Two years ago, Christian French, a hockey lover and Fisher, Indiana native, put his pre-med textbooks on the shelf forever to follow his true passion using his music to share his perspectives on life. Today, Christian has become America’s indie-pop prince.
Credit: Mickey Mars
Starting out with covers on Soundcloud, emulating his favorites John Mayer, Gavin Degraw, and Adam Levine, Christian eventually dropped out of Indiana University and migrated to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. In 2018, while sleeping on various friends couches, he penned his first single 'love ride', which has amassed over 19 million streams globally, helped him build a rabid fanbase and set the tone for the future. Just a year later, Christian joined friend and fellow pop artist, Chelsea Cutler, on a nationwide sold out North American tour followed by another even bigger tour with Quinn XCII. By the end of 2018, Christian spent all his savings recording and releasing his independent debut EP, 'natural colors' amassing over 25 million streams to date.
In 2019, Christian signed to Disruptor Records/Sony Music and released his 'bright side of the moon' EP featuring his biggest hit of his career 'head first' and embarked on his debut headlining tour.
Last month, Christian released his new single 'i think too much' - an introspective track that follows Christian's stream of consciousness as he croons over buoyant and bouncy melodies. Vocalising and approaching his inner thoughts, questions, and self-doubt, Christian continues to raise mental health awareness with a bright outlook and resolve. The rising star finds his stride in this hummable, optimistic new single.
We had a chat with Christian on the track and more...
You’ve recently released your new single ‘i think too much’. Tell us a bit about the track!
"I’m so happy that “i think too much” is out. I’ve always considered myself an introspective person who really likes to think deeply through situations, but sometimes I 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 a lot of times I try to “brainstorm” my way into how I can reach these goals. This is a paradox sometimes, because when you’re trying to enjoy the moment, trying to put your experience into words is the quickest thing to pull you out of it, which I’ve realized I do a LOT. Instead of taking a second and being thankful for what is, sometimes I find myself shooting right onto the next thing, and there’s no way to ever be satisfied if you’re always doing that. In a lot of ways, this song is kind of me acknowledging how much I think and “checking” myself."
How has the reaction been so far?
"It seems like this song really came out at the right time - right now everyone is at home spending more time with themselves than ever before, and I’ve gotten an overwhelming response to how much this song has helped so many through this weird period. I feel like a lot of people feel very alone with their thoughts, and this song shows that it’s not just them - there’s so many of us who think too much."
You’ve amassed over 25 million streams on your breakout single ‘head first’. Do you think Spotify playlisting as well as social media are helping musicians to build their careers and are there any artists who you’ve discovered recently?
"Yes, I think Spotify playlists and social media have a HUGE impact on how artists are building their careers today, but at the end of the day, it comes down to good music. You can spend all of the money in the world on playlist and social media promotion, but if the music isn’t there to match it, then nobody is going to listen. These different platforms have made good music more accessible.
One artist that I’ve recently discovered from Spotify is BabyJake - he only has a few songs released, but everything so far has been a smash and I’m waiting to hear more."
Who is your biggest inspiration and when did you realise you wanted to do music as a career?
"John Mayer has been a big influence on me my whole life - my parents ALWAYS had one of his albums playing, and I think it’s a lot of where my musical taste comes from. His songwriting is unmatched to me, and I’m always impressed with how well-spoken and grounded he is. He gives me the motivation to really dig deep into my writing until I come up with exactly what I want to say.
So I had been playing piano and singing covers for a few years before I started writing my own music - I was covering my favorite artists like John Mayer. And once I got to college, I met a friend who could produce. We started working together just for fun, and one of our songs ended up on the Viral Top 50 chart on Spotify. Through that, I found my manager, and we started talking for a few months before I went out to Los Angeles for the first time. After that first LA trip, I was hooked - I knew that that’s when and where I wanted to be making music."
You were due to start your headline tour before COVID-19 threw a devastating blow at live music. What’s your favourite thing about playing live and what can fans expect from your live show when you do get to play?
"I just really love the raw emotion that comes from playing music live. There are no “redo’s”, and there’s something really freeing and exhilarating that comes with that. I feed off of the crowd’s energy, and they feed off of mine at the same time - there’s a connection with that that I really miss.
Our shows are always so full of energy and there always seems to be a really good sense of inclusion - everyone is there to have a good time, even with strangers. A common theme for my shows is to spread kindness and positivity, and you can really feel it when you’re in the room."
What are your 5 tour essentials for the road?
"1. My adidas backpack that I’ve had since high school - my managers have consistently made fun of me for still having it, but it has the best pocket space out there and carries pretty much everything I need on the road.
2. Ricolas - I’m very conscious about my throat health on the road to make sure I can sing my best every night, and Ricolas have absolutely saved the day for keeping my throat feeling good.
3. Sound-cancelling headphones - sometimes you just need to have some time to yourself, and when you’re in a van full of people for a month, that can be pretty tough. Sound-cancelling headphones allow for me to get into my own headspace for a second and find peace within a bunch of chaos.
4. GOOD BOOKS - there is a lot of down time traveling between shows, and reading a good book has been my productive way to “teleport” to the next city. I find that during tour, I read a lot of books that fuel my inspiration for what music I end up writing after tour.
5. My Guitar - after a few tours, I’ve found that I go crazy a few weeks in if I’m not working on my artistry in some fashion. I picked up playing guitar this year, but for this spring tour, I was playing in the greenroom before shows, in the stairway of the hotels after shows, and any other time I could play. It was a great escape for me and will definitely be something I do for every tour here on out."
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
"I’ve been able to write music that genuinely means so much to me and people are able to connect with it so deeply that I’m able to tour the country and spread positivity with my best friends. I’m still so amazed that I get to do this every day and won’t ever take it for granted!"
You are due to release your EP this summer. What are your plans running up to the release and afterwards?
"Yes! I’ll be consistently releasing music throughout the summer - I’ve released 3 songs from my next EP “good things take time” and am hoping to get a new one out every month until the EP later this summer. No one really knows anything about when live shows will be a thing again, but I will say that I’ve been loving doing Instagram Live’s - I can still hang out with my fans during this time."