performing arts & music / profiles / Stromae


(Updated on June 20, 2014)
Universal Music

Paul Van Haver was born on 12 March 1985 in Brussels, Belgium into a Flemish and Rwandan family. His mother brought him up with his brothers and sisters, and his absent father was assassinated in Rwanda when he was 12 years old. It was at home that he first discovered African and Afro-Cuban music, and rap.

In early 2009, Stromae started to get noticed from the videos he posted on the Internet, called “Stromae’s lessons” in which he gave tips on composition. In the autumn of that year, “Alors on danse” set Stromae off on his way. The track was number one all over Europe and the hit of spring and summer 2010 in France. The bitter-edged song is about everyday depression set to festive dance music.

It revealed a sad clown dressed in impeccable shirts with a bow tie, reeling off dark lyrics about conjugal violence and disappointing morning afters, and became an anthem for the Internet generation. In 2010, he gave his first concerts at the Trans Musicales de Rennes and revealed himself to be a real showman, while his album "Cheese" was crowned best electronic music album at the 2011 Victoires de la musique.

Just as he announced his comeback in the spring of 2013, amateur videos on the Internet showed the singer reeling drunk in the streets of Brussels. It turned out to be a stunt devised by Stromae himself. Filmed by hidden camera, the clip of the track “Formidable” was watched 600,000 times in 24 hours on 27 May 2013, and dozens of millions of times in the following months.

Riding high on the publicity and the single “Papaoutai” evoking the absence of his father, “Racine Carrée (√)", the singer’s second album, was released on 19 August 2013. This new collection was filled with a sombre style of French song set to an electronic beat, now mixed with Afro-Cuban and African sounds. In France alone, the album sold 1.4 million copies in a few months, transforming this heir to Jacques Brel into a popular phenomenon.

Stromae began 2014 with a tour playing to packed houses, with dates continuing throughout the summer to take in the Francophone festivals.

Source : RFI Music

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