Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard‘s series that showcases artists’ very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard‘s Spotify account. The curated set features the artists’ favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week’s spin comes from Claude Violante. The Parisian electro-R&B artist & producer (née Camille Petitjean) first hit U.S. shores with 2015’s glorious Your Heart Is Weak EP, released in partnership with JD Samson’s (Le Tigre, MEN) imprint Atlas Chair. Violante followed up the glittering debut with 2017’s Road Race EP, inspired by social and political issues from gender inequality to same-sex marriage.
Violante returned this fall with the release of her latest single and video “Armani,” via label Panenka Music. The euphoric, nu-R&B anthem finds the singer “heartbroken and petrified,” as she leans into a robust Janet Jackson-esque falsetto on the earworm of a hook: “My arms like a river will take you home, I promise you will never drown, just like a mother I’ll be right on time.”
To fete her new Armani era, including a forthcoming full-length LP of the same name set for release later this year, Violante curated this week’s #TBT Mixtape, inspired by the music of her youth, from The Beatles and Kate Bush to Busta Rhymes, Sisqo, Fugees and more.
Check out Claude’s personal reflection on the track list as well as a few pics from her childhood archives below.
“Most of the tracks on this playlist really made a strong impression on me when I discovered them. So on the top of my all time favorite artist list, there are The Beatles. I have so many memories of being in bed at night listening to them and singing along with them, especially the Magical Mystery Tour album. They are the best. Then there is also Kate Bush, I remember the first time I listened to the Hounds of Love album and how it made me feel free and how I was stunned by its creativity. Portishead is a band that I really listened to a lot growing up, same goes for Massive Attack. Their records were always playing at home. Donovan is one of my favorite folk singers, I love his melodies and his gentleness. Suicide and Laurie Anderson both also made a serious impression on me, Laurie Anderson for her “experimental” use of vocals and the strength that reflects from her music and Suicide for this raw and vicious energy that transports you in a darker dimension. I also remembered the first time that I heard Joga from Bjork, I was walking in the street and I was so moved by the song that I had to stop and I put it on repeat for days after that!
The second part of my track list is more focused on tracks that I listened to over and over again because they were playing on the radio when I was growing up or when I was a teenager. Aaliyah, Sisqo, Robyn and Brandy & Monica’s tracks were classics from the nineties that are engraved in my brain and also in my heart forever! I still know all the lyrics and they are still in my Spotify list. I see them as examples of big hits that are amazingly catchy and well written. Timbaland is one of the producers I admire the most. Busta Rhymes is a beast on that track and I love to hear him show off about his ability to rap so fast. Luniz and Warren G’s tracks really remind me of a moment in time and I still look at their videos because I like to get thrown back then. Same for Nightcrawlers and Roger Sanchez, I really am reminded of the moment they came out and how crazy I was about those songs. I could listen to one song for days in a row at the time! ‘I got the power’ is a song that I love because it has almost every genre of music in one song, someone is rapping, someone is singing, then there is an electronic beat but there is also a melancholic melodic and also some great sampling there! It’s a real success and I listened to it so many times that I can’t count…”