New Music: Marie Mai covers Robyn with ‘Sans Cri Ni Haine’.

French singer Marie Mai has just released a wonderful cover of Robyn’s Call Your Girlfriend. Reincarnated as Sans Cri Ni Haine, the song sounds spectacular in French.

Although it’s missing the heartfelt anguish of Robyn’s original, it’s still rather incroyable!

Soldiers, gas masks & corsets: Anggun unleashes music video for ‘Echo (You And I)’.

How on earth does Anggun do it? In between flying all across Europe on a whirlwind tour, rehearsing and discussing wardrobe with Jean Paul Gaultier, she’s managed to squeeze in the time to shoot a très fabulous music video for Echo (You And I), France’s 2012 Eurovision Song Contest entry.

I think it is magnifique and interestingly, Echo (You And I) is first Eurovision entry to get a music video proper. It’s got wonderful cinematography with an abstract storyline that seems to have no rhyme or reason other than to show an army of pretty boys and Anggun in a corset. There’s also an attention to detail, with little flourishes that you discover more and more of with each viewing. One example is the eye test chart that spells out the song title. And of course, Anggun looks as stunning as ever! I also liked the informal introduction that shows Anggun’s preparations for Eurovision. Its very charming (even if there are a ton of product endorsements) and a really nice touch.

Voilà! Anggun’s ‘Echo (You And I)’ revealed.

Let’s review the facts: Composed by France’s top songwriting duo, produced by David Guetta’s collaborator, styled by Jean Paul Gaultier, choreographed by Madonna’s people and fronted by Anggun. It seems to me that France is all business this year with their entry Echo (You And I), which has just been unveiled in Cannes in its entirety and is creating quite a stir across the Eurovision blogosphere and on Twitter.

I love it. The song is really special and its got an undefinable something that makes you stop and take notice. I honestly could not stop smiling as I listened to it for the first time. It’s artlessly sophisticated, wonderfully catchy without being cheesy and that whistle riff is just infectious! It’s also got a light, breezy, almost idyllic sound that has ‘Summer Hit’ written all over it. And it seems I’m not the only one who’s feeling it, as the general reaction on Twitter towards Echo (You And I) has been most encouraging and very positive.

Anggun to sing ‘Echo (You And I)’ for France.

According to Le Parisien, the title of the song with which chanteuse Anggun will sing for France is Echo (You And I). How epic does that sound? The song, which is to be performed in both French and English, has been composed by William Rousseau and Jean-Pierre Pilot (Zazie, Christophe Willem, Mozart l’Opéra Rock), with the final mixing and production done by Veronica Ferraro, most known for her collaborations with David Guetta. Bottomline: we can expect a killer song from France this year.

No word yet on exactly when the song will be revealed but there are strong indications that it will happen before the end of January, along with the official release. Apparently France 3 is planning a massive gala for the occasion. C’est ouf!

France chooses Anggun for Eurovision!

It has finally come to pass. For the longest time, I’ve been saying over and over that France needs to get their heads out of the sand and send Anggun as their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest. This morning, broadcaster France 3 has made my dream a reality with the announcement that the French-Indonesian singer will fly the tricolore in Baku. Anggun has a unique, soulful voice and paired with the passion of the French language, combined with her beauty and international fame, she will most definitely do France proud. Watch her spellbinding performance of one of her biggest hits Cesse La Pluie below:

And check out Anggun taking a break from dramatic balladry and indulge in a bit of light-hearted Eurovision fun with her performance of 1967’s winning song Puppet On A String:

I am super, super excited! I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for France’s bid.

Il Divo go to the movies with ‘Wicked Game’.

Celebrated vocal quartet Il Divo have released their sixth studio album ‘Wicked Game’. The two personal highlights of this record are without doubt the covers of two of my favourite movie soundtracks: Come What May from Moulin Rouge (which has been reincarnated in Italian as Te Amare) and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita. These two majestic songs take on an even grander lustre with Il Divo’s incredible vocals and magnificent orchestral arrangement. Have a listen:

Come What May (Te Amare)

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

These two songs are a perfect fit for Il Divo, as they are very theatrical in nature and their arrangement lend themselves most wonderfully for grandiose production such as this. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is nothing to write home about.

Lorie returns to music in retro style with ‘Dita’.

The French music scene just got an injection of 1920s retro glam with the release of Lorie’s Dita. Lorie is France’s answer to Kylie Minouge and is one of the country’s most successful singers, racking up album sales in the millions. She’s even got her own statute at the Grevin Museum in Paris. Dita sees the pop chanteuse paying tribute to Dita Von Teese, the American burlesque icon along with other stars from that era. Regardez le clip:

The song is really popular in France at the moment, proving that Lorie has not lost her touch.

Artists who should give it another go: Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, I’m listing out really great singers that, for one reason or another, either didn’t get the result they were hoping for, or were more deserving of a better score in the Eurovision Song Contest. Here are some artists that I’d really love to see back on the Eurovision stage:

Ines (Estonia, 2000)

Ines was the hot favourite to win the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Once In A Lifetime. It was a catchy, uplifting number but nerves and bad styling quickly stifled any chances of victory. Fast forward to the present day and Ines has now become one of Estonia’s most popular singers and is just plain stunning. Here’s a recent video of her performing Once In A Lifetime:

Manuel Ortega (Austria, 2002)

Widely touted as Austria’s very own Ricky Martin, Manuel Ortega took to the stage in Tallin and gave a spirited performance of his song Say A Word. While it was definetly a crowd pleaser, I thought the song failed to excite with the chorus being rather repetitive. I’d really like to see Manuel back with a fiery ethno/Latin-inspired number. Given the success that has been granted to this genre on the scoreboard, I think Austria could definetly pull off a Top 10 placing.

Jonatan Cerrada (France, 2004)

France had one of the best songs in 2004. A Chaque Pas was beautiful, wonderfully performed and continued the great tradition of French balladry at the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately, it also fell into another tradition of gimmicks. Using ‘Le Petit Prince’ as inspiration, France had a contortionist atop a pair of stilts. Suffice it to say, people paid more attention to the lofty gyrating antics. Next time Jonatan, please come solo. With feet planted firmly on the stage.

Shiri Maimon (Israel, 2005)

Shiri’s breathtaking performance of Hasheket Shenish’ar (The Silence That Remains) is Eurovision at its best. A talented songstress in a gorgeous dress singing a beautiful ballad. Give the girl another ballad, throw her in an evening gown and let her do her thing again Israel! This was, in my opinion, was one of Israel’s more finer entries this decade and never fails to remind me of Contests of decades past.

NOX (Hungary, 2005)

Hungary got everyone’s feet tapping with their entry Forogj, világ!, featuring tap dancing and powerful vocals in the mystical Hungarian language. The song is really catchy and it was a pity that they were drawn first, for had they performed in the second half, I’m sure they would have done better in the scoring. NOX ought to enter again with the same formula but they should do what Kati Wolf did this year and keep the song mainly in English with a verse in Hungarian.

En route pour l’Eurovision 2011.

I happened to come across this amazing clip from France 3’s program ‘En Route Pour L’Eurovision avec Amaury Vassili’. It is a fantastic performance of France’s Eurovision-winning song from 1977, L’Oiseau Et L’Enfant as a duet with the original artist, Marie Myriam and this year’s French representative, Amaury Vassili. It’s a really quite cool to see two different generations and two amazing voices coming together to celebrate France’s Eurovision heritage. Check it out below:

The program also featured a host of French and European singers in the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest, including Eric Saade for Sweden with Popular.

However, there was another performance that really captivated me, and that was Anggun performing Eurovision classic Puppet On A String. Check out the performance below:

She’s got an absolutely beautiful, unique voice. I reckon she should represent France in the near future!