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Surrounded by music from an early age, Émilie Simon won critical plaudits as early as 2003, when she recorded a debut album largely written, composed and produced by herself. The self-titled record, Émilie Simon, won Album of the Year at Victoires de la Musique, France’s most prestigious music award ceremony.
Born in Montpellier in Southern France, Émilie grew up bathed in the Mediterranean sun and immersed in the sound of clarinets and electronic melodies. Wishing to imbue her second album with a more wintry and polar vibe, she began to record sounds that related to coldness.
Coincidentally, in the midst of her search for sounds for the album, she was contacted by film producer Luc Jacquet to compose the original soundtrack for his Oscar award-winning documentary film La Marche de l’empereur (March of the Penguins), concerning the annual migration of emperor penguins.
In 2006, Émilie went on to triumph at the Victoires de la Musique ceremony once again, winning the award for the Best Original Film Soundtrack of the year.
In 2009, Émilie started writing songs arranged for accompaniment on piano, rather than a computer. “I even forbade myself to go near a computer for a year and a half,” Emilie said, “I wanted to see what I was capable of without my usual comforts around me.” The result was a collection of sounds reflecting Émilie’s impression of New York City — an urban, black and white musical that became her most recent album, The Big Machine. On this album, Émilie’s experimental inclination involved the clever use of traditional Chinese instruments - together with keyboards - as a vestige of her long stay in the heart of Chinatown.
In 2011, the album Franky Night, (dedicated to her late fiancé) won her many more fans in France as most of the tracks were sung in French, as opposed to English. Her latest album, Mue, hit markets in 2014 and includes tracks like Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games” cover, and other heartfelt songs featuring both English and French lyrics.
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