French Singer Louane Talks Working on The Chainsmokers' 'It Won't Kill Ya': Exclusive

Tony Barson/FilmMagic
Louane Emera at Le Zenith on Feb. 12, 2016 in Paris.

The story ended with a feature on the No. 1 dance album in the United States, but it started with a simple follow back.

Parisian pop singer Louane's love affair with The Chainsmokers started from afar. She was a fan of the song “#Selfie,” it's jocular spirit and electronic drop stood out from the crowd, and so she followed the funny Americans on Twitter. She isn't sure why or how, but they followed her back, just another beautiful moment in a charmed career path.

Louane first grabbed the attention of her home country as a contestant on the French version of The Voice. She was a semi-finalist, but she was noticed by French director and screenwriter Éric Lartigau who cast her in his film La Famille Bélier, for which she won the César, France's national film award, for “Most Promising Actress.”

That was in 2014, and in 2015, she kept that energy up with her debut album Chambre 12. It was the second-best selling album of the year in the country, as well as in Belgium, and made her an absolute star. Her girlish face and wavy blonde hair became the perfect picture of Parisian alternative pop, and her sensitive but fun point of view made her a perfect choice for a collaboration on The Chainsmokers' debut album Memories...Do Not Open – not that she saw it coming.

“It was their idea. I just jumped into a flight,” Louane says. “At the beginning, I didn't know it was for the album, but I was so happy to work with them.”

While Paris is certainly a character of its own on The Chainsmokers' album, the duo had Louane flown to their native Los Angeles for the recording process. She usually sings in French, but Louane put on her best English accent for the trap-infused “It Won't Kill Ya.” The tune was already written when she arrived, although the three performers worked together to tweak it so as to best showcase the essence of everyone involved.

“We were really searching for a good vibe,” she says. “We had to find something that was going to be dance and electro like them, but that would also fit with me, because I'm much more of a pop singer. We had to find something that was cool for them but had the French feeling. I have to have my own vibe, my own intention, and that's where 'mon amie' comes from.”

It's one of the harder moments on Memories...Do Not Open and certainly represents the most electronic song Louane has yet worked on.

“I think their way of making music is ... really positive. They are really one of the very best producers at the moment,” she says. “My music is really less dance than their tracks, and I guess some of (my fans) were surprised, but most of them were really excited. The album put everybody on fire, and my friends are really proud to see a French artist on the album. I am too. I'm so happy to be the French singer on the album.”

Louane is currently digging her teeth into her second album, searching for the best songs and best sounds to follow up her success. She definitely took notes in that LA studio, but how her experiences will manifest on this next project is unclear.

“This sound with The Chainsmokers really inspired me for my future singles, but it's really hard to make French music in that American way of producing,” she says. “It's my second album, and people around me tell me it's the most difficult album to do. The first one is really cool. I loved the experience. I don't know how it's going to go with the second one, but I'm really exited and really inspired, but at the same time, I am really stressed. I don't know how its going to go but que c'era c'era.”

For the time being, it's all about promoting “It Won't Kill Ya” and enjoying this bit of spotlight in the American entertainment scene.

“I'm so happy they thought about me to work on the album,” she says. “I started as a fan, so it's really impressive to me to be on the album. Congratulations to them, because the album is just massive.”