Q: What’s the difference between an American album recorded in French and a French album recorded in America? A: Perspective.
Notre Bloc’s debut self-titled album is a balanced mix of heartfelt female vocals and acoustic guitar driven indie-pop. Imagine a Parisian Jill Andrews crashing a Bleachers concert in Quebec.
In early 2014, singer-songwriter Josselyn Nicole and multi-instrumentalist producer Josh D Doyle teamed up to form Notre Bloc (french for “our block” or “our neighborhood”). Recording a French language album from an American perspective was something they each had wanted to do for a long time. Josselyn and Josh both grew-up with family who had lived in France and remembered fondly the music that their relatives brought back to the states with them. Doyle and Nicole quickly bonded over these shared experiences and were inspired further by artists like Coeur de pirate, Zaz and Carla Bruni, who musically weren’t that different from the American artists they both loved.
The goal from the beginning was to create an album which felt familiar to both American and French-speaking audiences but for completely different reasons. “American audiences have related to the emotional tone in a completely pure way,” says Doyle. “Without an understanding of the language, I feel like our fan’s experience here is closer to how Sigur Rós’ fans might relate to them.” [*Sigur Rós’ singer created his own ‘hopelandic’ language for some of their songs.]
Josh D Doyle is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter whose fascination for the cross-pollination of music ignited the idea for Notre Bloc. It was after discovering the likes of the aforementioned French and Canadian pop singers and hearing a wide-range of musical nationalities represented on local radio stations like KCRW and podcasts like NPR’s All Songs Considered, that he wanted to experiment with an American twist on French music.
Josselyn Nicole is a singer and actress from Northern California with a fervent affection for the French language and culture. Having lived in Paris for a stint, she became enamored with the sounds of street musicians along with more popular groups like Yelle and Granville. You can hear Josselyn’s jazz and indie rock background in the way she delivers her melodies with Notre Bloc.
So if you are looking to hear music in a new way or are already a fan of the French songs from movies like Amelie and 500 Days of Summer then you’ll love Notre Bloc’s new Parisian influenced indie-pop record.