Since the release of his debut single, Francois Klark has been impressing us with his musicality and social sensibility as an artist. When we covered the artist in our Artist Spotlight series, we saw in Klark a musician whose goal was to make an impact with his words. This became more evident when released the music video for “Run”. His attempt of normalizing the non-binary relationships through a simple music video was noteworthy.
Last month, Klark released a symphonic adaptation of his single “Please Stay”, the orchestra for which was arranged by the award-winning composer Kristjan Bergey.
‘Please Stay’ tells the all-consuming tragic tale of two longtime lovers forced into a long distance relationship which ultimately fails when one of the lovers no longer wants to fight for their love. As if with the sudden force of an immense wave, the full orchestra floods the arrangement with an almost hopeful swell only to abruptly abandon Klark, surrendering him to the depths of his loneliness. ‘Please stay. Don’t go. I can’t fall asleep without the shape of you that I fit into.’
In an interview with Fuzzable, Francois Klark detailed out the creative process behind the adaptation, his journey till now, and his future endeavours. Check out the complete interview below:
Hi Francois! The first time we heard your track “Spaceman”, we were completely floored. While we know a bit about your musical journey, we want to learn more. So, how did your journey begin?
Hi Fuzzable. That is very kind of you. Thank you for being so supportive 🙂 Well, Music is very closely tied to the family for me and that’s where the love for it all began. I remember music being part of our household for as long as I can remember. It was something we did together in our house. We could jump behind the piano anytime, mom would play guitar and we’d make up songs, and in church, my sis and I would always try to harmonize along with mom. Dad also had and still has a massive voice. Eventually, school choir and children’s choir took up most of my free time. In grade 12 I had a quick stint on Idol South Africa which was an absolute blast and a great learning experience and by the time I hit Uni, I was writing nonstop. A year into my Graphic design degree I had the opportunity to move to Canada to study music at Humber College in Toronto – this was the big turning point that put me on the path of pursuing music as a career. Fast forward past living in London, England to work on a project with Universal UK, a few tours across the UK, Canada and Spain, sharing the stage with Jon Bellion, and here I am…debut record in hand, head full of ideas for the next project.
Do you have any artist or personality who has inspired and influenced you to pursue your dreams?
Yes I do – I compiled a list of 5 people who inspire me that I keep in the back of my mind at all times:
1 – Chris Martin (Coldplay)
I’ve been listening to Coldplay since ‘Yellow’ was released, but it wasn’t until the release of the Mylo Xyloto album that I became a hardcore fan. I am crazy about the production and arrangements on this album and lost my brains over the live show stage production – it is incredible! The band and their production team seem to constantly push the creative envelope when it comes to stage production. I admire them for their forward thinking and innovative live show production ideas. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from watching a Coldplay performance, it is to never limit your ideas with the confines of what is currently possible. If you have an idea and it seems impossible, be relentless in your creativity to figure out how to make it possible.
Don’t underestimate the power of creativity – it can turn the impossible into something extraordinary.
2- Lauryn Hill
Out of all the artists that my sister introduced me to back when I was a kid there is one voice that stood out to me and stuck with me for the rest of my life – Lauryn Hill. She is my favorite vocalist to this day. I am amazed at how emotionally charged her vocal performances are. With the richest full tone and unbelievable ease, she sings the tastiest melodies and riffs that I’ve ever laid ears on. Allow me a cheeseball moment…get ready for it: Her voice is like a cascading waterfall filled with the most astonishing natural beauty. There, I’m done. I will always go back to her records and I will never stop learning from her performances
3- Dave Matthews My buddy Dirk Höll first introduced me to Dave’s music when we were in high school. He gave me the album ‘Crash’ to listen to. By the time I got to track 3 on the album I was obsessed with his writing. I remember thinking that his songs were like really well written poems. He strings words together in such a simple yet imaginative and colourful way to paint very vivid images of whatever he sings about. It wasn’t until the summer of 2006 that I saw the Dave Matthews Band in concert. It was only my second summer in Canada since I moved here from South Africa. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to see them live! The energy at a Dave Matthews Band concert is incredible. I was on my feet dancing & singing along with the crowd throughout the entire concert. I’ve seen them play quite a few summers since. It is because of Dave that I became serious about becoming a songwriter. His songs made me fall in love with the idea of painting stories with words. I admire DMB’s musicianship and aspire to play live performances of the same caliber. Since listening to ‘Crash’ that first time in high school, Dave has been the one musician that I dream of writing and singing with one day.
4- Ben Haggerty (and all the truly independent artists out there).
Macklemore is one of the best examples of hard working independent musicians that I’ve ever come across. I admire Ben & Ryan’s work ethic and perseverance and have learned so much just from the little that I know of how they do things. They’ve inspired me to treat the creative and the business side of music as two equal things. Though I am far from being good at the business side of music, I don’t let a single day go by without putting in everything that I have into this.
5 – Nelson Mandela
South Africa 1994 – the school bell rings to announce the start of music class. Greeted by the music teacher: “Today we are going to learn the new national anthem” As a kid I really didn’t know much about the politics in my country, but at that very moment I was aware that something very exciting was about to go down in my country. It was incredible – I remember the first day, the new flag was flown in front of the school office. That very morning we sang our new national anthem for the first time as a school. We were so proud of ourselves for having mastered the anthem in all three of the languages that it is sung in. Everything was new and hopeful in our country – all because of a man known as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, or as we would later lovingly call him, Tata Madiba. I am incredibly inspired by Mr. Mandela’s perseverance. I admire and strive to love how he loved even the ones that imprisoned or threatened to kill him. When push comes to shove, I pray that I have the balls to stand up and fight for what is right even when faced with sure persecution or death. It is my everyday goal to join in his dream of unifying people across cultural and ethnic boundaries, but unlike him doing it through politics, I will stick to music.
Considering the projects that you have undertaken till now, how do you see your evolution as a singer and a songwriter?
Well, when I listen back I can poke so many holes in my performance and writing. I can however notice gradual growth and I can see the music heading into a direction that I like more and more every time. If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the years, it is to do what feels right musically to you in that moment. To boldly go for it and give it your best, because trying to please other people and keeping up with trends is a loosing battle that leaves you with a very poor representation of who you are as a writer and musician.
When the music video for “Run” was released, we read about your idea to prioritize human relations and emotions over someone’s sexuality. How do you think can music normalize and facilitate acceptance of LGBTQ community, considering the crisis that our Trans brothers and sisters are facing at the moment?
I think as musicians it is our duty and responsibility to use our public platforms to speak out when we see injustice. I am convinced that it is up to everyone, regardless of which field they work in. The more we talk about these things, the more we talk to each other, and the more we get to know each other as people, the better off we all will be.
Congratulations for “Please Stay”. Please tell our readers a bit about the single.
Thanks. ‘Please Stay’ tells the all-consuming tragic tale of two longtime lovers forced into a long distance relationship which ultimately fails when one of the lovers no longer wants to fight for their love.
You have created an orchestra backed song which is a really tough thing to execute. How did the collaboration for orchestra come about?
I wanted to explore 3 very different sonic soundscapes with ‘Please Stay’. The first being a very bare and lonely piano and vocal, then the emotional and grand orchestral, followed in the reprise with an all in live band and with layered vocal. I wrote and produced the song and then approached my good friend and immensely talented award-winning composer Kristjan Bergey. He wrote the orchestral arrangement. Brandon Unis, the talented mixing engineer and producer from Toronto who mixed my debut album, co-produced the reprise at the end of the track with me.
In terms of musicality, the song is quite different from the tracks you had released earlier. What kinds of styles do you wish to experiment with in the near future?
I would love to do a full album with an Electronic producer like Lido. I would also like to work with Kristjan again to arrange more music for symphony and record a live album with a full symphony orchestra.
In terms of theme and narrative, the song seems to continue the tales depicted in “Spaceman” and “Run”. Are the tracks interlinked?
Both Spaceman and Run are songs that tell stories that I just made up. A bit of relatable fiction. ‘Please Stay’ is however a very personal song based in true events of a past relationship.
You have recently launched a choreography contest for the video. Please tell us a bit about it and what do people need to do in order to participate in the competition?
I am a massive dance fan. I can spend hours on youtube looking at Urban Dance Camp and Millennium Dance Studio class videos. I fan out pretty hard for choreographers and dancers like Keone & Mari, Chachi Gonzales, Sean Lew, Koharu Sugawara and so many more. I wanted to somehow be involved in the dance community and support this great art form. Dancers and choreographers can go to francoisklark.com and find all the information on how to enter there.
Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavours?
There is an acoustic EP and some live in studio videos to go along with the EP ready for release. I’ll hold on to those until the Choreo Competition is over. My head is also full of ideas for the next album already.
So, what do you think about Klark’s adaptation? Share your thoughts via tweet @Fuzzable.