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Born as Nolwenn Le Magueresse in Saint-Renan, Brittany (France) on 28 September 1982, Nolwenn Leroy moved to Paris when she was four years old, and later to Lille and Guingamp. Her mother, Muriel Leroy, and her younger sister, Kay, settled with Leroy’s grandparents in Saint-Yorre. Her mother divorced from her father, professional footballer Jean-Luc Le Magueresse, in 1993.

When Leroy was eleven, her music teacher noticed her musical talents and encouraged her to learn the violin. At the age of thirteen she won “Les écoles du désert”, a contest sponsored by the Cora supermarket chain, which allowed her to travel with a humanitarian mission from Gao to Timbuktu, Mali; she later claimed this had a profound influence on her.

In July 1998, Leroy was awarded a scholarship by the Vichy Rotary Club to travel to Hamilton, Ohio, as an exchange student. While attending Hamilton High School, she took music lessons at the Performing Arts School and became fluent in English during her stay there. When she returned to France, she began classical singing classes at the Vichy music conservatory. In 2001, she enrolled in the University of Clermont-Ferrand to study law for a potential alternative career to music.

She rose to fame after winning the second season of the French television music competition Star Academy, in 2002. She has since recorded five studio albums and scored two number one singles, ‘Cassé’ and ‘Nolwenn Ohwo!’, on the French charts. On her fourth album ‘Bretonne’ (2010) she recorded a version of Mná na hÉireann. During an appearance in the French TV programme Taratata in 2013, she performed a cover version of Wuthering Heights. During live shows, she has performed a cover version of Running Up That Hill.

In January 2015, she was ranked 17th on Le Journal du Dimanche’s 50 Most Loved Celebrities in France, making her the top female singer on the list since December 2012.