French electro-pop chanteuse Najoua Belyzel was born December 15, 1981, in Nancy. The product of a large Moroccan family, she began writing her own songs at age 14, and after a brief stint studying law at the University of Nancy, she quit school to relocate in Paris in search of a career in pop music. After a casting call Belyzel joined the group Benoît, which enjoyed brief success with the single "Tourne-toi Benoît" but later foundered. She left their ranks in 2003, teaming with up-and-coming songwriter Christophe Casanave. Belyzel issued her debut solo single, "Gabriel," in 2005. The record emerged as a massive hit, peaking at number three on the French pop chart and setting the stage for the LP Entre Deux Mondes, which entered the album chart at number seven. The follow-up single, "Je Ferme les Yeux," reached the number 13 spot in early 2006. Three years later, Belyzel released her second album Au Féminin, which included a duet with French crooner Marc Lavoine.
~ Jason Ankeny