Christian French, a young LA based artist is in full swing of his first headlining tour, Bright Side of the Moon.
Recently, French debuted his six track EP (title the same as tour) after releasing a number of popular singles and another EP. Originally from Indiana, French dropped out of his freshman year of college with a dream and a plan. It was here, two years ago, he went on his first tour as an opener. On Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 French stopped in Boston to play a sold out show at Sonia, a live music venue in Cambridge. Previously, French has opened for artists Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler on their own headlining tours. On Spotify, his most popular song, “By Myself” has over 31 million streams and monthly he has almost 2 million listeners.
I was lucky enough to sit down with this artist before his show and ask him a few questions.
Q: How’s the tour going so far?
A: It’s insane, it’s a completely different experience for me. For the whole last year, I’ve been just opening for people for a 30 or 40 minute set and now I get to have my own shows! A really new thing for me as well is having the whole crowd singing, I’ve had people singing lyrics before but it’s different when people are coming for specifically you. You don’t have to try to be like ‘Guys I’m cool I promise, check out my music’. Plus, going on tour with Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler was great because they are the best people I could’ve opened up for.
Q: What’s been your favorite venue you’ve played at this tour?
A: The Subterranean in Chicago was really cool just because it was one of those double deckers that has the balcony up top and it made it look really big and cool. And then The Blind Pig was the first place we performed on tour in Ann Arbor, [Michigan] I had played there with Chelsea before and I played there again and both times was so much fun with insane energy.
Q: What’s been your favorite song to perform on tour?
A: Bright Side of the Moon, everybody knows it and that was really surprising to me. Obviously the tour is called Bright Side of the Moon but I wasn’t expecting that many people to know the lyrics that fast because it kinda just came out. Everybody really gets into it for that one. Love Ride is one of my favorites and then Head First is another one too.
Q: What’s been your favorite vs. the worst part about being on tour?
A: I check my DM’s a lot and respond to them so it’s really cool to meet the fans that you’ve been talking to for up to a couple years, by now. Putting a face to the name and really getting to talk to them is cool and that connection is really cool. Plus, hearing people talk to you about how a certain song has impacted their life, which is for me, all I can ask for as a musician. And then, I’d say the worst part is it’s really tough to stay above water, mentally. It’s just the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. It’s from the van, to the venue, done at 12:30am or 1:00am and you’re back at the hotel, get a couple hours of sleep, then wake up at 8:00am and do it all over again. And it’s really quickly draining, so you need those times here and there to have an off day to rejuvenate. I’ve felt very overwhelmed a couple times on this tour, I’m trying to realize it’s just part of the struggle. It’s something I’ve never done before, I just gotta get used to it in a way.
Q: When did you first begin to play music?
A: My very first encounter would be in choir class in 6th grade. My friend came in, and he had learned Love Song by Sara Bareilles on the piano from youtube. He showed me and I thought it was so cool how he learned it from youtube and then he taught me how to play it. It was the first thing I ever played on piano. We both ended up starting to cover a bunch of stuff on the piano from youtube and that’s how I learned how to play piano. From there, I would cover songs and post it onto soundcloud by recording voice memos on my iPhone. I did that until college when I released Fall for You on spotify. I got my own recording equipment, met someone at college [Triegy] who produced music well and we made four songs together that ended up being pretty cool.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration?
A: I would say John Mayer has consistently been a favorite of mine since I was little and consistently been my favorite type of music. I grew up listening to him and that gave me the intuition that I have for what I think sounds good for my music.
Q: What song would you say is most personal to you?
A: Dying Alive and Heavy Snow for sure. Both of those stem from anxiety, Dying Alive was my first experience with anxiety. I was in a relationship at the time and I didn’t really know how to handle it and it was one of those things where I just stopped giving this person attention because I just couldn’t seem to figure myself out. It ended up tearing us apart and I was really broken at that time so writing that song helped to put the pieces back together for me. It got me in the mindset that music is going to be what I’m doing with my life. The same thing goes for Heavy Snow, I was in a really weird fog with anxiety and writing that song pulled me out of that time, so it was very personal to me.
Q: If you could choose a feature with someone who would you want to produce a new song with?
A: Khalid, or I would love to do a song with some electronic artists like Louis The Child. Also ODEZSA, and SG Lewis would be really cool. Also artists like Clairo would be cool, and I still have to make a song with Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler and all them.
Q: When do you want to produce a full album?
A: It’s really tough these days, we’re waiting for the right time. That’s a year or two of work and you have to make sure if you release it, it won’t be skipped over because people these days don’t have the attention span to listen to 12 songs. And so you have to make sure when it does happen, they’re going to listen to all the songs. So, we’re really trying to make that happen. We have a great collection of music that’s still not out until after this tour and the talk of an album has definitely been on the table.