|Birth name||Aurélien Cotentin|
1 August 1982 |
|Genres||French hip hop, jazz-rap, pop-rap|
|Associated acts||Casseurs Flowters (Orelsan + Gringe)
The Toxic Avenger
|Members||Ablaye, Dany Synthé, Édouard Ardan, Gringe, Skread|
Aurélien Cotentin (French pronunciation: [oʁeljɛ̃ kɔtɑ̃ˈtɛ̃]) better known by his stage name Orelsan stylized as OrelSan ([ɔʁɛlˈsan]; born 1 August 1982 in Alençon, Orne), is a French hip hop and rap artist. He has released two albums, his debut Perdu d'avance released on 16 February 2009, and the follow-up Le Chant des sirènes released on 26 September 2011. With colleague and close collaborator Gringe, he also releases since 2014 materials under the name of a duo Casseurs Flowters.
Aurélien Cotentin grew up in Alençon in Lower Normandy. His father was a middle school principal and his mother a teacher. He started listening to rock music. He was also a fan of manga and bande dessinée. While practicing basketball, he picked up the love of rap through his basketball friends. He graduated with a French baccalaureate in Economic and Social Sciences before moving to Caen where he studied École de Management de Normandie graduating in 2004. In college, he made friends with music producer Skread who had worked with Diam's, Booba, Rohff, Nessbeal as well as collaborating with Gringe in his general work and in duo Casseurs Flowters that Orelsan and Gringe formed in 2004.
He spent one year at University of Tampa in Florida, where he had the inspiration of writing the song "50 pour cent". In 2002, he issued a mixtape and was invited into contribute in various compilations. Returning to France and working the night shifts in a hotel gave him the opportunity to write more.
In August 2006, Orelsan released his first clip on YouTube, called "Ramen", followed by a second one in 2007, called "Saint-Valentine", a sarcastic parody on Valentine that attracted great following prompting him to release more of his work online through YouTube and Myspace.
In 2008, the "3e bureau" record label noticed his work and offered him to produce an album in collaboration with the record label "7th Magnitude", Skread and Ablaye's label. In summer 2008, he promoted the release "Changement" directed by "7th Magnitude" and was offered through TF1 vidéo and by Nolife TV channel, becoming Orelsan's first professionally prepared clip.
On 16 February 2009, he released his debut album Perdu d'avance, a provocative album produced by Skread, that included 14 tracks, including besides the title track "Perdu d'avance", his debut hits "50 pour cent", "Changement", but also "Soirée ratée", "Différent", "No-life" with music video releases for all. "Entre bien et mal" featured collaboration from Gringe and "La peur de l'échec" from Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal.
End of 2009, Orelsan was nominated for "French revelation" for the Prix Constantin award. Internet voting also named him "Best french artist of the Year" to represent France at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
On 26 June 2010, he appeared in Skyrock's Planète Rap joining Jena Lee on the song "Je rêve en enfer" from her album Ma référence with Orelsan adding his punchlines in a version known as "Je rêve en enfer (Reste en enfer)" with rap additions by Orelsan. Also in 2010, Orelsan collaborated with Nessbeal in "Ma grosse" and in project Diversidad joining a great number of rappers from various Euiropean countries. His work appeared in the collective album of Diversidad called Diversidad – The Experience Album.
He collaborated with The Toxic Avenger on "N'importe comment"  that gave way to three music videos, a single, a maxi single containing remixes, all on the Roy Music label.
In September 2010, during an interview with Canal Street, Orelsan announced that he was working on his new album that would come out in 2011.
In May 2011, he released "RaelSan", as a first a pre-release and first single from the new album set for September 2011 entitled Le chant des Sirènes. A second track from the album called "Double vie" was made available through YouTube and Skyrock. July to September 2011 saw the release of three more tracks, "Plus rien ne m'étonne" at end of July, "1990" as a tribute to the 1990s with appearances by Oxmo Puccino, Olivier Cachin and members from 1995, released end of August and finally "Suicide social" released on 12 September. The album Le chant des sirènes was released on 26 September 2011, with 16 tracks including in addition to the title track and the pre-releases, songs like "Mauvaise idée", "Finir mal" and designated hit single "La terre est ronde" in addition to "Ils sont cool" that featured Gringe. The album was certified gold peaking at #3 in the French Albums Chart. The song "La terre est ronde" taken from the album became a big hit for him reaching #9 in SNEP French Singles Chart.
In 2012, Orelsan won two awards in Victoires de la musique, one in the category "Rap and Urban Album of the Year" for his album Le chant des sirènes and for "Best Group or Artist Revelation" chosen by the public.
Controversy erupted involving some of Orelsan's work that included violent and misogynist lyrics particularly in "Saint Valentin" and "Sale pute" (the latter meaning Dirty whore in English).Neither song appeared on his debut album Perdu d'avance, but were made available online.
Many blog campaigns followed, demanding that he is banned from appearing at a scheduled gig at Printemps de Bourges. The campaign took a political turn with both the French Communist Party (PCF) and the French Socialist Party (PS) supporting the campaign. The Socialist Party claimed in a communiqué that the song included " a scandalous odious text that incited violence directly". It also supported to delist Orelsan from the schedule at Printemps de Bourges. French Secretary of State for Solidarity Valérie Létard considered "Sale Pute" sexist and violent and demanded that online sites retrieve the video from their sites. She also offered help to groupings that wanted to file a lawsuit based on article 24 of the law on freedom of the press, that forbids incitement to commit crimes.
Orelsan was taken aback by the controversy mentioning that the song existed for 2 years explaining in an interview with Planète Rap Mag: "In this song, I try to show how an impulsive drive can turn someone into a monster. I shot a clip where I am wearing a suit and tie and am drinking alcohol, to show that this is a fiction. In any case, I do apologize for the violence. The attitude of this character disgusts me, but I feel I am artistically representing the incident as hatred exactly as a film like A Clockwork Orange does." "In the story line, I have actually been deceived by my girlfriend, and I wanted to describe the impulse of rage that you can have in such times. This is not a misogynist text to the contrary". He added: "I admit that these lyrics [can] shock" and he apologized about it mentioning that he has not performed this song live for several months and that song is not available on his album Perdu d'avance. He added: "[However] whatever I said, I will always be less violent than the series broadcast on TF1, where a guy gets hit every five minutes for no reason."
The organizers of the festival Printemps de Bourges insisted on keeping Orelsan on the show scheduled for 25 April 2009 saying in a communique: "As outrageous as is the lyrics of this song, we have hired Orelsan as a young artist for an artistic performance noting that his album does not include this [particular] song. For this reason, we do not remove [the date for] Orelsan's performance as we are fulfilling our artistic choices. This French language hip hop album presents good texts that seem a perfect reflection of a 20-year old French generation, a bit lost and disillusioned."
Despite explanations, François Bonneau the president of the Regional Council of the Centre threatened financial reprisals against the festival if it didn't reconsider its decision. It also deducted a proportional part of its subvention to the festival. Orelsan did eventually appear in Printemps de Bourges despite the campaign.
The controversy had repurcussions elsewhere. When Les Francofolies de La Rochelle festival decided to ban Orelsan from performing Orelsan protested the intervention as censorship on artistic works. The singer Cali protested to the organizers including Jean-Louis Foulquier, who had accused Ségolène Royal of threats to stop the financial support.
Frédéric Lefebvre, the spokesman for Union pour un Movement Populaire (UMP) said that the matter was blown out of all proportion declaring that he supported the young artist's freedom of expression and denounced attempts of censorship by Ségolène Royal against him. Ségolène Royal denied any "chantage" or threats expressing her satisfaction that the organizers had decided to cancel Orelsan's gig. On 14 July 2009, French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand made a declaration of support for the rapper for freedom of expression judging the whole controversy ridiculous. Many artists also came to Orelsan's support.
Many French radio stations have censored at times Orelsan's songs due to protests from feminists and others and the media have dubbed him the "Eminem of French rap".
In 2004, Orelsan formed a music duo with his colleague Gringe. The formation was called Casseurs Flowters. With aid from a third colleague Skread, in 2004 they released Fantasy: Episode 1 with 11 tracks (fr:Fantasy Mixtape).
Gringe released additional independent materials, notably the 2009 mixtape Fantasy Mixtape. He also collaborated with a number of artists like El Matador, Brasco, Pit Baccardi, La Province, Jamal, Nubi. "Ce qui nous est du" featured artists included Oxmo Puccino, Akhenaton, Nubi, El Matador & Brasco. Orelsan in his turn released an EP titled Zéro EP with 14 tracks that included five featuring his work in Casseurs Flowters, namely "Arretes", "Toc Toc", "Mauvaise Onde", "Venu pour flowter" and "J'vais baiser ta femme".
In 2013, Orelsan, following his success with album Le chant des sirènes and single "La terre est ronde" has revitalized the duo with their first major single release being "Bloqué" in 2013.
The duo released their 19 track album Orelsan et Gringe sont les Casseurs Flowters in 2013.
|2009||Perdu d'avance||20||64||—||Sales : 10,000+|
|2011||Le chant des sirènes||10||3||32||Sales : 100,000+|
|2011||"RaelSan"||77||—||—||Le Chant des sirènes|
|"Plus rien ne m'étonne"||46||—||35|
|"La terre est ronde"||9||15||—|
|2012||"Ils sont cools" (feat. Gringe)||66||—||31|
*Did not appear in the official Belgian Ultratop 50 charts, but rather in the bubbling under Ultratip charts.
- Other songs
- 2006: "Ramen"
- 2006: "Sauf si c'est pas une métaphore"
- 2007: "Saint Valentin" (feat. Gringe)
- 2007: "Sale pute"
- 2007: "Sous influence"
- 2008: "Bounce"
- 2008: "Egotrips et Freestyles"
- 2010: "N'importe comment" (feat. The Toxic Avenger)
- 2010: "Bouge ta ficelle" (feat. The Toxic Avenger)
- 2010: "Ma grosse" (feat. Nessbeal)
- 2010: "Je rêve en enfer" (feat. Jena Lee)
- 2011: "Tu vas prendre cher" (feat. La Fouine)
- 2011: "La machine" (feat. Luce)
- Featured in
(Professor Green feat. Orelsan)
(Stromae with Maître Gims and Orelsan)
Orelsan Appearances / Featured in
- in Diversidad
- "The Experience" (feat. Orelsan, Curse, Marcus Price, Frenkie, Valete, Pitcho, Nach, Mariama, MC Melodee, Remi and Shot, Rival)
- "We Don't Sleep" (feat. Marcus Price, Pitcho, Nach, Remi, Orelsan)
- "Un nouveau monde" (feat. Abd al Malik, Orelsan, Curse, Luche)
- "Cookin in Your Pot" (feat. Orelsan, Marcus Price, Mariama, Frenkie, Luche, Mc Melodee)
- "Slow Down" (feat. Orelsan, Rival, Valette, Shot, Frenkie)
- "D.P.M.O Don't Piss Me Off" (At Your Inconvenience)(Professor Green feat. Orelsan)
- "Tu vas prendre cher (Capitale du Crime 3) (La Fouine feat. Orelsan)
- "Herbes de province remix" (Sixième sens) (feat. Orelsan, Gringe, Meven, Bouchées, Doubles, Kalash l'Afro, 20Syl, Prince d'Arabee, Mahooni)
- "La Machine" (feat. Luce) (2011)
- "Quittez-moi" (feat. Lexicon et 2080) (2011)
- "Tu t'en fous" (Un bon son pour une bonne cause) (Apash feat. Orelsan, Gringe, Specta, Nikkfurie)
- "Can I Kick It" #2 - Freestyle / Orelsan
- "La boîte à rap" (Le Grand JD)
- "J'aime les licornes" (Le Grand JD)
Discography: Casseurs Flowters
(duo of Orelsan & Gringe )
(for details, see discography section of Casseurs Flowters)
- EPs / Mixtapes
- 2004: Fantasy : Episode 1
- 2013: Orelsan et Gringe sont les Casseurs Flowters
- 2013: "Bloqué"
- Stéphanie Binet (17 February 2009). "Orelsan, le rap à plat". Libération. Retrieved 21 March 2012. (in French)
- "Orelsan est le meilleur artiste français - Notre vainqueur aux MTV Europe Music Awards 2009". MTV. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2012. (in French)
- Official website of Diversidad
- Alice Antheaume (26 March 2009). "Le rappeur de Caen est programmé au Printemps de Bourges. Un scandale, estiment des blogueuses...". 20 minutes. Retrieved 22 March 2012. (in French)
- Chloé Leprince. "Orelsan : la controverse court toujours... malgré les précédents". Rue89. Retrieved 21 March 2012. (in French)
- Pierre Siankowski. "Privé de Francos, Orelsan veut rencontrer Frédéric Mitterrand". Rue89. Retrieved 21 March 2012. (in French)
- AFP (12 July 2009). "L'UMP proteste contre la déprogrammation d'Orelsan et s'en prend à Royal". Le Parisien. Retrieved 22 March 2012. (in French)
- Deborah Finding (31 March 2009). "French rapper Orelsan's onslaught on women prompts outrage". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Henry Samuel (20 March 2009). ""French Eminem" apologises for "violent" rap". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- Charts in France: Orelsan : un nouvel album des Casseurs Flowters avec Gringe! (French)
- Morgane Giuliani (3 July 2013). "Orelsan et Gringe signent le retour de Casseurs Flowters avec Bloqué" (in French). Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- LesCharts.com: Colonel Reyel page
- LesCharts.com: Colonel Reyel page