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Stromae has sold 8M albums and racked up a quarter billion video views — not that America has noticed

Stromae stumbles about a busy gloomy square in Brussels, mumbling and shouting about his broken heart. It’s hard to miss the 6-foot 5-inch black Belgian who’s maybe 150 pounds and currently soaking wet. For one, he’s 6 foot 5 inches, black and Belgian. Second, he’s sold more than eight million albums and swept the Victoires de la Musique, the French equivalent of the Grammys. He’s screaming because he’s on hidden camera, filming a music video for his wildly successful single “Formidable.” Since, the video has been viewed more than 75 million times.

In Europe, Stromae can stand alone in a Belgian square and know that the world is watching. All the Western world, in fact, except the United States.

Son of a Rwandan father, killed in the Tutsi genocide, and a Belgian mother, Stromae (né Paul Van Haver) has been crowned the voice of the dejected youth of Europe. That’s another way of saying all the youth in Europe. The Eurozone crisis that began in 2009 hit young adults throughout the continent the hardest, with unemployment as high as 50% in some countries. In Spain, more than half of young adults under 25 were jobless in 2012. The country found itself in deep recession during the Eurozone crisis and lost more than 5 million jobs over the next few years. Austere governing resulted in frustrations that became violent protests in places like Belgium, Spain and Greece. And through it all, Stromae’s voice began to rise powerfully above the noise.

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(Source: micdotcom, via 7starship)

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