Artist picture of Corneille

Corneille

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Artist's Top Tracks

Seul au monde Corneille 04:46
Parce qu'on vient de loin Corneille 03:52
Rêves de star Corneille 04:30
Avec classe Corneille 03:47
Des pères, des hommes et des frères (feat. La Fouine) Corneille, La Fouine 03:56
Nos destinées Corneille 03:36
Comme un fils Corneille 04:39
Pause Corneille 03:16
Co-Pilot Corneille, Kristina Maria 03:46
Toi Corneille 04:23

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Biography

Despite witnessing the massacre of his family when he was 17-years-old, Cornelius Nyungura escaped the Rwanda genocide to build a globally successful pop career and later record for the legendary Motown Records.

Born in Germany, Nyungura moved with his family to their homeland of Rwanda when he was a child where he grew up listening to American R&B groups, his parents' record collection of French pop crooners and local traditional African music. To fit in at school he changed his name to the more colloquial Corneille and, with friends, he set up a teenage vocal group who sought to emulate boybands such as The Jackson 5 and Boyz II Men. He also performed on the nationally televised Discovery Awards when he was 16, but his life changed in 1994 when his father, a leader of the PSD Social Democratic Party, was targeted. As his parents and siblings were murdered, Nyungura managed to escape the massacre and fled to Zaire, before returning to Germany to live with friends. He moved on to Canada in 1997 to study and started performing in Montreal as part of an R&B trio before striking out as a solo singer-songwriter and releasing debut album 'Parce q'uon Vient de Loin' in 2002.

Honing a style that blended the suave soul of US stars like D'Angelo and Maxwell with the arty cool of French chanson singers such as Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens, he established himself in France with hit single 'Seul au Monde' and second album 'Les Marchands de Reves' and wrote the track 'Il Etait Temps' which became the country's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Virginie Pouchain, in 2006.

Heading to the US, 'The Birth of Corneilius' became his first English-language album for Motown Records, drawing comparisons with John Legend and Marvin Gaye and attracting a loyal following in Japan. Later albums 'Sans Titre' and 'Les Inseparables' continued to be an outlet for dealing with his personal loss and wider outlook on the world, and he went on to work for the Red Cross, collaborated with rappers Soprano and Kery James and competed on the French version of the TV show 'Dancing With the Stars' in 2015.