2020 will go down in history as many things, one of which being Christian French’s summer of music without the festival. In the absence of crowds and in-person fans, French has rediscovered himself and his music.
Starting as a choir boy, French ironically found the piano. “My friend came in one day, and he had learned, do you know the song, “Love Song,” by Sarah Bareilles? He had learned that on piano, and I just thought it was the coolest thing, and he learned it from YouTube and he taught me how to play it. And I just immediately really started loving piano,” said French.
Over the next few years, French continued to build on his musical skills by learning the quintessential 2000s songs. As he grew more comfortable and confident in his abilities, French started publishing his covers on SoundCloud. Through those early recordings, one can hear French’s growth from those projects. “From there, I just started learning how to navigate the piano well enough to write some of my own stuff. After that, I went to college and I met somebody who’s a really good producer, and together we made “Fall For You,” which is my first like released record,” said French.
And so the story goes, as it does for many musicians, to tirelessly churn music out: the more music available, the more fans possible, the more gigs acquired. It’s a tale as old as 4/4 time.
However, it’s also a tale entirely disrupted by 2020. When the pandemic hit, French was “in the middle of touring when like, really smack-dab in the middle, when we got the notice that we couldn’t keep going. And so that was a bummer, but at least we got to do half a tour.”
Which is more than many musicians can say, although that appreciation doesn’t erase the disappointment. “I was really excited to start doing festivals, it’s like one of my favorite things,” said French.
Nor does his appreciation solve the professional problem, no matter what musicians do or create, their industry is still a live entertainment one. Without that live facet, the entertainment portion becomes passive.
As French put it, “I’ve really never had this much time to like, I don’t know, just experiment with my craft, to stay at home and get better, and continue to evolve in my music.”
French continues by explaining that “I’ve just been really on this path of personal growth. For the first time in my life, I’ve really been introduced to books, podcasts, I’ve really tried to embody personal growth or physically being healthy or mentally being healthy, for just becoming the best version of yourself. That’s something I try to embody in my work.”
Although that sounds more like a long-term promise for new music or a new sound, French has been releasing singles rather regularly throughout quarantine. “”crowded room” was released right before the pandemic,” in early March. “But we had, had, I think too much scheduled, it was scheduled for like middle of April and we thought it was just really fitting for the time,” said French.
Following-up “crowded room” was “i think too much,” released around a month later. Then came the EP, head first (remixes), which was published first thing in July. Shortly after that, French released “make or break up” a few days later. So although these days can seem quite mundane for most of us, French’s consistent stream of music can break time up for us.
And if that doesn’t work, French advises to “Stay productive, we’ve been stuck at home for such a long time. Give new things a try, that’s the quickest way to get rid of this banal routine, it’s a new feeling, it’s exciting, and I think that’s the best way to spend time. Stay healthy, drink water.”