Photo Credit: Angelo Kritikos
You may know Christian French from his breakout collaboration with Triegy titled “By Myself,” but there’s so much more to this polished 22-year-old. Getting his start in the music by sharing acoustic covers on SoundCloud in high school, French eventually found himself touring with fellow Ones To Watch Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII. Not only does French deliver a stunning live performance, but his classic pop sound melted with his charming vocals is to die for.
French’s stirring new single, “head first” tells the story of being madly in love with someone and obsessing over their very existence. Opening with sultry guitars, “head first” is drenched with captivating electronics and bubbly bass lines. French sings about being hypnotized and mesmerized by this person in question, but we’re more than convinced that he’ll make you feel the same way with just one listen of “head first.”
Dive “head first” into Christian French’s intoxicating melodies below:
To celebrate his splendid new single, Ones To Watch chatted with Christian French about crushes, his recent tour with Quinn XCII, and of course, “head first.”
OTW: What inspired you to teach yourself how to play guitar?
French: I hate to break it to ya, but I don’t really know how to play guitar that well - my producer Dru Decaro is the one shredding on all of my records. I did teach myself how to play piano though, so I’ll talk about that! I had a friend that came into choir class in the sixth grade and showed me a cover he had learned on piano from YouTube. I was so amazed that he learned the whole thing from YouTube so I decided to try - within a few months I was starting to get the hang of it and began singing while playing. I started posting my covers on SoundCloud and continued for a few years until I started writing my own music. Pretty much all of my songs start with just piano and vocals, and I think a lot of what my sound is as an artist comes from all of the covers I had done on piano.
OTW: What are we going to come across if we visit christiansfrenchfries.com?
French: Well right now it’s actually a sign up page to be on my e-mail list. On here, I want to be able to send out information about new songs, shows, etc. to keep people as in the loop as possible. On top of this, I want to send out some things that have helped me grow not just as an artist but as a person - like books, articles, podcasts, and anything else that I’ve found to be helpful.
Photo Credit: Angelo Kritikos
OTW: Your new single, “head first,” is all about being helplessly captivated by someone and always wanting to be around them. What’s your advice for people who really want to approach their crush, but can’t seem to find the courage to do so?
French: I mean, I’m no love guru, but it’s always good to let people know how you feel. I know that’s way easier said than done, but it’s better to get it off your chest rather than keep it bottled up and have nothing happen. Maybe don’t go 0 to 100 right away, but try to get to know them and talk to them - you never know what it could lead to!
OTW: Can you describe your creative process for “head first?”
French: I was in a session with Andrew Luce, and we had been working on a different song that we both weren’t really feeling, so we decided to start fresh with a new idea. The first thing he played was the guitar part that would become the lead line to “head first.” I immediately loved it and caught the melody of the first verse. We both were really in the flow. He was producing while I was writing, and within a few hours, we had written and recorded the first half of the song. It was one of those times where the energy was really there, and we both felt it. After that session, I knew this song was something special. So over the next few weeks, I carefully wrote the second verse to match the effectiveness of the first verse, and I went back over to his studio to finish it.
OTW: What does it feel like to know that your voice has been compared to Ed Sheeran and Jon Bellion?
French: Both are artists that I look up to a lot, so hearing that is really crazy to me. When I started covering music, one of my favorite covers I did was “The A Team.” I remember working on that song for HOURS to get it perfect. Ed’s albums are masterpieces, and it’s really crazy what that dude can do with only a guitar and his voice. For Jon: when I was in high school, I used to watch YouTube videos that showed how he made all of his songs step by step. That was a BIG reason I began to write my own music. His concepts and creativity blow my mind every song, and it would be a dream come true to work with him in the future.
Photo Credit: Christian Sarkine
OTW: What’s your favorite tour memory with Quinn XCII?
French: Obviously the shows and meet and greets were of my top memories because it was so cool seeing people singing the worlds to my songs and being able to meet them afterwards. But if I had to pick one specific memory, it would probably be from my birthday. I was in Mike’s (Quinn XCII’s) green room, and he told me I had to stage dive at the end of his set for my birthday. I’ve seen so many artists EAT it while crowd surfing, and I was terrified to do it. So during his set, I went up in my green room and practiced jumping on the couch to perfect my technique. Then Mike brought me out and I crowd surfed for the first time ever while “22” by Taylor Swift was blasting. It was a soft landing and was so so so much fun. I’ll definitely be doing that again.
OTW: Your photographer, Christian Sarkine, just so happens to have the same name as you. Did that get confusing while you two were together?
French: Lol… yes. At the beginning, it was difficult and throughout the tour we definitely both looked every time someone said “Christian,” but everyone started calling him “Sarkine” and it made things easier for both of us.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?