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Stepping out from behind the camera, music video director Yoann Lemoine embarked on a recording career of his own under the alias Woodkid beginning in 2011.
Born in Lyon in 1983, Lemoine studied illustration and animation at the Emile Cohl School before landing jobs on Luc Besson’s Arthur and the Invisibles and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. In between directing music videos for the likes of Katy Perry (“Teenage Dream”), Taylor Swift (“Back to December”), and Lana Del Rey (“Born to Die,” “Blue Jeans”), he recorded Woodkid’s debut EP. The Iron EP was released by Green United Music in March 2011, and the title track appeared in several movie trailers as well as an episode of the TV series Teen Wolf. His self-directed video for 2012’s “Run Boy Run,” a song that charted just outside the Top 40 in the U.K., won Lemoine an MVPA Award for Best Director of the Year and a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video.
Woodkid’s debut album, The Golden Age, arrived in March 2013. It received enthusiastic reviews, rising to number two on the French album charts and going Top 10 in Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. He went on tour to support the album, including a groundbreaking performance at London’s Brixton Academy alongside the BBC Orchestra. In 2014, he was invited to perform and partake in a discussion about the New York minimalist movement with Philip Glass at the Museum of Modern Art in Saint-Étienne, and was commissioned to compose an original score, Les Bosquets, for New York City Ballet. That same year, he issued his own remix of Pharrell’s “Happy,” called “Happy (Woodkid Sad Remix),” won the award for Best Stage Performer at Les Victoires de la Musique, and performed at Coachella and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Woodkid received another Grammy nomination for Best Music Video in 2015 for “The Golden Age” featuring Max Richter. That year, a film he scored, the Jonás Cuarón-directed thriller Desierto, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In July 2016, he collaborated with pianist Nils Frahm on a soundtrack for French photographer JR’s short film Ellis. That July, he also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival. “Run Boy Run” can be heard on an episode of the 2017 Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
Woodkid’s 2019 EP Woodkid for Nicolas Ghesquière: Louis Vuitton Works One was released on Island Records. His second full-length album, S16, was released in October 2020.