NPR logo Joel Virgel: 'Amour Amer'

Joel Virgel: 'Amour Amer'

Singer-Songwriter's Debut Is Sexy, Bilingual and Bittersweet

Joel Virgel in NPR's Los Angeles-area studios. Devin Robins, NPR hide caption

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Devin Robins, NPR

Born on the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe and raised in Paris, singer and songwriter Joel Virgel mixes a literal world of sounds and flavors on his debut CD Amour Amer.

The CD has been described as a potpourri of breathy, silky tunes, sexy and sensual, sung in both French and English. Amour Amer means "bittersweet love" in French. Virgel joined NPR's Tony Cox to talk about his songs and what inspires his music.

From 'Amour Amer'

Hear full-length cuts from Virgel's debut CD:

Listen 'Losing Me'

Listen 'Anaïs Nin'

Listen 'Won't Take No'

Available Online

Virgel is a 10-year veteran of the music business — he's a professional drummer, percussionist and background singer. He's sung in many television commercials over the years, in many different languages, and for a time sang backup vocals for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

This is his first time in the spotlight as a solo artist. He says he's been preparing for the moment for a long time.

His varied musical tastes are evident in his own original songs, and also in the songs from other artists he chooses to cover. On Amour Amer, he takes on The Velvet Underground classic "Femme Fatale" in his own distinctive style.

Virgel also has passion for yoga and the yogi devotional music associated with the ancient, spiritual art.

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