French pop star Nolwenn Leroy is returning to America. The singer, who spent a year in small town Ohio as an exchange student, is releasing her U.S. debut "Nolwenn" via Decca on January 8.
The album, an eclectic collection of standards and Celtic songs, is already a major hit in France where it spent a record seven weeks atop the album chart and has sold over 800,000 copies. The album's lead-off track, a cover of Mike Oldfield's 1983 hit "Moonlight Shadow," is getting its U.S. premiere here:
"Shadow" features traditional pipes overlaid with a pulsating beat and Nolwenn's crystal clear voice, which holds a resemblance to Kate Bush (whom she's covered in concert before) and the song's original singer, Maggie Reilly.
Leroy tells Billboard that she discovered the song when she was a little girl.
"I've always thought this song was the perfect bridge between pop and celtic music. It inspired me a lot during the recording of 'Bretonne,'" she says, referring to her album's French title. "I also loved Maggie Reilly's voice. This song is definitely a classic."
"Nolwenn" also includes her versions of "Scarborough Fair," "Dirty Old Town" and "Whiskey in the Jar." To promote the Decca release, Leroy is making her U.S. live debut on Jan. 8 at NYC's Drom.
"This country has always been in my heart since I spent a year in Hamilton, OH as an exchange student a few years ago," she says. "This year has pretty much determined my future as an artist. It's always been a dream of mine, as a French singer, to have the opportunity to share my music with the American audience."