Yelle are a French band founded by lead singer and namesake Yelle (Julie Budet) and GrandMarnier (Jean-François Perrier). A third member, Tepr (Tanguy Destable), joined the band before the recording of their debut album. Yelle and GrandMarnier began working on music together in 2000. The band came to prominence when it posted an early version of the song "Je veux te voir" on Myspace in September 2005, which later reached the top five in France. The success of the song on Myspace attracted the attention of a record label, which set them to work on their debut album, Pop Up, which was released in 2007. The group's second album, Safari Disco Club, was released in 2011 and the third Complètement fou in 2014.
They have enjoyed a significant following overseas in non-French-speaking countries as well. They toured internationally for three years in support of Pop Up.
Budet met and became good friends with producer GrandMarnier in 2000, and in 2005, they began making music together when both wanted to start an electropop band. The name of the band, Yelle, began as an acronym of the phrase "You Enjoy Life", "YEL", but was later feminised to "Yelle" because a Belgian band had the name already. Yelle rose to fame on Myspace when they posted a song titled "Short Dick Cuizi", which later became "Je veux te voir", in late 2005. The song's original title refers to Cuizinier of French alternative hip hop band TTC and was released as a mock diss track. It received a positive response and soon attracted the attention of record label Source Etc. The song later charted at No. 4 in France. Yelle then began working on and recording their debut album, Pop Up, in 2006. While performing at night, producer Tepr had been roped into the band in 2007 after meeting GrandMarnier while working as a journalist. They were in need of a keyboard player on tour.
Pop Up was released in September 2007. AllMusic called it "a perfect storm of glossy production values, smart songwriting, and Budet's sparkling delivery." The album produced another single, "A cause des garçons", which reached number eleven on the French Singles Chart. Yelle was featured on Fatal Bazooka's French number-one song "Parle à ma main" in 2007. The band has enjoyed success outside France despite making songs exclusively in French and have toured extensively overseas in non-French-speaking countries. In the US, they were featured as MTV's Artist of the Week at the end of March 2008. After touring for three years, Yelle took three months off - until September 2009, when they began working on their next album. By February 2010 they had started their own record label, Recreation Center, overseen by GrandMarnier.
Yelle's second album, Safari Disco Club, was released in March 2011. Budet explained that unlike their debut, there was no deadline for the album because they were on their own label, thus allowing them to focus more on the harmonies and melodies and Budet's singing voice. They were also able to focus on writing and recording the album for a year as opposed to having to perform at night like for Pop Up. The album received generally favourable reviews, with The Independent declaring that the album was "essential for anyone who appreciates dancefloor-friendly European synth pop." The title track was released for free on their website in January 2011 and was released as a double single with "Que veux-tu". Katy Perry asked them to open for her on her 2011 California Dreams Tour in the UK. They embarked on their own tour afterwards, returning to the US in the fall. On 11 February 2013, the band released the single "L'amour parfait".
In July 2014, it was announced that Yelle's third studio album, Complètement fou, was planned for release in late September 2014. The album was produced by Dr. Luke, who discovered the trio through their remix of Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold". Dr. Luke eventually signed Yelle to his vanity label, Kemosabe, on which the album will be released. The album was preceded by the single "Bouquet final", for which a lyric video premiered on 30 June 2014.Complètement fou was released on 29 September 2014.
For their first two albums, GrandMarnier and Tepr produced the music, while Budet wrote the lyrics. GrandMarnier acts as the intermediary between the two. While working on their second album and meeting with American labels, they were repeatedly queried about singing in English in the future. However, Yelle maintain that they would not be able to express themselves in a language that they were not familiar with. Their debut album, Pop Up, is of the electropop genre with 1980s influences. Their lyrics are playful and sarcastic. Debut single "Je veux te voir" was a humorous reply to the misogynist lyrics of some French rap bands, especially Cuizinier of TTC. For Safari Disco Club, they retained the sound of Pop Up while incorporating more rhythmic drums into the production, such as Caribbean influences and new wave influences in the synthesizers. Budet described it as a marriage between "hotter rhythms and cooler synthesizer", highlighting the sense of humor and melancholy coexisting in the lyrics as well. The melancholy was attributed to Yelle having toured for three years for their first album and having that experience abruptly end to begin work on their next album.
For their third album, Completement fou, the band collaborated heavily with American music producer, Dr. Luke. Luke brought a new focus on melody rather than the beats-driven approach that Yelle previously had to songwriting. The three original members of Yelle draw from different influences in contributing to their music, GrandMarnier is influenced by rock music, including Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while Tepr enjoys rap and minimal techno. Budet has cited Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Madonna and Blur as influences. They have also listed Prince, Cyndi Lauper and Etienne Daho as influences. Budet's colorful stage outfits are influenced by designers such as Jeremy Scott, Andrea Crews, Jean-Paul Lespagnard and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.