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With his multiple piercings, tattoos, and gothic makeup, Soan surprised audiences across France by becoming the unlikely winner of the 2009 seventh series of Nouvelle Star. Born Julien Decroix in Annemasse in 1981, he left home at age 17 and spent the next ten years trying to earn a living as a musician, often busking at various Paris Metro stations. At 27, he entered France's biggest TV talent show, and after initially slipping under the radar, developed a cult following thanks to his renditions of songs by the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Noir Désir. After beating Leila Aissaoui in the final, he signed to Jive, supported Jacques Brel accordionist Jean Corti, and released his debut album, Tant Pis. After a three-year absence, he returned in 2012 with sophomore Sous les Yeux de Sophie. ~ Jon O'Brien