French Moroccan singer songwriter Hindi Zahra has won France's Prix Constantin music prize with debut album "Handmade" (Blue Note/EMI).
The award was presented during a ceremony at the Olympia venue in Paris.
The prize jury was comprised of media and retail professionals and chaired by French chanson veteran Marc Lavoine, who surprised the audience by inviting singer songwriter and France's First Lady Carla Bruni to perform with him on stage.
The award was created in 2002 with the support of French labels trade bodies Snep and UPFI; it was named after the late industry figure Philippe Constantin who died in 1996.
The Prix Constantin is designed to highlight new talents produced in France, and this year the eligibility period for album releases was between July 2009 and July 2010. Under the qualification criteria, nominated artists must not have released more than two albums in addition to their current album and must not have had any gold record prior to current album.
Ten nominees were shortlisted, including Arnaud Fleurent-Didier (Columbia/Sony Music), Camelia Jordana (Jive Epic/Sony Music), Féfé (Polydor/Universal Music), Gush (Cinq 7/Wagram Music), Stromae (Vertigo/Universal Music), Ben L'oncle Soul (Motown France/Mercury), Carmen Maria Vega (AZ/Universal), Féloche (¡Ya Basta! Records/Naïve) and Zaz (Play On/Sony Music).
Those records were chosen from almost 200 albums submitted from their respective record companies.
All then acts performed during the Olympia show, which will receive coverage from state-owned radio channel France Inter and TV channels France 2 and France 4.