French Original is an artist, producer and remixer originally from Cannes in France and now based in the UK. 2020 was his biggest year yet, creatively, despite its obvious challenges, and he has built himself a great rep on both sides of the Atlantic. Headliner discusses his musical journey so far, how he got into producing EDM music, his debut single, History, and his creative workflow.
“When you feel that everything you’ve done before is starting to pay off, you can see some kind of light, you know,” opens French Original, admitting he is still far from his musical goal – but he’s on the move, at least.
French Original initially worked behind the scenes in the world of remixing, but is now an artist and producer in his own right with successes in the US, UK and, of course, France. He got into music as a teenager in Cannes, playing in bands at various bars and restaurants, and it was there that he fell in love with performance. But his journey in music production was more accidental.
“My dad suggested I learned English, so I moved to London, went to music college, and met my manager there – in my first meeting with her I said I just wanted to be famous... that has changed along the way! [laughs] I played and sang badly at the time, I think; and when we started working together, I came to the realisation that maybe I wanted to be involved in the song and production process,” French reveals. “So she said ‘okay, here is a little room, here are some speakers, a bass, and a MIDI keyboard – off you go’. And that’s when I started making beats. It was great, as I was away from my family, she took me under her wing, and gave me a room – she was like a mentor.”
The creative process has always interested French Original – and although his sound is certainly more dance and deep house than pop, some of the pop giants such as Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones were serious influences.
“I started with pop music, but it’s a difficult genre, and it’s vast as well as vague,” he says. “If you’re not some kind of personality, you need to grow your fanbase step by step - and it’s very hard. My real love is Prince, MJ, Justin Timberlake; and then I started to see the movement of dance music changing - songs over beats rather than having an instrumental with a chorus line for three minutes. As soon as it was song-based over house tracks, I thought maybe I should incorporate what I had learned into this new wave of dance music. And so I started to listen to more house music – not so underground – more ‘pop house’, I suppose.”