She wrote her first album, Brol, in her bedroom on a computer. She came up with a title and some clips that spread like wildfire on social media. Suddenly, she became an immense success: one million albums sold, three Victoires de la musique in France and several D6bels in Belgium. Her life had become beautiful, crazy, but also blurry. After a year of music tours performing in several countries, Angèle decided to take a break so that she could pause and contemplate on the bigger picture; so that she could find herself again, to breathe, and let herself be inspired again.
This break allowed her to take stock of her incredible progress since the release of her first album Brol. To reflect on her existence, on how her normal life had suddenly shifted, with a popularity that left her both overexposed and feeling immense moments of happiness; the highs of touring and the diverse characters that she built for herself, like the layers of armor that we sometimes use to protect ourselves.
Digging through some of the diaries she kept since teenagehood, Angèle recounted her real life in a Netflix documentary with great honesty and a disarming simplicity, beyond the trappings of fame and clichés.
It was in Brussels that Angèle first returned to find herself again through the simple things in life. Although she loves Paris, where she spends a lot of time, she is still very attached to her hometown, her family, friends and even the grey skies there. This was where it all began: from Instagram videos of her as a teenager playing songs solo on the piano in bars.
It is no wonder then that she dedicated her first single Bruxelles je t’aime to her city. For three years, she has been living her life at full throttle, driving from success to success, with dizzying turns. Her album is a euphoric pop cavalcade, illustrated by a thrilling and radiant clip. It is her latest gem, both tender and funny, typical of Angèle’s talented storytelling.
In this new album that she composed, and co-directed with Tristan Salvati, with whom she has been working from her early days, Angèle peppered her new songs with catchy beats and bass inspired from No Doubt and Tame Impala. The French and American mixers NKf (PNL, Orelsan, Booba, Damso) and Josh Gudwin jumped in to give these songs the finishing touches. Josh Gudwin has also worked with Justin Bieber, J Balvin and Dua Lipa, the English singer who co-wrote and produced the duo Fever with Angèle, which has been a hit song for the past few months.
Angèle displays, perhaps more so than before, great finesse in writing each song. The vibrant proof of an expanding musical universe. Her extremely accuracy yet simple writing style is inspired by her experiences and the questions she asked herself. These questions meet those of the generation that Angèle is a part of. One that (roughly) celebrated their 25th birthdays in the middle of the pandemic, a time when the world felt meaningless. A youth who are uninhibited, wary, and aware about essential issues such as violence against women, evoked in the powerful Storm, and the indispensable notion of consent. These just words (Mots justes) should be obvious, but women are still too often at a loss for them, lest they suffer the violent consequences. While Angèle no longer closely shares the lives of those born in ’95, the intimate fragility and no doubt touching songs that she shares with them will resonate: the aftermath of a heated argument that leaves you bruised and bleeding with a broken heart (in Taxi, in which beautifully cloudy singing is accompanied by piano). The sleepless nights during which nightmares take over. Sadness, doubt, anxiety - so many inner Démons fighting on a cosmic groove in Damso’s company (the first person to give Angèle a beginner’s opportunity). Melancholy, passing shadows - Angèle learned to channel them into inspiration, by understanding how to become stronger through sharing her vulnerability. And how, without giving up on love, it is sometimes best to play Solo. And that it is possible to raise your voice to live freely (Libre), at your own pace, on a unique and galvanizing beat.
In Brussels, in Paris, at any age of life – wherever you are, living free is the most beautiful place to be.