Rising to fame as a contestant on the TV talent show Star Academy in 2002, Nolwenn Leroy – born Nolwenn Le Magueresse in Saint-Renan, Brittany, France on September 28, 1982 - was quickly shaped into a beloved, chart-conquering French pop diva. However, she later switched to performing English and Celtic folk songs and became an unlikely champion of Breton roots music. The daughter of professional footballer Jean-Luc Le Magueresse, she followed her father as he moved to Paris to play for Racing Club de France, and then to Lens and later Guingamp. When her parents divorced, Nolwenn Leroy's mother struggled to make ends meet. They lived with her grandparents back in Brittany, where she learned to play the violin and spent her teenage years singing along to Celine Dion and Tori Amos songs. After spending a year as an exchange student in Ohio, USA, she became a fan of the first series of Star Academy and took classical singing lessons at the Vichy Conservatory with one of the show's judges, before auditioning for the second series of the competition. She was only 20 years old at the time but spent four months on the reality show performing live in front of the nation and was eventually crowned the series winner. Her debut album Nolwenn (2003) and lead single “Casse” both topped the charts in France and Belgium, and Nolwenn Leroy was slickly transformed into a platinum-selling pop queen with a host of glossy, soaring, tear-jerking ballads. “Nolwenn Ohwo!” became her second number one single in 2006 and following albums Histoires Naturelles (2005) and Le Cheshire Cat & Moi (2009) produced more romantic, dramatic pop anthems. She gradually began writing her own songs and taking control of the direction her music. It led to a dramatic change in style on her 2010 album Bretonne as Nolwenn Leroy celebrated her home region's cultural history and its Celtic connections, mixing traditional folk with modern pop gloss on what became the biggest-selling record of her career. Including the ancient tune “Greensleeves”, the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the unofficial anthem of Brittany “Bro Gozh Ma Zadou”, the album featured tracks sung in the Gaelic, French, English and Breton languages, setting her up as an unlikely historic, folk-pop crooner. A repackaged version of the record aimed at the American market also featured renditions of “Scarborough Fair”, “Amazing Grace” and “Dirty Old Town”. Nolwenn Leroy returned in 2017 with sixth album Gemme featuring Edgar Allan Poe poems and a track written about physicist Stephen Hawking. The following year, she released the album Folk, which reached Number 6 on the French album chart and Number 5 in Belgium. Three years later, she returned with another hit album, La Cavale (2021), which hit Number 8 in France and a notch higher in Belgium.