A lifelong passion for the guitar playing of Django Reinhardt and Gypsy jazz helped to propel guitarist, songwriter, singer, and producer Thomas Dutronc to a career in music, but even more central influences and inspirations were his parents, French musical and cultural icons Jacques Dutronc and Françoise Hardy.
Though he originally wished to become a photographer, his true passions proved too strong to resist. Dutronc's amiable good looks, enviable skills as a jazz guitarist, and welcoming smooth baritone singing voice, drew listeners into his sound world immediately upon the release of his 2007 debut album, 2007's Comme Un Manouche Sans Guitare, which registered at number five on the French charts. His 2011 outing, Silence On Tourne, On Tourne en Rond, registered at number two and charted all over Europe. Dutronc is not a jazz purist, however; his music has traversed chanson, rock, indie and classic French pop, and more. 2015's high-charting Éternels Jusqu'à Demain also revealed a longtime penchant for the drama and dynamics of film soundtracks, while 2018's Live Is Love, documented a 50-city French tour.
Dutronc was born in 1973 to the original yé-yé girl, Francoise Hardy, and singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Jacques Dutronc. Though obsessed with the French pop both of his parents became world-renowned for, he fell in love with Gypsy ("manouche") jazz during his teenage years after hearing the recordings of guitarist Django Reinhardt with violinist Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club of France. Though he was already an adept photographer, his impressive learning capacities enabled him to begin studying Gypsy guitar at age 18 while also learning to write songs. He began working professionally with his father on the latter's 1995 outing Rencontres Brèves, and worked as a sideman for jazz guitarist Romane (Patrick Leguidecoq). In 2000, he guested on his mother's Clair-Obscur, where he made the acquaintance of fellow guest Iggy Pop. Over the next several years he collaborated with a diverse range of artists including Bireli Lagrene, Les Rita Mitsouko, M (Matthieu Chedid), and Henri Salvador, became Hardy's guitarist, and also produced on albums such as Jacques Dutronc's Madame L'Existence in 2003, and Hardy's Tant De Belles Choses in 2004.
In 2007 he appeared as a vocalist and guitarist on the David Fackeure Quartet's Jazz on Biguine, Vol. 2, signed to Universal Music, and released his debut album, Comme Un Manouche Sans Guitare. The set reached number five on the French album charts and registered a Top Ten spot in Belgium as well. In 2008, he won a Globes de Cristal Award as Best Male Singer of the year for the album and in 2009, took home the Victoires de la Musique award for Original Song of the Year for Comme Un Manouche Sans Guitare title track.
Dutronc's dry wit and self-effacing humor, combined with that friendly singing voice (that closely resembles his father's), endeared him to audiences all over the region. Over the next several years, Dutronc and his quintet toured, and he made time for studio work with revered French artists such as Eddy Mitchell and Charles Aznavour, and penned the title track to an otherwise Eric Serra-composed score for Luc Besson's film Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec. In 2011, Dutronc returned with Silence On Tourne, On Tourne en Rond, that showcased his seamless fusion of manouche and indie rock. It peaked at number two on the French and Belgian album charts and placed in Switzerland. Both of its singles also charted. Dutronc began an intensive round of touring across Europe in support of the recording. Almost two years later, he and Imelda May paired to issue the single "Clint (Silence on Tourne)" as a digital download. It also charted. In 2014, Dutronc guested as guitarist on Paris, the fourth album by Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy).
In 2015, he issued Éternels Jusqu'à Demain, recorded in London with his quintet, a choir, and orchestra. Jacques Dutronc guested on the track "Je'suis Personne." The album peaked at four in France and five in Belgium. The following year, while still touring, Dutronc guested on Veronique Sanson's Dignes, Dingues, Donc... as a lead guitarist. In 2017, he took part in the Amazing Keystone Big Band's homage Django Extended. Dutronc released the concert outing Live Is Love in 2018. Recorded across France, its contents were equally divided between his best-known works and new, unreleased material.
In the spring of 2020, Dutronc released his dream project, Frenchy, on Blue Note. An album dedicated to French song, it featured compositions associated with its greatest singers and songwriters. In addition to his own group, Dutronc invited friends to collaborate including Diana Krall, Iggy Pop, Billy Gibbons, Jeff Goldblum, and Haley Reinhart. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi