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5 Great Things About Stromae (Americans Should Know)

Illustrator: Bjergsen

International sensation Stromae has topped charts in over 15 countries, garnered millions of social media followers, and nearly a billion YouTube views, but most of us have never heard of him. Stromae’s music infuses Hip-Hop, Electronica, Jazz, and Funk and creates a unique and captivating sound that is unlike anything any of us has ever heard. Born and raised in Belgium, Stromae whose name is Paul Van Haver, is considered to be one of the strongest voices of this generation.

A painting of Stromae by Bjergsen
Illustrator: Bjergsen

I have to admit that I am completely clueless about French music, but Stromae’s voice and creativity compelled me to research the origins of his music and I was hooked. I especially loved his singles ‘Formidable’ and ‘Papaoutai’. Stromae’s music swiftly reminded me of a cool Spring evening in Greece, a country that I love to visit!

Stromae is currently embarking on a tour of the United States and has recently performed in New York City to critical acclaim. In honour of his formal introduction to the United States, I would like to present to you Five Great Things about Stromae!

  1. His song ‘Ta fete’ was selected by the Belgium National Football team as its official anthem for the 2014 World Cup. The 2014 World Cup is without a doubt the biggest international sporting event of the year, and to represent his native country in that capacity is a huge honour and accomplishment.
  2. Kanye West remixed Stromae’s hit song ‘Alors on Dance (So We Dance)’: ‘Alors on Dance’ topped the charts in over seven countries including Greece, Italy, Germany, and France. The 2009 release was written and produced by Stromae.
  3. His single ‘Papaoutai’ was the most watched YouTube video in France for 2013. ‘Papaoutai’ garnered over 161 million views. The song, which translates to “Dad where are you”, is touching and powerful due to its meaning. Stromae’s father was murdered during the 1994 Rwandan genocide when Stromae was nine years old, and ‘Papaoutai’ touches on all of the hardships associated with growing up without his dad and all he’s had to overcome. Stromae performed Papaoutai with at the 2013 NRJ Awards.
  4. Stromae is a big fan of the Notorious BIG. During an interview with ELLE Magazine, Stromae revealed that Biggie was one of his favourite artists. Although he didn’t fully understand all of Biggie’s references, he was captivated by the rhythms and beats.
  5. President Barack Obama owns Stromae’s album. The Prime Minister of Belgium passed Stromae’s album to President Obama and it is assumed that such a gesture defines Stromae as one of the strongest voices and figures of Belgium.

Please check out Stromae’s Youtube channel via this awesome link. Fin!

Written by Manny King John

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Photos: ScHoolBoy Q at Central Park SummerStage