“I picked up music to try to escape this boring world for another way of life.”

His popularity with French fashion bloggers and his cover of Britney’s ‘Womanizer’ has brought Sliimy a big following and a number two album in France. Clash caught up with him to talk pop, the Internet and how on Earth you pronounce Sliimy.

It’s ‘Slim-ee’, not slimy,” he laughs, obviously having heard it mispronounced more than a few times. “It was a nickname actually that my friends gave me because I was really skinny, like spaghetti. I just thought it sounded really pop.”

Sliimy is still incredibly slim, which when combined with his colourful pop style, a mass of tumbling curls and a kaleidoscope of pop tunes, could easily encourage comparisons with Mika. “Yeah, it’s someone that I like, someone in my big family of influence, but I think we’re quite different, we don’t have the same lives. Also, I think people presume we’re alike as we’re both these curly-haired guys and wear skinny jeans, but if people are really listening to the music they will see that it’s different.”

Twenty-year-old Sliimy, originally from St. Etienne but now living in Paris, is the latest musician to benefit from the internet boom. “My first composition was done at a home studio and I put this song on my MySpace.”

This, alongside his breathy, acoustic cover of ‘Womanizer’, which he posted on YouTube, were soon heard and loved by influential bloggers, such as the Fluo Kids and Perez Hilton, who signalled his online arrival to others. He’s also a fan of Lily Allen’s cover of the same song. “I heard it after [my version] and I was impressed by that also. I think that we’re really linked, you know. I really love her music; she’s so natural and she writes some trashy stuff. I love the way she speaks.”

Minimal, acoustic tracks showcased an incredibly smooth voice and an ear for a hook. His stripped-down style was lapped up by the pop world and he was soon supporting some of pop’s biggest princesses, including Britney Spears. “That was kinda different because we are of a different universe.

Her show is huge, there’s a lot of light, a lot of stuff going on, so when I just brought my acoustic guitar and my voice in front of seventeen thousand people, I was like, “Oh my God, it’s huge!” Other support slots have seen him onstage with Katy Perry and The Pussycat Dolls, about whom he laughs, realising the contrast between himself and the Dolls, and says, “I’m not gonna dance like that,” before demonstrating with an awkward and reserved imitation one of their more low-key dance steps.

With an infectious love of UK music and culture, Sliimy keeps reminding us how excited he is just to be in England. “I picked up music to try to escape this boring world for another way of life. The pop culture is different in England, you can’t do the same things in France, we don’t have the same vision of music. That’s why with this album I want to put a bit of my English touch as well as my French touch on it.”

During the shoot he coos over harlequin prints and gold-sequinned shirts. He explains that style is a big element of his personality. “In five years I could change completely; five years ago I did not look like this at all, but that’s life and you should just follow it. I don’t want to be stuck in one image.”

For now, that image is quirky, colourful and smart, topped off with a poppy stage name. But what exactly is his real name? “Oh,” he smiles, before singing: “it’s a secret!”

Words by Stevie Keen
Photography by Toby Hudson
Styling by Tony Hortal
Stylist’s Assistant Chloe Gillard
Hair/Grooming Tomi Kono using L’Oreal Professionnel
With thanks to White Womb Studios

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