INTERVIEW with Francois Klark
Francois Klark is an African born and Toronto based brilliant Canadian singing-songwriting talent, who is a producer, and a multidisciplinary soul-pop/R&B artist that is also a Universal Music Award winner who has shared the stage with such acts as Grammy winner Jon Bellion (‘Monster’ Rihanna & Eminem, ‘Holy’ Justin Bieber & Chance The Rapper) to backing up R&B icon Ginuwine. He has worked on projects with UMG/Decca Records UK, his songs have been recorded by the likes of Hollywood Records artist Sofia Carson, The launch of Klark’s career is marked by his independently released 2017 debut single ‘Spaceman’ which was followed by his 2018 debut album ‘Love’. He soon garnered tens of millions of streams across digital platforms and his songs appeared on several Spotify editorial playlists and the Viral 50 Singapore and Norway, the American Top 40, and the USA top 100 Charts. Francois’ music soared to new heights after his 2020 evocative ballad, “Always,” played a pivotal role featured in the director Elissa Down’s Netflix hit movie “Feel The Beat.” He was discovered by choreography icon Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance, Prince, Madonna), He was awarded the highest honor for any student in Humber’s music program – the Oscar Peterson Award for outstanding achievement in Music and also received Humber College’s Moe Koffman/Universal Music Award. As well, he won the Standard Bank Award for best original composition and the Most Promising Performing Solo Artist, and Francois was also an awarded finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards, John Lennon, and USA Songwriting competitions. Francois completed his Bachelor’s in Music at Thompson Rivers University, and Klark was previously awarded the FACTOR Juried Sound Recording Grant and he has been on performance tours across the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, and Spain. An artist of the highest integrity, from pop anthems doused with provocative hooks, flickering synths, and cinematic soundscapes, to delicate piano ballads. Klark contains a world of songs both refreshing and familiar with a colossal amount of slickly addictive polish and an undeniable vocal, sharply dressed onto storytelling lyrics, truly stunningly, and enchanting.
DEB: Q. 1. When did you realize music was going to be a huge part of your life?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “Hi Deb, thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you at the Wire Megazine. I knew from a young age that music would be part of the way that I live my life. Music has always been closely tied to the family for me and it was part of our household for as long as I can remember. Light-hearted, silly, beautiful – Music was something we did together in our house. Music was in the church pews as we would harmonize with my mom, it was at school in the choir, and it was at barbecues with friends – it was everywhere. It wasn’t until I won a University-wide songwriting competition during my 2nd year of graphic design studies that I realized music could become my career. Up until that point, music was something I did every day but never considered it a possible career. I quit my graphic design studies shortly after and embraced an opportunity to study music at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.“
DEB: Q. 2. How would you describe your sound?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “My music ranges from cinematic pop anthems that blur the lines between organic and electronic production elements, to evocative piano-driven ballads.
DEB: Q. 3. Who would you say inspires your songwriting the most, then and now?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “I listened to a lot of Alanis Morisette as a kid and tried very hard to write songs akin to hers. She was likely one of the earliest artists who inspired me to pursue songwriting. Lauryn Hill, Queen, and Dave Matthews Band followed shortly after. More recently Labrinth, Coldplay, Chance The Rapper, and Lido have been influencing my songwriting.“
DEB: Q. 4. Your new single & video for Paper Planes has just been released. Describe your songwriting process and how this song came to be?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “Once I have an idea for a song, I tend to write the lyrics, melody, and chords simultaneously. It has been my experience that those three elements are inseparably intertwined in my writing process. The one directly shapes and affects the other. ’Paper Planes’ came about after I visited Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico a couple of years back. I was completely taken by the beauty of golden hour one evening as I sat on the beach. I thought to immortalize that moment in a song that tells of two lovers who are seemingly alone in the world, unbound by the constraints of time. From there I just tried to use words that paint vivid cinematic images of that moment and of the couple getting lost in the sandy streets late at night.“
DEB: Q. 5. Paper Planes is the second single off of your upcoming album “Adventure Book.” Take us on a musical stroll through your future album.
FRANCOIS KLARK: “The album can best be described as a wanderlust memoir that journeys steadily through a world of addictive slick pop production which dauntlessly ventures into awe-inspiring symphonic concert halls and small tribal villages. The album is a celebration of life and is inspired by our need to explore our world and our desire to connect with others. The songs on the album are a collection of adventures from the memories, stories, and relationships from my travels in Oaxaca, Guatemala, Spain, my native South Africa, and now home, Canada.“
DEB: Q. 6. Some of the most historical and revered music has always played a deep role in the transformation of society. Some consider how their art relates to the current social-political landscape or how their music can address these themes. Does your music touch on social or political issues?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “Some of my songs, like ‘For You’, a song I wrote in support of homeless youth in my hometown, directly address political issues. However, more often than not, I write and produce music with the purpose of providing the listener with an opportunity to escape, or reflect on things in their own life.“
DEB: Q. 7. Contrary to popular belief, making it in the art of music isn’t merely a game of luck, as it requires talent, strategy, dedication, and determination based on your vision and goals. Some artists seem reluctant to speak of just how frustrating and baffling the whole experience of navigating the general music realm is, let alone add in the restrictions that COVID-19 places on our lives, or how hard it is to still be ambitious about getting their art recorded, seen, or sold. Outside of your new singles, videos, and future album, share how you have kept your fans engaged throughout the last 18 months during COVID-19?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “Being forced to find other ways to connect with fans as a result of lockdowns made me aware of opportunities that I previously underutilized to directly connect with a global community of fans. Prior to this, I felt a bit disconnected from fans in far places. During the lockdowns I had, amongst other things, live Q&A Instagram hangs and intimate acoustic performances right from my living room with small audiences from over 8 countries at a time. I enjoyed connecting directly with fans online during the course of the lockdowns very much and will likely continue to do so from here on.”
DEB: Q. 8. What is the best thing about performing to a live audience? As well, after almost a 2-year hiatus due to the worldwide pandemic, how does it feel to return to live music once again?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “There is nothing like the energy of a performance with a live band in front of a live audience. One of the best things about performing for a live audience is the ability to connect with individuals in the audience when you look directly at someone.
DEB: Q. 9. What would you say has been your career highlight thus far? Also, what is next for Francois Klark?
FRANCOIS KLARK: “It has always been a dream of mine to be involved in a musical capacity with film and television. This dream came to fruition a little while ago when Resonate Entertainment reached out to me requesting to place my song ‘Always’ in director Elissa Down’s dance film choreographed by Mia Michaels for Netflix. A career highlight that came from this opportunity was Disney Descendants actress, Sofia Carson, recording a cover and Spanish version of ‘Always’ for the film and soundtrack.“
Fans can stay connected with Francois Klark by visiting the social platforms below: https://www.francoisklark.com