36 hours in Paris
BY JEAN-MICHEL DE ALBERTI
hen her deep, throaty tones hit the airwaves in the song La Grenade in 2018, Clara Luciani won over Paris – swiftly followed by the rest of France – in just a few months, packing out concert venues and taking home an award from the French equivalent of the Grammys.
With hints of Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Legrand and Françoise Hardy in a musical mix that feels very now, her album Sainte-Victoire is a direct descendant of la chanson française, and listeners love it: with over 200,000 copies sold, it has now gone double platinum. Luciani, who cites the Beatles as a major influence, knows Paul McCartney’s musical evolution inside-out and names George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass as one of her main inspirations. Both a woman of her times and an old soul, she moved to Paris at 19 and credits the city with her creative “rebirth” as it both inspired and encouraged her to find her place on the contemporary French music scene.
Born in the South of France near Marseilles, Luciani never imagined when she was growing up that one day she would be able to make a living from her music. She took her first steps in the industry as a singer for the group La Femme after meeting the band at a concert in Cannes and sang with them on the eponymous La Femme and It’s Time to Wake Up. The band encouraged her to make the move to the French capital, and she set out to meet as many people on the Paris music scene as she could. Luciani was soon called upon to open concerts for French stars like Raphael and Benjamin Biolay, casting herself as a name to watch and something of a modern-day Patti Smith, both musically and in her timelessly chic style, which elegantly sidesteps trends with a touch of androgyny in a way that only Parisians can pull off.
Striking out on her own
listen to "Sainte victoire"
Seeing Paris through Luciani’s eyes offers up a much gentler version of the French capital.