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Irma Pany: an unusual career

From Douala to stages in Paris 


The Cameroonian artist Irma, a student in the ESCP Europe, had her breakthrough thanks to a participatory website called “My Major Company”. After two records, the singer still charms her audience. She will be at the Folies Bergères in Paris on March 31st.  


A childhood marked by musicirma_-_crdits_vincent_thomas_400 

As the second child of four, Irma Pany grew up in a family in which music plays a key role. She took piano and guitar lessons at an early age. Influenced by Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton and Jeff Buckley, she wrote her first songs in French and English at 12 years old. Three years later, she left her native country, Cameroon, to go to France, where she brilliantly attended her schooling: she passed her A-levels with high honour, she attended "classes prépa" (preparatory classes), etc. But she never forgot music. At the time, Irma still wrote songs: she defined the music that became her trademark, halfway between folk and soul.


A dazzling success thanks to the Internet 

Encouraged by her friends, she started posting videos on YouTube, in which she sang songs from Michael Jackson or Norah Jones. Very soon, she received positive comments. Irma had just started her studies in the ESCP Europe when she received a message form Michael Goldman. The son of French singer Jean-Jacques Goldman had just created My Major Company, a participatory platform in which Internet users financially support young artists to help them make records.

The success was dazzling: Irma collected 70,000 euros in less than 3 days, an unchallenged record. The young artist was on track: she decides to take a year off to record her first album.


From "Letter to the Lord" to "Faces" 

The album "Letter to the Lord", with the single "I know", is released in February 2011. The audience that first supported Irma doesn't fail her. She's awarded with a platinum-selling award and decides to go on tour in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

For her second album, she fled to New York: she wanted to "put herself in danger, to flee the comfort of success and see everything through the eyes of a child". The album "Faces" was released in June 2014 and reveals more personal and committed songs, influenced by Cameroonian rhythms. Though the young lady's music has evolved, the pleasure onstage is the same. Irma intends to prove it during her gig in the Folies Bergères on March 31st.


Photo credits: Vincent Thomas