L is the stage and recording name of French singer and songwriter Raphaële Lannadère. As a young child she heard the songs of Jacques Brel, Léo Ferré, and Barbara. She claimed in an interview to have learned Brel's songs as nursery rhymes when she was four or five. She gave concerts to friends and family throughout her childhood, but became serious about music while in high school. After graduating she began studying with an ethnomusicologist who taught her about Gypsy styles, fado, Eastern European polyphony, gospel, and Corsican folk music. Lannadère began to work with other vocalists, including the Cape Verdean artist Teófilo Chantre and Brazilian singer Ricardo Teté.
In 1981 she chose the stage name L, and began singing in Paris restaurants and clubs backed by David Babin (aka Babx). Establishing herself on the scene, she began giving proper concerts in which she performed the works of French legends from Édith Piaf and Barbara to Ferré, Juliette Gréco, Brel, and Charles Trénet. L recorded her debut EP, Premières Lettres, for the independent Karbaoui label in 2008, which began to get airplay and critical notice. In 2010 she was invited to perform at both the prestigious Le Printemps de Bourges and Les Francofolies de la Rochelle festivals. Her songs were also recorded by pop star Camélia Jordana.
In 2011 she released her debut full-length offering, Initiale, via Tôt ou Tard/Wagram, featuring a wealth of original material and crossing genres from chanson to rock, from folk to hip-hop. That year she won both the Barbara Prize and the Grand Prix du Disque for French Song. Initiale remained on the charts for over two years.