Music

Women who speak out celebrated at France's "Victoires de la musique" awards

French singer Claire Pommet aka Pomme (R) receives the Best Female Artist award during the 36th Victoires de la Musique at the Seine Musicale concert hall near Paris.
French singer Claire Pommet aka Pomme (R) receives the Best Female Artist award during the 36th Victoires de la Musique at the Seine Musicale concert hall near Paris. © AFP/Bertrand Guay
4 min

Pomme, a singer with sensitive lyrics, who this week spoke out against sexual abuse in the industry was crowned Best Female artist of the year at the 36th annual French music awards. In the new talent category, Yseult, dazzled the scene with her message tackling the taboo of body shape and acceptance of one's origins.

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Due to the Covid-19 health crisis, the 36th Victoires de la musique took place on Friday evening in a strange atmosphere without any audience, at the Seine Musicale concert hall in Boulogne-Billancourt, on the outskirts of Paris.

However, nearly 200 extras were present in the hall to applaud the artists' performance.

Pomme, the voice of the #MeToo movement in music, won Best Female Artist, her second Victoire, after her album Les Failles won a prize last year.

She was up against rap singer Aya Nakamura, currently the most listened-to French artist in the world.

#MusicToo

This trophy is a big spotlight on the #MeToo movement, still in its infancy in the music industry and named #Musictoo.

Pomme described her "arrival in the music industry" as "traumatic" in an open letter published Thursday by the online medium Mediapart. "From the age of 15 to 17, I was manipulated, morally and sexually harassed, without being aware of it at the time of course," the 24-year-old artist said.

When she received her award on Friday, she wished for a "safer (music) industry for women", hoping that they could "overturn the codes" of the business.

Also speaking out for women, and in particular women of colour, was Yseult, who won Best New Female Talent award.

"There is still a long way to go for women, for black women, for fat women," commented Yseult.

The singer has always explained that she uses the colour of her skin and her body shape as a political weapon through her songs and videos.

Benjamin Biolay was awarded Best Male Artist and Best album for Grand Prix. At the age of 48, he has now won six awards. He didn't shy away from pointing out how hard the year has been for the culture industry in France due to the pandemic.

"It hasn't been a very winning year for music," said Biolay as he received his first trophy of the evening, the trophy for male artist.

He has openly criticized what he describes as the "deafening silence of the public authorities" towards the music industry in general, and of the stage in particular, weakened by the Covid-19 health crisis.

Benjamin Biolay receives the 5th Victory of his career from the hands of Jean Louis Aubert.
Benjamin Biolay receives the 5th Victory of his career from the hands of Jean Louis Aubert. © RFI / Edmond Sadaka

Jane Birkin gets career award

Mais je t'aime, by Grand Corps Malade and Camille Lellouche, was named best song.

The Victory of Best new Male Talent came to Hervé. The best video clip was won by Julien Doré, for Nous, with his two mischievous dinosaurs.

The ceremony, regularly accused of snubbing the big sellers of the moment - from urban music - also highlighted the most streamed title (more than 101 million times) between December 2019 and November 2020, Ne reviens pas, by Gradur and Heuss L'Enfoiré.

Among the other prizes awarded was the Victory of Honour awarded to Jane Birkin for her entire career.

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