Zaz, a rising star in French music


Zaz, bête de scène
Zaz, born to be on stage

(unknown photographer)
Today, I would like to introduce you to a very special young lady. Her name is Isabelle Geffroy, but in France and in Europe, she is known as “Zaz.”

Zaz became a “Star” just three years ago, but she has been involved in music her whole life. She was born in the center of France, near Tours. When she was a child, she joined the renowned Tours music academy where she studied the violin, the piano, the guitar and singing. She is only 11 when she leaves the academy, but she will keep working hard at her art over the next few years, more noticeably in Bordeaux. She claims she was inspired by Vivaldi; jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald; French singers such as Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour; Jacques Brel; Bobby Mc Ferrin, and she loves rap, afro, latino, and cuban music. Drawing from a variety of styles and influences, she has created her own sound. They refer to it as “Zaz’s gypsy jazz sound.” Maybe. To me, her music is unique, inspired and… happy! Let me warn you, her tunes are catchy and addictive.

Here is her breakthrough single, “Je Veux” (I Want.) Zaz is not a materialistic girl and she wants the world to know!

There she is, singing in the streets, with a couple of musicians. Does she remind you of someone? Zaz has often been compared to the great Edith Piaf, who started as a street performer. Like Piaf, Zaz is renowned for her “gouaille,” a cheeky, outspoken way of expressing herself. While still an unknown singer, I suspect she did justice to all of the great Piaf’s songs, but also infused them with her own style and personality.

Zaz, “une personnalité” (a “character”)
(Unknown photographer)
Even though she looks barely 20, Zaz is in her early 30s and has been performing with small bands all over Europe for years. She is full of life, passionate, [admittedly] loud; loves the stage, and in spite of appearances (she makes it all look so easy,) is a hard worker.

Zaz on stage
(unknown photographer)
Her voice is unique. Husky, broken at times, but powerful. The girl also has rhythm. She can imitate the sound of a trumpet like there is no tomorrow. As a side note, like me, she enjoys walking in city streets and people-watch. Here is another favorite song: Les Passants (the Passers-by.) This is a live version, just Zaz and two musician friends, performing in Paris near Montmartre.

If you look up Zaz’s videos on YouTube, you will notice there are many versions of her songs, both official videos and live sessions, recorded in concert or in the street. Often, comments are written by fans based in Greece or in Eastern Europe, Russia for example. That is because she toured extensively in those countries before she made it to the big leagues. She also performed (primarily in small venues) in Egypt and Japan. Now that she is famous, she continues to tour in France and around Europe. According to her official website, Zaz will be in Germany this spring.

Here is the official version of my favorite Zaz song: “La Fée” (the Fairy.) I heard this is an amateur video a father shot of his young children (both Zaz fans, apparently.) He sent it to the singer, who loved and adopted it. The words in the song are somewhat mysterious, and it starts like this: “Moi aussi, j’ai une fée chez moi...” (I have a fairy in my house, too…)

Zaz, if you are reading this, when are you coming to Seattle? I know you prefer performing in small venues, and I think I have just the place for you! Check this out: You, too, could perform at the venerable Paramount Theatre, a local landmark. Imagine your name up there, in big letters! I will bring a crowd, that’s a promise! The Pacific Northwest could use some of your contagious joie de vivre this time of year. Think about it, d’accord?

Paramount Theatre, Seattle WA
French Girl and les Girls, Mamma Mia,
Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA 3/24/2012
An experienced musician and performer, Zaz still only has a couple of albums out. Here is her breakthrough CD, released in 2010.

I have also heard of a Live album but have not listened to it yet. It is featured on her website.

In 2010, she officially became France’s favorite female performer, and the rumor has it her concerts sell out in a few hours. She is courted by renowned TV shows, where she appears on occasion, a bit shy, but true to her style, and often performs with more established French artists. I saw her recently in an interview with renowned French composer and singer Pierre Perret. She did more than hold her own! The song is Perret’s moving “Mon P’tit Loup.” (My little darling.) Beautiful.

And here she is. 32 years old. Une étoile qui monte (a rising star,) in European music. I listen to Zaz a lot. She is French, but also a citizen of the world, because her music incorporates so many styles and cultures. No wonder she has such a widespread appeal. Respectful of the past and her idols, Zaz also looks forward and creates a brand new sound. From now on, the sky is the limit! If you don’t know her yet, do yourself a favor, and download her music. You will not be regret it.

A bientôt.

For those of you who speak French, this website lists the words of all Zaz songs on the 2010 “Je Veux” album, as well as the video clips. Enjoy!

All right. If you insist. There is always an Encore, after all. So, for those of you who have not had enough, voilà two more video clips.

Zaz sings Edith Piaf:  During a French TV show, she interprets “Padam-Padam” for the audience and French singer Veronique Sanson.

Zaz chante Edith Piaf: “La Vie en Rose.” Check out the talented, happy girl in action!

A bientôt.

Dear readers:

If you enjoy exploring France and French culture like a native, consider signing up for la Mailing List to receive exclusive travel stories first via email, or join me daily on Facebook and Instagram.

What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comment section below, (I love reading your messages and reply to most.) Don’t be selfish and share with a friend! Merci. Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)


  • Merci de partager cette vrai musicienne! Je peut ecoute l’influence de McFerrin qui j’adore. Connais tu la chanteuse franchise Camielle aussi?

  • Coucou, effectivement, pas de liste à jour sur ma sidebar depuis 3 semaines maintenant. Et pas de solution connue..
    Pour une fois, nos avis divergent. Autant je te suis à fond sur Mamma Mia, autant je te laisse Zaz. Pas ma tasse de thé.Je te souhaite une excellente semaine, et t’envoie un peu de soleil que je joints à ce commentaire!(au moins virtuellement, avant le vrai)

    • Ah, notre premiere “brouille,” Malyss! — Je plaisante. Pas de souci. Tous les gouts sont dans la nature, dit-on… Et, au fait, merci pour ce rayon de soleil. J’en avais bien besoin. Je crois que je vais installer un compteur sur le blog: “J – xxx avant Nice” – Chouette, non? 😉

  • The video with kids is irresistible.
    Love Zaz for a couple of years and discovered her accidentally. Her record was playing while the passengers were boarding flight Paris-Toronto. She is so genuine and unpretentious and original. Thank you.

  • Salut Véronique! I decided to drop by as I hadn’t had any new posts from you on my dashboard and I was curious – just as well as I see you have had some problems with it. Anyway – great post about Zaz. As you know I’m a huge fan and listening to her music is always so uplifting.

  • Dearest Véronique,

    So sorry to read that you still have not solved the Blogger problem. Did you double-check your Publishing link, that it is under you ‘main’ blog name and not the latest blog? If I do right click on French Girl in Seatle, the latest blog shows. When I right click on my own than the main page opens and my newest post shows up on the side bar. Just try this again…
    Zaz does have some talent and she’s so down to earth! Hope she will hold her own for quite some time to come.
    Love to you,


    • Dearest Mariette: Thank you so much. You have been so kind and helpful during the whole Blogger debacle. I am glad you enjoyed Zaz and her music. I will email you tonight to let you know what happened…

  • Voilà un reportage très intéressant sur une chanteuse que je ne connaissais pas.
    Bonne journée, Véronique, en espérant que ton printemps est aussi beau que celui d’Antibes.

    • Merci Richard. Désolée de reporter que le printemps est loin d’être arrivé à Seattle… Nous avons l’habitude et nous estimerons heureux si les temperatures remontent avant la mi-juillet! Je crois que tu apprecierais Mademoiselle Zaz. Elle est charmante et très douée!

  • I was ignorant of Zaz – she has a wonderful tone and strength in her voice. I will be adding her to my collection of French CD’s……too old for the online purchasing thing!

    • Dearest Mariette. I can’t thank you enough for all your support and technical help over the last few weeks. I will not forget your kindness. It looks like, thanks to Le Husband, we are now in the clear, hopefully for a while. I agree with you: What a huge waste of time! Hugs to you and Georgia!

  • Zaz has got a great voice and an incredible smile, so cute!

    I’m sorry to hear about your problems with Blogger. You have my sympathy because I had a lot of trouble with my feed at the back end of last year too.
    In the end I got so exasperated I actually deleted my blog and started again.
    Glad to hear you’ve sorted things out!

  • I loooooove this post!! Fantastic write-up, Veronique. I had never heard of Zaz before and I’m so pleased I know about her now. Her voice is wonderful. I listened to all these videos, by the way. Haha. She has a very smoky yet whimsical tone to her voice. It’s very unique. I think my favorite song is the fairy one. I’m going to have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day now. Well, the beat at least. I don’t know the lyrics. 😛

    • Oh no. The fairy song is completely addictive. Really hard to get out of your head once you have listened to it a couple of times. I should have warned you! 😉 You can go to that website I mentioned for the lyrics. They are a little strange and I am not sure I understand them 😉

  • PS. Congrats on getting the blog roll thing fixed! I wish I could have offered help. I asked two people I thought would know, but they had no idea. How did you end up getting it fixed???

    • It was a feed problem. Le Husband fixed it last night. Thank you for trying to help. Most people were clueless, still it appears to be a common issue on Blogger. I am lucky Fred got rid of the problem, but how frustrating!

  • It’ so late here in Perth but I couldn’t not listen to Zaz, how fabulous is she!! I love her jazzy style, I haven’t heard ‘scatting’ in French before, tres groovy! I think Edith Piaf would have thoroughly enjoyed her version of La vie en Rose, so good! We still have a few small music stores here in Perth that sell international music so will see if I can find her CD OR even better I’ll get Aimee to download it pour moi, merci beaucoup Veronique et bon nuit!

    • Ah, Zaz kept you up, then, Grace! 😉 Downloading her songs might be the easiest way to go. Let me know what you think once you have listened to all her songs. ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL AUSTRALIAN SUMMER (I wish!)

  • She is a girl after my own heart. Thanks for sharing. She reminds me of Pink a little…maybe her raspy voice and maybe a little of her attitude. Fun post…now let me go listen to more of her songs. =) Bon weekend!

  • My husband said that you were in the shop today and loved it. Thank you and I would have liked to meet you..maybe next time. Nice blog!

    • Bonjour Annie. I stopped by today indeed, and had a fabulous time in your shop! I took pictures of some favorite things and will be showing them on Le Blog soon if that is all right with you! Eddie is a sweetheart! (and your husband very friendly too! 😉 A bientot!

  • Oh I love hearing about Zaz. I especially liked “Padam, Padam”. When I was in Paris last January, the singers and dancers on rue Mouffetard sang that song. Thank you for introducing me to this delightful new voice from France.

  • I have come here to check for your answer, but I haven’t found my comment! In the last few months, this has happened the second time. I really love Zaz; I have been listening to her on YouTube for several years.

  • Ohhhh, i love this post, because i love ZAZ too! The funny thing is that i loved her before my move in France. And this is strange because the french music isn’t so common abroad, particularly in Italy.

    Anyway, i love her voice. My favorite song is obviously the happy “Je veux”, but also “Eblouie Par La Nuit”, that instead is really sad.

    I love special and unusual voices. For example now in France have a new young star, that is “coeur de pirate”. A really special and sweet voice. Do you know her?


  • Veronique, loved your blog! Love ZAZ, she’s amazing, too! You’re involved with four of my passions in life: English, French, music and traveling. What’s not to like about your blog. Congratulations!!!
    Have you ever heard of Anne Limpscomb? She’s also from Seattle and, due to a health condition, lives part-time in Paris every year. I also love her videos and blog.

  • Bonjour Veronique, j’adore votre blog! I realize this is an older post but I found it because I was looking for Zaz…I love French music and I think she’s great ! I’ve been studying French language for two years in anticipation of a long vacation in France later this year. I hope to read more of your stories here ! Merci beaucoup !

    Jetgirl visiting via Forty, c’est Fantastique

  • i listened to her song at the end of the Movie ” Dead Man Down” and since then cannot stop to listen to here songs, on you tube, day and night, ever since.

  • I only discovered Zaz at the beginning of the pandemic but her music and infectious personality (bad word choice, I know) have carried me through this mess. A couple of hours a Zaz per day is all the salve I need to stay sane. When the COVID era is over, I’m going to Paris at the first opportunity to see a live Zaz show in the city that she pays homage to in so many songs.

  • Eblouie Par La Nuit. Again, again, again, again…. then the others written by Raphael… then back to Eblouie Par La Nuit. Zaz, inceíble

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