Sébastien Tellier is a multifaceted instrumentalist/singer from Paris, France's 17th Arrondissement, an elongated arts-and-culture-rich territory on the right bank of the River Seine. After Tellier's "Fantino," a forlorn and beautiful pop confection, appeared on the Source label's 1999 Source Material various-artists compilation, it caught the ear of fellow labelmates Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, better known as Air. The duo and their management team eventually signed Tellier to their own Record Makers imprint. Tellier recorded the tracks for his debut album, L'Incroyable Vérité ("The Unbelievable Truth"), between September 1999 and March 2000, playing most of the instruments and producing the sessions. L'Incroyable Vérité was released in June 2001. He then began his second career as a film composer with the score to 2004's Narco.
His next record didn't appear until 2005. Politics was mixed by Philippe Zdar of Cassius and featured a guest spot by drummer Tony Allen of Fela fame. The following year, Tellier re-recorded a batch of his songs acoustically and released them under the title Sessions (though in the U.K. it was retitled Universe and included pieces from Tellier's soundtrack for the film Narco). For his next record, Sexuality, Tellier signed up Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo as producer and ended up with a more slickly electronic sound than heard on his previous outings. The first single from the record, "Divine," was chosen as France's entry in the 2008 Eurovision contest. Though he didn't win, his appearance and the controversy surrounding it (many French commentators felt that the English lyrics of the song meant it wasn't "French" enough to represent the nation) boosted his profile around the world. In 2007, Tellier worked with Mr. Oizo on the soundtrack and score to Oizo's first feature film Steak, and also composed the score to Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern's road trip film Saint Amour.
In 2010, Tellier released an album of remixes of songs from Sexuality titled Sexuality Remix. He returned with new material in 2012 with My God Is Blue, a spiritually minded set that featured a collaboration with de Homem-Christo on the title track. The following year saw the release of Confection, a collection of romantic instrumentals similar to his earliest albums. In 2013, he also collaborated with Chairlift's Caroline Polachek on the single "In the Crew of Tea Time." For 2014's L'Aventura, which was recorded at Jean Michel Jarre's studio in Bougival as well as in Paris and Rio de Janeiro, Tellier added sunny yet mysterious Brazilian elements to his music. In 2016, he worked with Jarre on the latter's 2016 album Electronica, Vol. 2: The Heart of the Noise; that year, Tellier's scores for the film Marie et les Naufragés and the web series A Girl Is a Gun arrived. He also collaborated with Dita Von Teese on a version of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" that appeared on an amfAR benefit compilation, setting the stage for his writing and production work on her 2018 self-titled debut album. ~ Bryan Thomas