What a crazy end of the year for Angèle, the 26-year-old Belgian pop singer, model and actress from Uccle, a small town in the Bruxelles region: a new documentary about her on Netflix; the surprise-yet-seemingly-intentional leak of her long-awaited second album Nonante-Cinq [95, in Belgian] for her birthday on December 3rd, one week earlier than expected (its title refers to the year she was born); her face on a huge digital billboard in Times Square for the occasion. On top of all this, she had Covid this month.
Angèle was raised in an artistic family by the actress Laurence Bibot and the singer Marka, both successful in Belgium. Her 29 year-old brother, Romeo Elvis, is a famous rapper in the country. Angèle spent most of her childhood playing the piano in the living-room. A bit shy as a teenager, her former babysitter noticed her talent right away. She encouraged Angèle to get out there by singing in bars in Bruxelles, and it was there that she was discovered. In 2018, Angèle released her first album at 23: Brol. It was a triumph in European French-speaking countries. It included her smash hit, “Balance Ton Quoi” [Denounce your What], which immediately became an overnight sensation and a feminist anthem against everyday sexism. In 2019, she became one of the few Chanel muses. In 2020, she worked with Dua Lipa on Fever, and joined Lady Gaga’s One World Covid Concert, along with Beyoncé and Billie Eilish. In 2021, she started a career in cinema with an appearance in Annette alongside Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver.
Angèle sings, writes her own songs, and plays the piano. The contrast between her soft French voice and the fast-paced, modern beats of her music makes her unique in the world. Angèle also stands out for the great creativity of her videos, as they are always colorful, humorous and candid. In Tout oublier [Forgetting everything], she unpredictably goes to the beach in a ski outfit. In Je veux tes yeux [I want your eyes], she sets up a mesmerizing game of closeups on multiple eyes, as well as on her own mouth.
Angèle’s songs cover topics that can, or should, speak to anyone: money, social media, jealousy, being single, and violence towards women. Her song Balance ton quoi refers to the #MeToo movement by encouraging women to open up about their abusers. In its incisive music video, she plays a coach of an “Anti-Sexism Academy”, who educates perpetrators on how to respect women.
As a public figure, being authentic is dear to Angèle’s heart. In her Instagram stories, she shows the normality of her everyday life, walking her dog or watching TV with no makeup. Angèle is likewise very real when communicating about her private life. She opens up about her anxiety, the permanent tinnitus she suffers from, and her coming-out as a bi-sexual in 2020. In this regard, she wrote the song Ta Reine [Your Queen] on the difficult acceptance of female homosexuality in society.
Angèle sings of burning themes that youth, women, or the LGBT community can deeply relate to. But her fan base is growing. She is now one of the rare French-speaking artists who is developing projects internationally despite the language barrier. For these reasons, Angèle seems to be on the verge of conquering the world with her intimate-yet-universal new album written at the beginning of the pandemic, Nonante-Cinq.