She sings in French, but Yelle’s addictive pop melodies and electro beats haven’t been lost in translation. The North American leg of the Paris-based electro-pop act’s tour started strong at Coachella on April 16 in a sunset performance. The crowd worked itself up into a dance-floor frenzy, not to mention Yelle’s fruit-punch coloured skintight cheetah-print catsuit, designed for her by Brian Lichtenberg, landed her on Nylon’s Best Dressed list. “It was like a dream,” Yelle, a.k.a. Julie Budet, says of the music festival. “Perfect.”
Before their May 2 show in Quebec City, the first of four Canadian dates, Yelle spoke to Flare about breaking into North America, unleashing her inner animal, and why her last Montreal performance left her in tears.
FLARE: You’ve been touring the southern states. What have your impressions been?
Yelle: I really like it. It was our first time in Arizona and we had a good surprise. We didn’t expect something big. We thought maybe we’ll have 50 people in the crowd. But no, we had 300 people in the venue. It’s a really good surprise because when you are a French band and singing in French and coming to the U.S. it’s always hard to predict whether people know you or not.
I’ve been enjoying the safari theme surrounding Safari Disco Club. Has it been fun for you to unleash your inner animal?
I think it’s just my crazy part. I always think we have duality. I can be really shy and discrete, but I really have this energy in me, and for a long time I didn’t know how to express it. I wanted to be a singer since I was a little girl. The first time I sang onstage I realized, okay, this is the place I want to be for a long time.
What are you looking forward to about the Canadian leg of the tour?
I’m happy to be back because the crowd is really intense. They have this thing, they just want to enjoy the moment. We could see that in South America too. The first time [we toured Canada] I cried onstage because it was so intense, in Montreal at Club Soda. So I have something special with the Canadian crowd.
Yelle plays Quebec City May 2, Montreal May 3, Toronto May 4, and Vancouver May 13. See www.Yelle.fr for more information.