Stromae, real name Paul Van Haver, is arguably the hottest act in francophone music today. And he’s coming to Vancouver for one night only. Racine Carrée, his second album, is a massive hit in his native country and even made it into the Canadian charts. In the video for his latest single, “Carmen,” a cartoon Stromae and his accompanying “Tweeter” bird are followed through the darker side of social media. Live, the 30-year-old is a force to be reckoned with.
Last time he toured, Stromae was backed by a four-piece band who, like the Belgian Maestro, have a penchant for the dramatic. Dressed like schoolboys, Stromae and his band fuse EDM with rap and a bit of acting. The music, and the live shows, are not easy to pigeonhole. The backing band play electronic drums and synths, and blend bits and loops from everything and everywhere, including Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen into a hypnotic hip hop beat. Live, Stromae takes center stage where his spindly body twists and turns to the music while he raps and creates exaggerated facial expressions. He creates an entirely unique character for each of his songs and watching him perform them is mesmerizing.
Stromae has sold more than 3.5 million albums worldwide, with his breakout single “Papaoutai” breaking the 240-million mark on YouTube/VEVO, while also reaching #1 on iTunes in 18 different countries.
Since the video’s premiere on March 31st, the video, which was directed by visionary French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet [The Illusionist, Paris, je t’aime] has been watched 5 million times and counting.