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Benjamin Biolay

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Benjamin Biolay


Benjamin Biolay , the reigning genius of modern French pop, has found success as a pop star, songwriter, arranger, film composer and celebrity (thanks to his marriage to movie star Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni). The classically trained Biolay grew up studying the complex, experimental pop worlds of the Beatles and French icons Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Hardy. Like Hardy, Biolay has a strong gift for melody, mood and melancholy. Like Gainsbourg, Biolay has a vast musical knowledge which he tempers with restraint, but he also has the ability -- and drive -- to be a solo star and a hardworking behind-the-scenester who writes and produces for others. While Gainsbourg's employment of different musical forms almost seemed as sarcastic and mocking as his lyrics, Biolay displays an obvious love, interest, and respect for all of genres that get mixed up in his music (which draw as much from American folk-rock and country as from French pop or the Fab Four - whom he continues to thank on the liner notes to his CDs). Benjamin Biolay first came to the music industry's attention with his collaboration with, and arrangements for, Keren Ann and his sister Coralie Clement. Finally earning a solo contract after many years of struggle, Biolay released his excellent debut album, Rose Kennedy, in 2002. A concept album, Rose Kennedy looks at early 1960s America through the cataractic eyes of the late matriarch, who went from attending dinner parties to suffering the assassination of two of her sons. Next up was Negatif, a double CD full of sometimes violent imagery surrounding a group of drifters, which included a disaffected, oddly sympathetic, American named Billy Bob. Negatif brims over with musical ideas, but they weave in and out of an acoustic guitar base and are often more felt than heard. Biolay released two albums in 2005, A L'Origine (translated: In The Beginning) is a darker, denser work than his previous outings, while Home is a light, sunny duet album with his wife, started when they noticed that they needed a good road trip CD to listen to while on vacation. He has also written film scores, songs and arrangements for such beloved French stars as Francoise Hardy, Juliette Greco and Henri Salvador.
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