Nolwenn Leroy

Royal Leroy

Picture 1 Nolwenn Leroy Picture 2 Nolwenn Leroy

Reaching number 25 in the international album charts three months after its release, Nolwenn Leroy’s fourth album Bretonne re-echoed like a thunderclap around Landernau. Some accused her of sacrilege, others treated her like a saint, but none of this went to her head – this young Finisterian Star Academy singer really is a star through and through.

Could it be her childhood spent in Saint-Yorre and Vichy? The young Nolwenn Leroy sparkles with the insouciance of youth, bursting with rebellious energy. And the Finistère singer care couldn’t care less if people make jokes about her FiniStar beginnings – for her, Star Academy was a springboard to a burgeoning career that initially paid little heed to Celtic culture.

Having learned the violin, the musical Leroy also studied classical singing at music college. Going from one academy to the other took the Finistère singer from anonymous obscurity into the blaze of the spotlight on the TF1 stage. This was the beginning of a career which raced away like an F1 car. 2003 saw the release of Nolwenn, her debut album, particularly noteworthy for its collaborations with Pascal Obispo, Lara Fabian and Laurent Voulzy. A good start to her life as a performer, you could say – especially as it sold 600,000 copies! Histoires Naturelles, her second offering, hit the shelves two years later, with an interlude by Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy – before the jazzy, acoustic and intimate about-turn that was Le Cheshire Cat et Moi, released in 1990. As one of her singles puts it, ‘should you or shouldn’t you’… go back to your roots?


From Star Academy to Finistère, and from there her path inevitably led her to Bretonne, the album which sparked controversy from Saint-Pol to Paimpol. Accused by some of sacrificing an entire musical heritage on the altar of profit, anointed as a saint by others, nobody can deny that Nolwenn Leroy injected a shot of variety into the Breton tradition. Maybe her father, a professional footballer, gave her the urge to play for crazy stakes? Nolwenn dared to make Tri Martolod trendy, to throw the windows of the Prisons de Nantes wide open and let the sunshine of the modern world pour in… Something in the music has changed. Only three months, and already 500,000 albums sold. Truly royal Leroy!