Alexis Ffrench
Alexis Ffrench - Live - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.jpg
Background information
Born1970 (age 50–51)
Surrey, England
Occupation(s)Pianist, composer, producer
LabelsSony Music
Websitehttp://www.alexisffrenchmusic.com/

Alexis Ffrench (born 1970) is a British classical soul musician, composer, producer, and pianist. Not only is Ffrench the UK's biggest selling pianist of 2020, he has headlined London's Royal Albert Hall, collaborated with fashion houses Miyake and Hugo Boss, played Latitude Festival, worked with Paloma Faith, composed several film scores and shares the same management team as Little Mix and Niall Horan.[1]

Ffrench's music has amassed over 200 million streams and both albums Evolution and Dreamland reached No. 1 in the classical music charts. "Even calling yourself 'a classical artist' is a barrier of entry to many people. My music has a classical signature in its DNA, but it's borderless, a synthesis of many styles."[2]

Career

Ffrench has been improvising on the piano since the age of four. He received scholarships to study at The Purcell School for Young Musicians, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.[3] He is known for his unique style of combining his classical training with a love of roots music and R&B.[4]

He is signed to Sony Music and Modest! Management. In 2017, he released his singles "Bluebird", "Radiate" and a cover of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".[5]

Ffrench delivers educational programmes on writing and producing music to young people, and has partnered with The Prince’s Trust, MJ Cole, Marvin Humes and other special guests.[2]

In 2019, Ffrench joined Scala Radio as a presenter.[6]

In March 2021 he became Scala Radio's composer in residence.[7]

Influences

Before his formal music education, at the age of seven Ffrench was appointed head organist at his local church in Surrey, becoming the UK's youngest church organist. Growing up in a household full of the music of Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Ella Fitzgerald, Ffrench first honed his craft by playing the kitchen table aged four and writing his first pieces at five, his prodigious gifts convincing his parents to buy a second-hand piano.

A tragic turning point came at 23, when Ffrench's best friend, a fellow musician, died by suicide. It led Ffrench both to reassess his music and to become keenly aware of the importance of good mental health. Dreamland’s vision of a safe haven is drawn from Ffrench's awareness of mental health concerns.

Ffrench points to the hip-hop community’s success in getting across its own complex musical messages to the mainstream. He cites the challenging music of Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak as examples of superstars doing it their own way. "Kendrick Lamar's song "Humble" is like Béla Bartók's Out Of Doors suite, in the pugilistic bass notes in the extremities of the piano at the opening of both works. I think to attract a contemporary audience, classical can learn from how hip-hop has marketed its music and ideas." The mix of Kendrick Lamar and Bartok, Shostakovich and Ariana Grande is present throughout Alexis’ weekly Sunday show on Scala Radio, a broad church where Alexis highlights the song craft in pop and revels in classical majesty. Praised by The Times as "If a single person epitomises the new push towards making classical music more diverse, eclectic and unstuffy, it's Alexis Ffrench. As a pianist and composer he creates tonal music that beguiles newcomers with its gentleness and beauty, yet also has enough half-concealed nods to Chopin, Debussy, Satie and other historical figures to keep connoisseurs interested."[2]

His 2020 single "Walk With Us" pays homage to the Black Lives Matter movement, with 100% of label net proceeds and artist record royalties donated to the cause.[8]

Discography

Albums

YearTitle
2006Piano Diaries
2009The Secret Piano
Piano Arias
The Singing Planet
Meditations
2012Piano Karma
2013Stolen Lullabies
2015Escape
2016The Piano Whisperer
2018Evolution
2020Dreamland

Film scores

YearTitleDirector
2018The House Where The Mermaid SleepsYukihiko Tsutsumi

References

  1. ^ "Alexis Ffrench Shares Powerful New 'Walk With Us' Video". Clash Magazine. 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  2. ^ a b c "Alexis Ffrench". Alexis Ffrench. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  3. ^ "Alexis Ffrench reveals video for 'Bluebird' - premiere". The Independent. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  4. ^ "Sony Classical signs Alexis Ffrench". Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  5. ^ Entertainment, Sony Music. "Sony Classical". Sony Classical (in German). Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  6. ^ "Alexis Ffrench". Scala Radio. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  7. ^ "Alexis Ffrench named Scala Radio's Composer in Residence". RadioToday. 2021-03-05. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  8. ^ Murray, Robin (2020-09-03). "Alexis Ffrench Shares Powerful New 'Walk With Us' Video". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 2020-11-03.

External links