The innovative French singer M is known for his playful Rock compositions and wildly theatrical live shows. His cooing falsetto is perfectly suited for his Rock-meets-Disco Funk sound.
Born Matthieu Chedid, he chose the pseudonym "-M-" and fashioned a whimsical superhero alter ego (with his wild suits and "M"-shaped hairdo à la Grandpa Munster -- a look he's since traded for "M"-shaped sunglasses) to help him overcome his shyness on stage.
Over the course of 5 studio albums, live recordings, and numerous soundtracks (including an Oscar nominated song on "The Triplets of Belleville" soundtrack), -M- has become one of the most beloved performers in France today.
-M- is the son of French singer Louis Chedid and the grandson of poet, novelist and playwright Andrée Chedid. He got his first taste of the music biz at six, singing backup on his father's first hit song.
He played in numerous bands with friends as a teen, and went on to be a session musician (on guitar) for many popular French artists.
Despite being born into French music royalty, Chedid wanted to launch his solo career without any boost from his famous last name. As -M-, he put out his debut album La Baptême in 1997 and his breakout sophomore album, Je Dis Aime in 2000. Both projects feature his signature coy falsetto cooing over Funk Rock -- the genre pioneered by his idol, Jimi Hendrix.
But it's his wacky, interactive live performances that truly propelled -M- to superstardom. He considers them "shows," not concerts. He won Victoires de la Musique (French Grammys) for Je Dis Aime (Best Male Singer) and its accompanying concert tour. If you like Lenny Kravitz, then this album would be to your liking.
In 2003, M recorded what he is perhaps best known for in America: "Belleville Rendez-Vous," his Oscar-nominated contribution to The Triplets of Belleville soundtrack.
Later that year, he released a markedly softer third album, Qui de Nous Deux?, which won him three more Victoires for Best Male Artist, Album of the Year, and Best Concert/Tour.
Mister Mystère, M's fourth full-length studio album, was a much more subdued project that incorporated a wide variety of sounds and influences. Even the "M" character was toned down, with more of the real Matthieu on display. The single "Est ce que c'est ça?" reminds me a bit of a Daft Punk song. It's got that same Disco Funk vibe, but with French lyrics, of course:
And my absolute favorite song off the album, "Amssétou," is inspired by the African music of Amadou & Miriam.
A frequent collaborator, M's resume reads like a who's who in French music. He's produced, written, arranged, composed, played or sung on albums by Johnny Hallyday, Jane Birkin, Brigitte Fontaine, Alain Bashung, Vanessa Paradis (including writing and producing her hit CD Divinidylle) and many, many more. He's also won a Cesar (French Oscar) and Victoires for his film soundtrack work, concert DVDs and other projects.
In 2011, "starred" with Vanessa Paradis in the animated French film, Un Monstre à Paris. Their soundtrack duet, "La Seine," won the Victoire for Best Video in 2012.
M's latest album Il reached the top 5 on the French charts, spawning the hit "Mojo," and the singles ""Baïa," "Océan," and "Faites moi souffrir."
The popular video for Mojo, featuring the "Mojo Boys" dancing in various parts of Paris was nominated for the Victoire for Best Music Video of 2013. Check it out:
Download: -M- fans won't be disappointed in the entire album. If you're new to him, start with "Mojo," "Océan," "Laisse Aller," and "Baïa."
You saw the video for Mojo above. Now, here are some more samples from the album:
What do you think of -M-? Leave a comment below.