Onstage Tellier cultivates a quirky persona, seducing his audience with earnest, breathy vocals and languid hand gestures. He has even been known to deliver his love songs while spread-eagle across his grand piano. For his controversial performance at the Eurovision Song Contest this past May (where Tellier represented France but sang mostly in English), he rolled out in a golf cart; his look-alike backup singers—male and female—wore bushy beards.
“I wanted to bring my recipe to the show, like a new flavor of ice cream,” he says, insisting he doesn’t adhere to the cliché of the brooding, morose Frenchman. Tellier drains his pastis and orders a beer. “I’m a Frenchman who wants to have fun,” he says. “There are many of us.”