Following the release of his latest single, i think too much (alongside some quarantine visuals); we sat down with the incredible indie-pop singer-songwriter from Indiana, Christian French. From Soundcloud origins, to amassing over 25 million streams on Spotify; Christian is definitely making waves within the music scene! With relatable lyrics and themes, accompanied by stunning melodies some incredible vocals; Christian’s music is easy listening and highly addictive, reminiscent of Maroon 5 and Jeremy Zucker. 100% worth a listen; the uplifting mood and mellow vibes will make the perfect addition to your summer playlists! So keep on reading below for the full interview with the talented singer, where we chat about his latest releases, musical journey and what more is to come this year!
TSU: Tell me a bit about what first got you started in music, and some of your earlier influences.
CF: Hi everyone, I’m Christian French and I’m a 23 year old musician from Indiana ~ I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the past few years to pursue music. I was in the middle of my spring tour, which would have ended on the March 24th, but am safe at home in Indiana for now. I grew up on John Mayer and The Fray and had been playing piano and singing covers for a few years before I started writing my own music.
TSU: With other passions and avenues, from hockey player to pre-med student; it was while at university that you took a leap of faith to make music your full-time passion when you got invited to go on tour with Chelsea Cutler. Tell me a bit about that moment?
CF: When I started posting my original music on Spotify was when I started to make the shift. With the help of my fraternity, where everyone was from a different city, they’d tell their friends to listen, then their friends’ friends, and their friends! So it really helped spread the word, and helped me build a following and come to this realization that this could be a real project. Then I became more interested in music than I was in school, and was spending more time on music and creating more distance from school – I just felt more connected to the musical world. But I would have graduated if not for Chelsea Cutler inviting me on her tour. All I thought was “man…if I could just land an opening slot”…and I did!
TSU: So what was it like touring and performing for the first time? Are there any artists at the moment who you would love to go on tour with?
CF: I’ve learned so much from the first few tours I’ve been on. When I was opening for Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII, I would just sit and take mental notes on their sets every night so I could make mine better, and through a lot of practice, I’m proud to say that I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin on stage now. At first I was so nervous and would second-guess everything I did on stage, but now I think performing is so freeing and fun. Every tour I learn a little bit more about myself and I’m always so grateful for the growth.
I’d LOVE to open up for Jon Bellion at some point. I feel like we both strive to create impactful, sort of “self-journey” type of music, and I think our shows could be very cohesive. I’d also love to just watch his performance every night and learn from him.
TSU: Going back to the start, while in High School, you began posting covers on Soundcloud. With so many artists beginning their journey, and growing through social platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube; how do you think things have changed for musicians, especially emerging artists? And how has it influenced your personal journey as an artist?
CF: I really don’t know where my artist project would be without social media and other music-spreading platforms. Pretty much everything started online – bands used to have to really grind it out at bars and other small venues to get noticed and slowly work their way up. But I was able to begin a music career before even playing one live show because “fall for you” ended up taking off on Spotify.
TSU: Amazing! So when did you begin to make that shift from covers, to writing and recording your own music? And what was that initial song writing process like?
CF: Once I got to college, got a mic and midi keyboard, and I met my friend Triegy (who is a great producer), we began to work together on my original music – making my first 4 songs: “Fall for You“, “Dying Alive“, “By Myself” and “Done from the Start“. It was so freeing to be able to get all my thoughts out and have everything feel so natural and like it fell into place perfectly.
TSU: Over the last few years, how would you say your writing and creative process has changed?
CF: Everything has just become more intentional. I see myself as SUCH a different person than I was 3 years ago when this started. I’ve been in studio sessions with some very talented people, and have really soaked in how their work, and I’m really starting to notice the growth. With writing, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to my emotions, and it’s allowed me to dive deeper and write more impeccably from the heart.
My songs usually start acoustically with me on the piano, but I’ve started to learn guitar this year, and it’s opened a completely new outlet for inspiration & songwriting.
TSU: You released your debut single, Fall For You, a truly great track, back in 2016 which charted on Spotify for the US viral top 50! What was it like for you to release your first single and it to have such an incredible reception? Was there anything in particular that made you gravitate towards that track as being the perfect debut single for you?
CF: We had initially just released the song on SoundCloud, but after it began to pick up some traction, we decided to put it on Spotify, and I’m SO HAPPY we did. I was so blown away when it started picking up 10, then 25, then 50k streams a day. I had never experienced this with music before, and it inspired me so much to keep making more.
This was the first record that I was truly proud of. From top to bottom, I really loved the sound and feel of the song, so I was confident in putting it out for the world to hear. We were also only making one song at a time at this point, so there were no other “singles” to choose from. We were just two college kids making music for fun
TSU: It’s such a great song, and already this year, you’ve released three more singles; all of which are incredible tracks! Your latest single, i think too much, was released last month. Can you tell me a bit more about the song and how it came about?
CF: I’ve always considered myself an introspective person who really likes to think deeply through situations, but sometimes I’ll end up thinking TOO much and it becomes counter-productive.
I’ve been on this constant search for growth and true happiness in my life, and find that I’ll try to “brainstorm” my way into how I can reach these goals. This is such a paradox sometimes, because when you’re trying to enjoy and absorb and be in the moment, thinking and trying to put your experience into words will actually pull you out of it. And I’ve realized I do that a LOT. Instead of taking a minute and being thankful for what is, sometimes I find myself shooting right to the next thing, and there’s no way to ever be satisfied if you’re always doing that. This song is kind of me acknowledging how much I think and “checking” myself so that my thoughts don’t spiral to a negative space.
TSU: Definitely a relatable struggle! So, so far, there haven’t been any features or collabs on any of your releases this year. Are there any plans for future collabs or features?
CF: We might have something in the works! I’ve met a lot of really talented musicians the past few years and would love to start expanding with features.
TSU: You released your debut EP Natural Colors back in 2018, and your latest EP, bright side of the moon, last year? What’s your creative process when writing/recording and releasing a full body of work?
CF: To me it’s never been completely clear what the EP is going to be about until I’ve already written a few of the songs. After I’ve written the first few that I really like, it’s a lot easier to find a common theme that I’m inspired by and then work from there. That’s definitely how it went with the “bright side of the moon” EP – the first song I wrote was called “heavy snow”, which discusses anxiety and struggling to work through it, and from there I felt very inspired to write an optimistic “self-journey” type of EP, which is how the idea of “bright side of the moon” came about.
TSU: So from your entire discography; which track would you say best sums up your overall style, and what you want to say, as an artist? And what are some of the main things you want people to take from your music?
CF: Currently, I think my song “crowded room” represents me best. It discusses what I’m going through with anxiety and voices inside my head, but turns to be optimistic, saying that I should make friends with the voices inside of my head. I’ve really been working to find the light of every tough situation I’m in, and this song highlights that well. I always want my music to feel hopeful and inspiring. Along with that, this is one of my favorite sounding songs I’ve made.
TSU: And lastly, what are some things you’re hoping to achieve musically this year? Are there any plans for more new music from you this year?
CF: I’ll definitely be releasing music into the summer ~ I’ve released 3 songs from my next EP “good things take time” and am hoping to get a new single out every month until the EP later this summer. No one really knows when live shows will pick up again, so for now a thing I’ve been doing Instagram Live’s a lot — so I can still hang out with my fans and play some new music.
An absolute pleasure to chat to Christian; keep an eye out for more music from the singer coming soon! However, in the meantime; make sure to check out some of his extra quarantine visuals over on YouTube! And keep up to date with him, his music and latest releases over on his socials @christianfrench
photo cred @ Mickey Mars