The Paris metro: this dark place where stress, the world, the smell of urine, and a violent draft mix. Doesn’t sound good, does it? However, by taking a little more time in these corridors, you might have the chance to attend live and in preview the concert of a future star of the song! Yes, yes, I swear. Many of the singers we all know today started out singing in the capital’s metro.
1. Edith Piaf
Well bam, we start with one of the biggest names in French song! Piaf was born into a very poor family. At 15, after following her father from traveling circus to traveling circus, she left her family home. It was then that she began to sing in the streets and the subways, then in the musette balls. Spotted by Louis Leplée, she joins the world of cabaret: it is the birth of the “Môme Piaf”. And the rest… You know it!
2. Ben Harper
If today the American guitarist and singer is successfully touring the world, he has also experienced difficult times. In the early 1990s, it was in the metro and the streets of Paris that he began to sing, when he was only 19 years old. First stop: the street. End: success. Style.
3. Keziah Jones
More than a place where he sang, it was in the corridors of the Châtelet station that a producer spotted the Nigerian singer in 1991. In the process, the artistic director of the Delabel label made him sign an album: the first of a long series, and numerous world tours. In 2008, he also returned to sing in the Paris metro, to promote his album “Nigerian Wood” in a symbolic place: the one where his career began. AH WOW GREAT, IT MUST HAVE BEEN PRACTICAL TO TAKE THE ESCALATOR HEIN.
4. Michel Polnareff
If I tell you: white sunglasses and blond curls, you immediately think of one and the same person… Polnareff. His name now rhymes with success (and with aircraft, spacecraft and benef), but that was not always the case. At 20, he left home and spent three winters outside. To live: he begs and sings, on the steps of the Sacred Heart as in the subways. On February 1, 1966, André Pousse noticed it. His career is launched!
Unlike the others, Renaud’s first experience was not in the street. In the early 1970s, he went on stage with Romain Bouteille’s troupe. It was after this first (short) experience that he decided to sing in the Paris metro, to confront the public. Yeah, a few decades ago, you could have come across Renaud and his accordionist in the halls of Répu’!
6. Dany Brilliant
Let me guess… He’s your grandmother’s pet (or even lover)? It’s normal, it’s the crush of all the grannies in France! Well, granny doesn’t know it, but she may have already met the man of her dreams in the Paris metro, without even noticing him… Yes, Dany sang in the trains and in the corridors of the metro, especially Miromesnil station , in the mid-1980s! Bright.
7. Jean-Louis Auber
This is also why the “Auber” station bears his name! In memory of the day when Jean-Louis sang there… NO, IT WAS A JOKE! Hihihihi. Got you good, huh? Nevertheless, Auber and his acolytes still started in the Paris metro, but no longer near the République. Moreover, the very first song of Telephone is called… “Metro, it’s too much”!
8. Alain Souchon
The one we all confuse with Laurent Voulzy, even though he’s not Laurent Voulzy (logical, since he’s Souchon…) also started by performing in the metro before going on stage. In 1985, the video clip for “C’est comme vous Vous” was filmed in the capital’s underground network.
9. Francis Lalanne
And this time too, it was in the halls of the châtelet that the singer with the guitar and the (very) long hair started singing, at the end of the 1970s. Since then, he has released several albums, written books, doubled the voice of Quasimodo in the cartoon, participated in Nice People, An almost perfect dinner and Fort Boyard, was a candidate for the 2007 legislative elections in the second district of Bas-Rhin, supported the movement of yellow vests and was judged “conspiratorial” by several media after calling for “civil disobedience” in the context of the covid pandemic. A hectic life, in short.
After singing in a cabaret, every evening from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., the singer decides to drop everything to… Go and sing in the street, and in the metro. On the other hand, it is not there that she was discovered by producers, but by responding to an ad from songwriter Kerredine Soltani. He writes her “I want”, the song that makes her break through, for our greatest happiness….. (I’m kidding, hehe. It’s in my top 10 insupp songs that stays in my head all day.) Among the others “recent” artists who started in the Parisian basement: Claudio Capéo, spotted by a caster from “The Voice” in 2016, while singing in a station.
This large number of underground musicians gave the RATP an idea: in 1997, it created the “Musiciens du métro” label, and organized auditions twice a year to choose the artists who would perform on the Île-de-France network. . On arrival: 300 selected, for around 1,000 auditioned. If places are expensive, it’s because with 303 stations, 16 lines and 5 million passengers per day, the Paris metro is the biggest alternative scene in the country! You see that there are good reasons to like (a little) this public transport.