un Geste de Vous" leapt off the theater stage and became a mainstream Pop hit.
Debut Album: Mon Paradis
After charming audiences on stage, Christophe Maé released his debut album, Mon Paradis. It was France's third best selling album of 2007. It went diamond (more than platinum), selling over 1.5 million copies in France, and it won him the Victoire de la Musique (French Grammy) for Best New Artist. The album spawned the number one hit "On S'attache," the top 20 single "Ça Fait Mal" (known colloquially as "Papa"), "C'est Ma Terre", and my favorite, "Belle Demoiselle." Check out out a couple videos from the album:
Christophe wrote the Top 5 hit "Mon P'tit Gars" (my little boy) shortly after his son, Julien, was born in March 2008. The song appears on Mae's 2008 live album, Comme a la Maison.
Sophomore Album: On Trace La Route
Maé raised the bar with his second studio album, 2010's On Trace La Route, which was France's best-selling album that year. The diamond-certified album produced the number one hit "Dingue Dingue Dingue," along with the hit singles "J'ai Laisse," "Je Me Lâche," "Parce Qu'on Sait Jamais," "Pourquoi C'est Beau," and "La Rumeur." It's one of my favorite French albums. Buy it below, and watch videos for some of the singles.
After a successful tour, Maé released a live album called On Trace La Route Live, which features performances of songs from both his albums, along with two previously unreleased songs including the hit, "Un Peu de Blues."
Third Album: Je Veux du Bonheur
In 2013, Christophe released his 3rd studio album, Je Veux du Bonheur, which hit number one in its first week. The ambitious album is inspired by the singer's travels to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the flavors and moods he soaked up in The Big Easy. The influence of Zydeco music, New Orleans' Jazz, and Delta Blues is unmistakable, though he manages to never cheapen or appropriate it.
Whether it's the Lead Belly sample on "Ma Jolie," the tuba breakdown in the middle of the title track (featuring the popular "Murder She Wrote" Dancehall beat from the 90's), the poignant trombone, tuba and trumpet on the uplifting Hurricane Katrina tribute "À l'Abri," or the ebullient accordion on "Ne T'en Fais Pas" or "L'Automne," Mae succeeds at seamlessly weaving Creole sounds into the album's musical tapestry. And of course, it's still got lots of acoustic guitar and Mae's potent vocals to keep longtime fans happy.
New Orleans also provided the visual backdrop for the video for his Top 20 single, "Tombé Sous Le Charme."
Here's another single from Je Veux du Bonheur called "La Poupée."
What do you think of Christophe? Which song did you like the best? Leave a comment below: