The singer-songwriter’s biography reads like a novel: Born in the Cote D’Ivoire to Malian parents, Fatoumata Diawara became an actress after catching the eye of a director while she was babysitting her cousin on a film set. But her family made her renounce acting, live on Malian television, in order to settle down and have a family. Instead she ran away to Paris to join the renowned French theatre company, Royale de Luxe. She started singing during breaks from performances, and eventually picked up a guitar. Her debut album Fatou, released in North America in August, is enchanting and blissful. Her well-crafted songs are often light and breezy, but her soulful voice brings a bluesy depth and potency that can stop you in your tracks. She has collaborated with Herbie Hancock and Blur’s Damon Albarn, and her album features none other than Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass.