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The Best French Music of 2015! Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Culture, Music

If you’ve spent any time in France, you know very well that much of the music you hear will be in English – and it’s non censuré (uncensored), mind you. It’s also no secret that the French are proud of their language, and this is one of the reasons the government began imposing a law on radio stations starting back in 1994 requiring at least 40% of their songs played be in French. To comply with the laws but only play hits, some stations are playing the same 10 titles over and over, which can cover up to 75% of the required quota.

In September, some radio stations began a 24-hour boycott against the law. Fleur Pellerin, the current Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication (Minister of Culture and Communications), disagrees with the message the stations are trying to convey. They say it infringes on their broadcasting freedoms, but Fleur says playing more tracks won’t infringe on anyone’s “fundamental liberties.” The stations replied by saying the law isn’t applicable to streaming sites such as Pandora and Spotify, and du coup (as a result), these services now hold an unfair advantage.

The truth of the matter is, according to the radio stations, the production of French-language albums has dropped 66% between 2003 and 2014 as many of these artists prefer to branch out into a more international market. Stromae featured Kanye on a track and garnered exposure in the USA. Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” received the French treatment when Kendji Girac released a French version called “Attends-moi” (Wait for Me). David Guetta has worked with countless artists. The list goes on and on!

Despite the drop in French-language albums, there are still some gems being produced. NRJ (pronounced like énergie, or energy) is a popular private radio station that first aired in 1981, and these days, you’ll find all the biggest and most current tubes (hits). The station also runs a yearly award show to recognize and honor the best in the music industry. Each category except Clip de l’année (Video of the Year) and DJ de l’année is separated into two branches: francophone and international. Each of the 13 categories has 4 or 5 options, and the winner is decided through an online vote and a selected NRJ jury.

The French know our music, but how well do you know their music? Below I’ve listed the francophone categories from the 2015 award show, the nominees, and the winners. Click any link to visit artist pages or hear the songs. Do you agree with the winners?

Les Palmarès (prize list)
Winners are marked with an asterisk.

Artiste féminine française de l’année
Christine and the Queens
Cœur de pirate

Artiste masculine française de l’année
Black M
Kendji Girac
*M. Pokora

Révélation française de l’année
Marina Kaye
Lilian Renaud

Groupe / duo / troupe français de l’année
Cats On Trees
*Fréro Delavega
La légende du Roi Arthur

Chanson française de l’année
click the title to hear the song
Christine – Christine and the Queens
Avenir – Louane
*Conmigo – Kendji Girac
Homeless – Marina Kaye
Est-ce que tu m’aimes ? – Maître Gims


DJ de l’année
DJ Snake
*David Guetta
Calvin Harris
ok, this is an international list, but I included it because of the French winner 😉




So, there you have it. The best of 2015 according to the NRJ jury and the online voters. What are your initial impressions to the music? J’avoue (I admit) it’s a little funny that the French song of the year is sprinkled with Spanish, and one of the other nominated songs is completely in English. Kinda makes that 40% even more difficult to reach…

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About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


  1. David:

    For me the best song of the year is Dangerous by David Guetta…
    I try to play it and it will be on my you tube page…
    https://www.youtube.com/user/daveJ4C 😉