THE BLOG
25/11/2013 09:26 GMT | Updated 24/01/2014 05:59 GMT

French Obsessions With Sophie Delila

A French exodus to London might be blamed by the media on France's severe tax system or the generous bonuses of the English banking industry. But there is another prominent group of French people slowly but steadily taking over the British capital and nobody is talking about them yet - the creative types.

Until very recently, French cultural life in London was restricted to the quiet French Institute tucked away on a small street in South Kensington. In fact, it was so quiet, a lot of people living in the area didn't even know it existed. It was reserved for the rare insiders who enjoyed their Saturday evenings talking about the quality of the béchamel sauce on their Croque Monsieur served in the ground floor Bistro, before watching the latest French film release with Audrey Tautou.

But the revolution didn't have long to wait. A generation of young creative people from France started flocking to London attracted by the creative freedom the British capital had to offer. Here, the school they graduated from does not matter and even the wildest idea can be given its chance of success. Many of them dropped the French berets-accordion-type clichés that (somewhat mistakenly) foreigners usually cling to, escaping the constraints of the French community in London. They infiltrated the fibres of the English creative art world using their Frenchness more as a charm factor rather than as the main substance of their work.

In a series called French Obsessions, I go behind the scenes of the success stories of the French creative world in London. One of my first encounters is with Sophie Delila - singer, songwriter and composer. I saw her for the first time three years ago during the France Show, an annual francophone event in London. Back then, the small makeshift stage of the Earl's court exhibition centre was already too small for her energy and her stunning heap of black curly hair. Paris-born and trained at the Berklee College of music in Boston, she settled in London to compose and build her career. She applies her rich jazzy voice to catchy pop tunes with a touch of soul. She already has two albums to her credit and several appearances alongside prominent contemporary musicians. She agreed to give me a sneak peek into her rehearsal and her studio.