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“I believe I am a musical impressionist,” says Camille Dalmais, who goes by her first name only and who can use her voice to mimic a whistling kettle, running water, footsteps on snow, jingling coins and a crackling fire. But rather than using her gift for gags, the singer-songwriter is intellectualizing France’s popular music scene one tongue click and microphone splutter at a time. “Music is about sound and sound is about being human,” says Dalmais, 30. “There is something very neurological about music.”
This story first appeared in the March 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
AWARD WINNER: Dalmais’ second album, Le Fil, released in 2005, went gold with over 500,000 copies sold internationally. In 2006, she won Best New Act and Best New Album at Les Victoires de la Musique, the French equivalent of the Grammys.
FASHION PHILOSOPHY: “I need to feel comfortable, my body is in constant movement, especially when I perform,” says Dalmais, who teams Comme des Garçons and Hussein Chalayan pieces with a selection of vintage finds.
INSPIRATIONS: Ray Charles, Gregorian chants, folk music.
UP NEXT: Her third album, Music Hole, will be released in Europe on April 7. “It’s a soundscape,” says Dalmais, who composed most of the record’s songs in English. “I tried to mix the storytelling, ‘chansons’ feel from musicals with something more tribal: body percussions, minimalist trance and throat singing.” Dalmais tours Europe this summer.