Nolwenn Leroy

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Nolwenn Leroy
Nolwenn Leroy 2013.jpg
Leroy attending the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, France on January 26, 2013
Background information
Birth name Nolwenn Le Magueresse
Born (1982-09-28) 28 September 1982 (age 32)
Saint-Renan, France
Genres Pop, world, Celtic
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 2002 – present
Labels Universal International
Mercury France
Website Official Website

Nolwenn Leroy (born Nolwenn Le Magueresse; 28 September 1982 in Saint-Renan, Brittany, France), is a French singer-songwriter, musician and voice actress. Originally classically trained, she rose to fame after winning the second season of the French television music competition Star Academy, in 2002. She has since recorded five studio albums and scored two number one singles, "Cassé" and "Nolwenn Ohwo!", on the French charts.[1] In 2012, her album Bretonne was certified two times diamond for sales exceeding one million copies.[2]

Leroy has received numerous awards and nominations. In January 2015, she was ranked 17th on Le Journal du Dimanche's 50 Most Loved Celebrities in France, making her the top female singer on the list since December 2012.[3][4]

Leroy is fluent in English, having spent a year in Ohio as an exchange student. She sings in many languages, including French, Breton, English and Irish Gaelic. She has also performed in Italian and Spanish.

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Leroy's parents left Saint-Renan (Finistère) when she was four years old. After living in Paris, Lille, and Guingamp, her mother, Muriel Leroy, and her younger sister, Kay, settled with Leroy's grandparents in Saint-Yorre. Her mother divorced from her father, professional footballer Jean-Luc Le Magueresse, in 1993.[5]

Nolwenn studied at the "Collège des Célestins" in Vichy. When Leroy was eleven, her music teacher noticed her musical talents and encouraged her to learn the violin. At the age of thirteen she won "Les écoles du désert", a contest sponsored by the Cora supermarket chain, which allowed her to travel with a humanitarian mission from Gao to Timbuktu, Mali; she later claimed this had a profound influence on her.[5]

In July 1998, Leroy was awarded a scholarship by the Vichy Rotary Club to travel to Hamilton, Ohio, as an exchange student. While attending Hamilton High School, she took music lessons at the Performing Arts School and became fluent in English during her stay there.[5] When she returned to France, she began classical singing classes at the Vichy music conservatory. In 2001, she enrolled in the University of Clermont-Ferrand to study law for a potential alternative career to music.[5]

Career[edit]

2002: Star Academy[edit]

After watching the first series of Star Academy broadcast on TF1 in 2001, Leroy was impressed by Armande Altaï, a singing teacher and one of the show's judges, and decided to join Altaï's singing classes in Paris for over six months. In 2002, Nolwenn was selected for the second season of the show, but she was also given the part of Scarlett O'Hara in the French stage musical Autant en emporte le vent (Gone With The Wind) by Gérard Presgurvic.[5] Leroy finally chose the television singing competition over the musical and joined the Dammarie-lès-Lys castle in late August 2002, where she followed acting, dancing and singing classes for four months. She was declared the overall winner, ahead of her fellow finalist, Houcine Camara, on 21 December 2002.

2003–2004: Eponymous debut album[edit]

Leroy's first album, Nolwenn, was released in March 2003 and was certified platinum by November[6] for sales exceeding 300,000 copies.[7] In 2006, the album was certified two times platinum by the Syndicat national de l'édition phonographique (SNEP) for more than 600,000 copies sold.[8] Four songs from the album, "Cassé", "Une Femme cachée", "Suivre une étoile" and "Inévitablement" were released as singles. Leroy went on tour in France, Belgium and Switzerland in late 2003 to promote songs from the album.

2005–2008: Histoires Naturelles[edit]

Leroy's second album, Histoires Naturelles, was produced by Laurent Voulzy and Frank Eulry. Five singles were released from the album. "Nolwenn Ohwo!", co-written by Alain Souchon, Voulzy and Leroy herself, topped the French music charts.[9] The second single was the title track, "Histoire Naturelle". Music videos were made for both songs; the video for "Histoire Naturelle" expressed the main theme of the album with Leroy being portrayed as natural history museum exhibits. Of the other single releases, "Mon Ange" was distributed digitally while "J'aimais tant l'aimer" and "Reste Encore" were promotional-only. The album reached platinum status[10] with 400,000 copies sold.[11] Songs from Histoires Naturelles and Nolwenn were performed on Leroy's second tour entitled "Histoires Naturelles Tour", which started in September 2006. Leroy's first live album was subsequently released in late October 2007.

2009–2010: Le Cheshire Cat & Moi[edit]

Leroy performing at the 2010 Francofolies in Spa (Belgium).

Le Cheshire Cat & Moi was a project that began in 2007, co-written by Leroy and Teitur Lassen, with contributions from Jonatha Brooke, Michelle Featherstone, Mike Errico and Rupert Hine. It was arranged and produced by Lassen, and recorded in Sweden and the Faroe Islands. Leroy was observed to feature "a lighter sound than on previous releases"[12] and the album gave the opportunity for her to write all the lyrics.[5] The album was released in December 2009. A tour entitled "Le Cheshire Cat & Vous" to promote the record was held in 2010.

2010–2012: Bretonne[edit]

Leroy released a fourth studio album, Bretonne, on 6 December 2010. Cover versions of traditional Celtic songs such as "Mná na h-Éireann", "Tri Martolod", "La Jument de Michao", and contemporary songs such as Christophe Miossec's "Brest" were included on the album. Most of the songs related to Brittany, the singer's birthplace, four sung in Breton ("Tri Martolod", "Suite Sudarmoricaine", "Bro Gozh ma Zadoù", "Karantez Vro"), one in Irish ("Mná na h-Éireann"), and the others in French and English. Leroy collaborated with Jon Kelly for the musical arrangements.[13] The album topped the French album charts for 7 weeks and the Belgian album charts for 5 weeks.

The album was re-released in November 2011 as a Deluxe Edition which added 7 English language tracks, including "Amazing Grace", "Scarborough Fair" and two Mike Oldfield tracks, "Moonlight Shadow" and "To France". The American version of the album, retitled Nolwenn, was released on 8 January 2013 with a different track listing. Leroy made her New York City debut at Drom.[14]

2012–present: Ô Filles de l'Eau[edit]

Leroy performing "Brian Boru" with Alan Stivell at the Paris Olympia in France on February 16, 2012

Nolwenn Leroy released her fifth album on 26 November 2012, along with her leading single "Juste Pour Me Souvenir". The title reads 'O Daughters of the Water' but is phonetically identical to 'au fil de l'eau' ('with the current/flow'). Like Bretonne, it contains Celtic inspired music but with more ocean themed lyrics. The song "Homeland" sung in English, contains the James Horner composed theme of the film Braveheart. "Ahès" is the only Breton-language song of the album. Leroy wrote and co-composed 9 songs, including the singles "Juste pour me souvenir", "Sixième continent", "J'ai volé le lit de la mer" and "Ophélia".[15] The album cover was created by Australian artist Vee Speers, inspired by her portrait series, Immortal.[16]

Reviews of the album were strong, with some praising Leroy's vocal ability and Celtic music and lyrics, noting that her singing in English and Breton was brave and proved her to be an evolving artist, with strong sales to match. Two months after its release, the album was certified three times platinum by the SNEP.[17]

In early 2014, she was nominated at the World Music Awards for the first time, in four categories: World's Best Album (Bretonne), World's Best Entertainer, World's Best Female Artist, and World's Best Live Act.[18]

On May 3, 2014, Leroy performed the Breton anthem "Bro Gozh ma Zadoù" at the Stade de France before 80,000 spectators, for the 2014 Coupe de France Final (aired on France 2) opposing two Breton clubs, the Stade Rennais to EA Guingamp.[19]

Leroy's second live album, Ô Tour de L'Eau, was released on 1 December 2014.[20]

Medical research[edit]

Leroy's music was studied for its neurological impact in geriatric populations.[21][22][23] Researchers found that Leroy's recordings might have a more beneficial effect than other music, noting that: "the music of Nolwenn Leroy was found to be significantly superior to other music tested". To describe the phenomenon they coined the term the Nolwenn Effect, saying: "the music of Nolwenn Leroy appears to have a different effect on brain-based modulation of gait and stance than other music tested to date".

Mozart and Dutch and French singers were tested; only Mozart and Leroy's music were specified. The U.S. study was completed in February 2008, but no substantial results appear to be published.[24]

Endorsements[edit]

In 2011, Leroy appeared in two television commercials for the Nintendo 3DS and she became the face of Pantene for France[25] and Belgium.[26]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2006, she joined the charity ensemble Les Enfoirés and she became one of the Abbé Pierre Foundation's patrons[27] for housing people in need.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
FRA

[28]

BEL
(Wa)

[28]

SWI

[28]

GER

[29]

QC (Fr)

[30]

US (World)

[31]

KOR

[32]

KOR (Int)

[33]

2003 Nolwenn 1 1 2
2005 Histoires Naturelles 3 7 44
2009 Le Cheshire Cat et moi 26 32
2010 Bretonne 1 1 20 13 9 10 34 9
2012 Ô Filles de l'Eau 5 5 35 60

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
FRA

[28]

BEL
(Wa)

[28]

SWI

[28]

GER

[29]

2007 Histoires Naturelles Tour 25 21
2014 Ô Tour de l'Eau 26 36

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions[1][34] Album
FRA BEL
(Wa)
SWI
2003 "Cassé" 1 1 4 Nolwenn
"Une Femme Cachée" 40 23 78
"Suivre Une Étoile" 12 24 44
2004 "Inévitablement" 31 26
2005 "Nolwenn Ohwo !" 1 3 29 Histoires Naturelles
2006 "Histoire Naturelle" 30 39
"Mon Ange" 6*
(Ultratip)
2007 "J'aimais Tant L'Aimer"
"Reste Encore"
2009 "Faut-il, Faut-il Pas ?" 6*
(Ultratip)
Le Cheshire Cat et moi
2010 "Textile Schizophrénie"
"Suite Sudarmoricaine" 19*
(Ultratip)
Bretonne
"Mná na h-Éireann" 25*
(Ultratip)
"La Jument de Michao" 36 13
2011 "Tri Martolod" 51 29
"Brest" 42
"Moonlight Shadow" 48 32 Bretonne (Deluxe Edition)
2012 "Juste pour me souvenir" 43 13 Ô Filles de l'Eau
2013 "Sixième continent" 11*
(Ultratip)
"J'ai volé le lit de la mer" 4*
(Ultratip)

* Belgium Ultratip[35]
denotes releases that did not chart.

As featured artist[edit]

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Album
FRA BEL
(Wa)
SWI
2007 "Aimer à perdre la raison"
(with Les Enfoirés)
22 La Caravane des Enfoirés
"L'amitié"
(with Les Enfoirés)
7 Les secrets des Enfoirés
2012 "Without You"
(with Les Enfoirés)
91 49 Le bal des Enfoirés
"Attention au départ"
(with Les Enfoirés)
5 3 49 La boîte à musique des Enfoirés
2013 "Jeanne"
(with Les Enfoirés)
44 25
2014 "Laissez-nous chanter"
(with Les Enfoirés)
196 Bon anniversaire les Enfoirés
"Dès que le vent soufflera"
(collective)
96 14
(Ultratip)
La Bande à Renaud
"La ballade nord-irlandaise" 142

Soundtracks[edit]

Voice acting[edit]

Horse riding[edit]

Leroy owns a horse named El Aberkan. She showed her horse riding and jumping skills on unfamiliar horses a couple of times for French TV shows broadcast on France 2, including the 2011 Gala de l'Union des Artistes charity, alongside Alexis Grüss.[41]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2004 NRJ Music Awards Francophone Breakthrough of the Year Won
2006 Étoiles Chérie FM Étoile de la Sensibilité Won
Étoile Chérie FM Won
Song of the Year
for Mon Ange
Won
2007 Female Artist of the Year Won
France Bleu Talents Audience Choice Prize Won
2010 Le Télégramme Grand Prix du Disque
for Bretonne
Won
2011 Breton of the Year Won
Planète Musique Mag (France 2) Planète Musique Mag d'or Won
RTL - Metronews RTL Album of the Year
for Bretonne
Nominated
RTL - Le Parisien Person of the Year Won
2012 NRJ Music Awards Francophone Female Artist of the Year Nominated
Francophone Song of the Year
for Tri martolod
Nominated
Best-selling Francophone Album of the Year
for Bretonne
Won
Victoires de la Musique Female Artist of the Year Nominated
Globes de Cristal Best Female Act Nominated
Bro Gozh ma Zadoù Prix Bro Gozh ma Zadoù Won
2013 NRJ Music Awards Francophone Female Artist of the Year Nominated
Grands Prix de l'UNAC
(National union of songwriters and composers)
Grand Prix de l'UNAC
for the song Juste pour me souvenir
Won
RTL - Metronews RTL Album of the Year
for Ô filles de l'eau
Won
2014 World Music Awards World's Best Album
for Bretonne
Nominated
World's Best Entertainer Nominated
World's Best Female Artist Nominated
World's Best Live Act Nominated

Honours[edit]

The main belt asteroid 353232 Nolwenn was named after Leroy.[42]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Patrick Castells, Christophe Abramowitz (2005). Nolwenn Leroy. Télémaque, coll. Patrick Robin, 169 p. ISBN 2753300240.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nolwenn Leroy's Singles French Chart positions". lescharts.com. Retrieved 16 September 2007. 
  2. ^ "Nolwenn obtient son double disque de diamant pour Bretonne". nolwenn.org. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  3. ^ (French) "Jean-Jacques Goldman, Omar Sy et Jean Dujardin, personnalités préférées des Français". Ozap. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  4. ^ (French) "Le Top 50 des personnalités - Décembre 2012". Ifop. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Nolwenn Leroy". Radio France International. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Certifications Albums Platine – année 2003 [Platinum album certifications – year 2003]". Disque en France (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "France Lowers Gold Standard". Billboard. 26 July 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Certifications Albums Double Platine – année 2006 [Double-Platinum album certifications – year 2006]". Disque en France (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nolwenn Ohwo! – Chart performance"
  10. ^ (French) "Nolwenn Leroy - Biographie". TV5 Monde. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  11. ^ (French) "Joyeux Nolwenn". Le Soir. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  12. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Le Cheshire Cat et Moi". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Fourth Studio Album Release Information"
  14. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy NYC Debut". Drom. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  15. ^ (French) "Nolwenn Leroy. Chanson par chanson, elle commente son nouvel album". Le Télégramme. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  16. ^ (French) "Nolwenn Leroy se jette à l'eau sur son nouvel album". Culturebox. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  17. ^ (French) "Nolwenn Leroy avec son chignon haut façon bun à Paris". Plurielles. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Vote - Cast your vote". World Music Awards. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  19. ^ (French) "Coupe de France. Nolwenn Leroy chante le Bro gozh ma zadou". Ouest-France. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  20. ^ (French) "Nolwenn Leroy dévoile un nouvel extrait de son best-of live". RTL. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Fall Prevention in a Geriatric Nursing Home Setting Using the Music of Nolwenn Leroy" at ClinicalTrials.gov
  22. ^ "Study of the Effect of the Music of Nolwenn Leroy in Fall Prevention Strategies in Texas Nursing Homes" at ClinicalTrials.gov
  23. ^ "Fall Prevention Strategies Including Music and Posturography" at ClinicalTrials.gov
  24. ^ Falling over. The Guardian, online.
  25. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy : nouvelle égérie Pantene". Elle (in French). Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy, chanteuse et ambassadrice Pantène". Gael (in French). Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "Le Comité d'Amis et Parrains" (in French). Abbé Pierre Foundation's official website. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Nolwenn Leroy – Charts". Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "Nolwenn Leroy – Longplay-Chartverfolgung". Musicline.de (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  30. ^ "Palmarès des ventes de CD du 30 mai au 5 juin 2011 - Palmarès francophone [Top 10 Francophone Albums Chart in Quebec from May 30 to June 5, 2011]" (in French).  La Presse. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  31. ^ "World Albums Chart - January 26, 2013". Billboard. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  32. ^ "2013년 27주차 Album Chart - (2013.06.23~2013.06.29) [South Korea Physical Albums Chart]" (in Korean).  Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  33. ^ "2013년 27주차 Album Chart - (2013.06.23~2013.06.29) - 국의 [South Korea International Albums Chart]" (in Korean).  Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy's Singles Swiss Chart positions". lescharts.com. Retrieved 16 September 2007. 
  35. ^ "Belgian Singles Charts"
  36. ^ (German) "Der Soundtrack: Die Wanderhure - Best Of". Sat.1. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  37. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy, une adorable et merveilleuse fée qui entre dans la légende". PurePeople (in French). Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy, la nouvelle fée du Futuroscope". France Bleu (in French). Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  39. ^ "Nolwenn Leroy donne de la voix pour le cinéma". Première (in French). Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  40. ^ (French) "VIDEO. "Le Chant de la Mer", un conte celtique chanté par Nolwenn Leroy". Francetv info. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  41. ^ (French) "50ème Gala de l'Union des Artistes - 22 décembre". Nolwenn.org. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  42. ^ "353232 Nolwenn (2010 CB12) - JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jenifer Bartoli
Winner of
Star Academy France

2002
Succeeded by
Élodie Frégé

'