The electronic duo Daft Punk were big winners at the Grammy Awards Sunday night.
They took home album of the year for "Random Access Memories" and won in three other categories. This makes them the first French music group to bring home four Grammys in one night.
And for the first time many music fans in the US are learning that this popular duo are indeed French. Daft Punk's two stars didn't speak, but co-winner Pharrell Williams guessed it correctly when he said, "Honestly, I bet France is really proud."
Yep, because France no longer needs to bear the cross of Johnny Hallyday and some of its dubious pop music achievements.
Robert Singerman ran the French Music Export Office from 2004 to 2009, essentially pushing French music in North America.
He thinks, the reputation of French music in the US isn’t too bad at the moment.
“It was good before Johnny Hallyday, who is an imitation of American music, really. French music has been doing well on television, advertising, film, and the dance floor,” he says.
Daft Punk has been fostering trans-Atlantic collaboration as well. Williams, a rapper and record producer, is into this French connection.
“Pharell Williams is a very astute person,” Singerman says. “He understands the world in a different way. But, remember, people like Georgio Moroder or Paul Williams also understand the potential success and relevance of working with someone like Daft Punk. It doesn’t really matter that they’re French.”
Singerman says Daft Punk works incredibly hard and is deserving of the Grammy recognition. He recalls one specific example of just how much work the duo puts in.
“They got a pretty substantial fee for their headline appearance at Coachella, but unlike some other artists they spend almost as much as they received on the show itself, on the sound, the production, the lights, and the stage show,” Singerman says.