One of the first French artists to be discovered through YouTube, rapper Keen'V's blend of dancehall, ragga, electro, and dance-pop with a slightly vulgar humor saw him become one of his country's most successful urban talents.
Born Kevin Bonnet in Rouen, Upper Normandy in 1984, he first gained attention through the two million views his uploaded self-penned tracks received on various video-sharing sites. Attracting the interest of Universal
, he signed a major-label deal in 2008 and went to work with DJ Fab'V on debut album Phenom'N in the same year. The set spawned a club anthem, "L'Horizontale," as well as a cheeky reworking of Jacques Martin's "A la Pêche aux Moules." Three years later, he broke through to the mainstream with his Top Three hit "J'aimerais Trop," the lead single from his second effort, Carpe Diem. The album also included features for Lorelei B and Nawaach, and performed admirably on the charts. Despite his previous success, Keen'V outdid himself with his fourth album, Ange ou Démon, which not only topped the charts in France but continued charting for more than a year after its August 2013 debut. (Added to the usual cast of guests were Sébastien Cauet and others.) Saltimbanque appeared in August of 2014, with a sound and styles similar to its predecessors (and more appearances for Lorelei B). It spent two weeks at number one in France, and also charted in Switzerland. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi