Stromae has become a sensation since dropping his first big hit ” Alors on Dance“. The song was remixed by Kanye West and had the Belgian artist’s name buzzing in North America. Fast forward a few years later, Stromae releases ” Racine Carrée“. His hit second album earned him a world tour selling out the largest venues from Europe to Africa.
Born Paul Van Haver, Stromae (Maestro switched around ) has had an interesting rise to fame. A former Jesuit boarding school attendee and trouble maker, the Belgian star has become one the most spoken about francophone artists in the world.
Stromae’s success is due in part to his charisma, musicality, and vibrant personality. That’s just scratching the surface though. Here are 6 reasons Stromae should be on your radar:
- Incredible Sound. One thing is for certain, he does not sound like anybody else. With a sound that cannot be put in a box, Stromae’s unique sound is refreshing in an electro genre where many artists sound too alike.
Like this track:
Mixing in beautiful piano chords and a Spanish guitar to an electro track is not something that can be pulled off this smoothly by anyone else. In this song, he gives homage to one of his favourite singers, Cesaria Evora. The late songstress is a legend in the Cape Verdean Morna genre. Songs in Morna are often accompanied by skilled classical violinists, pianists, and guitarists. This is the sound Stromae recreates and infuses so well with his own style.
2. Videography. Stromae’s videos tell as story with a twist. The way he ties in the lyrics to the video and his great use of symbolism is genius.
Here’s an example:
This song is riddled with a play on words of it’s title “Quand C’est” and “Cancer”. Cancer is represented as the shadow spider creeping throughout the entire video. The character slowly gets gets closer to being consumed by the spider and at the end of the video…you see where this is going. Stromae’s videography is brilliant in his other videos but here is one the best examples of this.
3. Lyrical Mastery. Native French speakers will understand how clever Stromae’s lyrics are. His play on words is common in all songs as well as his ability to speak about controversial topics in a witty way. In addition to being a wiz wth his lyrics, he has mastered being able to put these controversial, often melancholic themes, on dance tracks.
Here’s an example:
This track discusses absent fathers. It’s infectious production says otherwise and you will find yourself dancing in as soon as the beat drops. The topic is very heavy but Stromae wants people to think about serious issues as well as have a good time. How about that for a conscious artist?
4. Stage Presence. Incredible. That’s the word that best describes him live. He is often joking with the crowd about something relevant to the city he’s in and segues seamlessly into the next song. When he’s not joking with fans, his electric chemistry with his bandmates really enrich the show. You don’t always see headlines artists be so friendly with their bands.
Here’s Stromae and his crew fooling around on stage:
6. Style. Electic and preppy would be the two best terms to describe Stromae’s style. You can see form his videos that he’s a very loud dresser and his style often clashes with his lyrics. His lyrics are often melancholic but his style is very bright. He has even managed to draw attention from GQ and gave a “lesson in style”.
Here’s the artist’s GQ session:
Showing off his familiar neon coloured cardigans and bowties, Stromae certainly doesn’t lack in the shock department. On his second album, his choice of clothing reflected the theme of the song while still having that trademark Stromae touch. As any great artist and business should, he has even begun to monetize with his clothing line mosaert. Now, you can look like Stromae and rock the signature high length bright socks, matching cardigan, and bowtie!
Stromae is a unique artist that is continuing to create a frenzy world wide. His stage presence, style, and musical ability make him one of the most dynamic and entertaining artists in the world. Being the son of a Rwandan father and Belgian mother, he often speaks about struggling with his identity and puts that struggle in his songs. He discusses relevant themes in his work an adds his own touch to it resulting in a masterpiece for people to enjoy. There’s no doubt that Stromae will continue to capture the attention of many more fans for years to come.