Posted On 21 Nov 2017
Francois Klark is a South African born, Canadian singer-songwriter and producer. This Toronto based artist has caught the attention of music lovers, industry professionals and labels worldwide with his incredible songwriting and powerful vocal performances. He is a Universal Music Award Winner and has collected a number of other awards including a John Lennon Songwriting award, Oscar Peterson Award, Standard Bank Award for best original composition and Most Promising Performing Solo Artist, IAMA Award, and USA Songwriting award. He has worked on projects with Universal Music Group UK and has shared the stage with various artists including Grammy winner Jon Bellion (Rihanna Eminem), Genuwine, Shawn Desman, and Karl Wolf.
“No journey too far,” the singer/songwriter muses on his debut single “Spaceman,” a fantastical Coldplay-meets-John Legend expedition of love. The track is ripped from his first full-length, which is alarmingly tribal, doused with provocative hooks, flickering synths, live instruments (often cinematic and orchestral-based) and a colossal amount of slickly-addictive polish. His vocal is undeniable, sharply-dressed onto the storytelling lyrics, and you feel the weight of every single syllable. He pours his heart out, and we’re just along for the ride. Speaking of the creative process behind the song, he explains “Some people believe that there is only one perfect person for you. Others believe that a person could fall in love with anyone and then that person becomes the perfect person for you. I find this idea very intriguing. So, like I do with most things that are on my mind, I took this idea to the piano and started developing a narrative around it.”
He adds “In a sense this song became a metaphor for my journey as I search for, and discover my muse – music. Because of music I had the opportunity to journey all over the world.” Francois graduated from the Humber College music program in Toronto and has since been on performance tours across the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
The lyric video and acoustic performance for ‘Spaceman’ are now on Youtube. The single can be downloaded and streamed on all major digital platforms. Klark’s forthcoming debut album is set to be released early 2018.
Learn more about Francois Klark in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
Hi! Pleasure hanging with you guys. I’m in my apartment in a very brisk Toronto, Canada, crushing a few online interviews.
Absolutely, there is music playing. An interview ago it was ‘Magnus the Magnus’, but while I’m chatting with you I’m nodding my head to the new ‘Kingdom Coming EP’ by Emeli Sandé
What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Motown every single time without fail!
‘Ain’t No Mountain’ – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrel
‘All I Do’ – Stevie Wonder
‘I Can’t help it’ – Michael Jackson
‘ABC’ – Jackson 5
What is a song you are loving these days?
I’ve been pretty hung up on Joshua Luke Smith’s ‘Carry Me’. It stirs me up inside just like the first time I heard ‘Otherside’ by Macklemore.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I always loved music and it was a very important and big part of my life, but it never crossed my mind that I could one day become a musician and make my passion my career.
I recall sitting in church on a hot South African Sunday morning beside my mom when I was still a young little dude. I would lean against her shoulder and listen to her harmonize to church hymns all the time.
Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
I was pretty dolphin and killer whale obsessed till grade 8. I was going to be a marine biologist. High school physics and chemistry had other plans for me however. We soon came to an agreement that we didn’t like each other very much, and with the parting of our ways, so came the parting with my dream of becoming a marine biologist. I immediately gravitated to my passion – the arts, and set a steady course to become a graphic designer. I went to Uni for graphic design, but then music stepped in during my second year and changed the course of my life permanently.
Overall, how do you think 2017 has been for you and your music career?
2017 definitely marks the turning point in my career as a solo artist. It is the year that things started to take off and the year that I can see all the hard work finally producing some fruit.
What are you most excited about for in 2018?
Releasing my debut album – it is finished and ready to be set free into the world. I’m having a hard time holding myself back from just putting it up online right away, but I’ll restrain myself and cooperate with my marketing and PR team till the time is right.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected you and your music today?
This is a pretty loaded question. I agree with you 100%. I think where you were born and where you grew up undeniably shapes you as a person, and ultimately as an artist. I was born in a town called Rundu in the Okavango, Namibia. I grew up being exposed to the vibrant music and culture of, not only the white Afrikaans people, but also that of the Mbarakwengo people who lived in and around the Omega military base where my family lived. My family would eventually move back to South Africa. It was in the then small town of Potchefstroom, that I, through singing in choirs, had the opportunity to explore all the music and cultures of my fellow South Africans. We were all from different cultural backgrounds, but we were united as one people by the name that our loving president, Nelson Mandela, gave us – Rainbow Nation. This instilled in me a love for people and music from cultures that are different from my own. My music is therefor deeply inspired by what the western world refers to as world music. It is my goal to build relationship, share and collaborate with as many artists and groups from as many different cultural backgrounds as time would allow me.
What was the inspiration for your debut single, “Spaceman”?
Some people believe that there is only one perfect person for you. Others believe that a person could fall in love with anyone and then that person becomes the perfect person for you. Regardless of what you believe, odds are, if you’re single, the person you’ll one day choose to spend the rest of your life with, is somewhere out there right now at this very moment. ‘Spaceman’ explores this idea. The narrative in the song follows a space traveler who embarks on an almost dream like journey covering extreme distances and overcoming great obstacles in search of his one person. In a sense this song became a metaphor for my journey as I search for, and discover my muse – music.
How do you think your debut single prepares listeners for more music from you?
‘Spaceman’ is in some way a sonic summary of what listeners can expect to hear from my music in the future – Inspiring alternative pop anthems set to an epic soundscape of seamlessly woven together electronic and live instrumentation. Soaring electric guitars, breathtaking orchestral arrangements, driving synths, grand piano & haunting African and native rhythms,
When do you hope to release more music and full-length album of new songs?
I just released the Live Acoustic version of Spaceman which is available to stream and download everywhere. There are also two remixes of Spaceman set for release in January (2018). The remixes will be followed by another single off of the album and then the debut album will follow shortly after.
How do you feel about the incredible comparison that press has come up for you- “Coldplay-meets-John Legend expedition of love”?
Very proud and humbled – I look up to them as artists quite a bit. I am deeply motivated and inspired by Coldplay. I very much admire how creative and imaginative they are. I once briefly met John Legend as he passed by me backstage at a gig. He was doing a few last minute warm ups before going on stage and I remember thinking ‘Wow – his voice is even richer & bigger in real life’.
Touring through Catalunya, Spain with Catalan artist Celia Pallí has been an ultimate highlight. A tour is only as good as the people that you are traveling with, and we had the best team of solid human beings. All of our shows were in open air venues surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. I fell in love with Catalunya and it was such a privilege to share the stage with Celia.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you?
– People you love being on stage with.
Well rehearsed music and great arrangements.
A great sound engineer.
– A supportive and receptive audience.
With the summer over, what was something fun or new that you tried?
Lots of seafood. I was previously quite a bit averse to seafood, but thanks to the Mediterranean and the lovely people of Catalunya, I’ve discovered a love for seafood.
We are living in a crazy, and at times rough world right now. How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
I think songwriters and musicians across the world realize that during this time we have to use our music to protest wrong doing and injustice. I think today’s music will, and already reflects this. I think we will also listen back to music written today and reflect on how it inspired, motivated and instilled hope in us all.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Dave Matthews, Labrinth, Cass Lowe, Emeli Sande, Coldplay, Chris Martin, Joshua Luke Smith, Jill Scott, Stromae, A Tribe Called Red. This list can go on forever.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Write all the time. Surround yourself with truly genuine and good people. Make true friends, not contacts. Don’t follow trends – trends will pass by the time you’re ready to release your music. Be true to what comes naturally to you. Find a purpose for your music – it wasn’t given to you to serve you.