Interview Feature – Francois Klark
….winning the Universal
Returning from his Spanish tour with Celia Pallí (close friend, and fellow singer-songwriter), following his previous tour in the UK, Francois Klark is the Universal award winning Toronto based singer songwriter and producer.
Francois Klark’s initiation into music presented itself during his second year of the University in his hometown, Potchefstroom. Entering a songwriting competition that led to his song being selected as that year’s best original composition – Prior to this never having sung in an audience of that scale. Recognising his battle with stage fright, Francois had always found it difficult to perform on stage until that particular event, a pivotal moment that would change the course of his life, leading him to later being the finalist John Lennon Songwriting award, Oscar Peterson Award, Standard Bank Award for best original composition and Most Promising Performing Solo Artist, IAMA Award, and winning Universal USA Songwriting award.
Born in South Africa in a town called Rundu in the Okavango, Namibia, Francois grew up being exposed to the vibrant music and culture of, not only the Afrikaans people but also that of the Mbarakwengo people who lived in and around the Omega military base where his family lived. Francois noted “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 therefore 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.”
Accrediting his family as a significant role in shaping his career, a unity that still directly influences his music as his career progressed – “My family has always supported me and fostered an environment in which I could freely explore and grow as a musician. I remember music being part of our household for as long as I can remember. It was just another way of living everyday life. It was light-hearted, silly, beautiful – it was something we did together in our house. We could jump behind the piano anytime. Music was in the church pews as we would harmonize with mom, it was at school in the choir, it was at barbecues with friends…it was everywhere.” – Though as a young artist, and being no stranger to the industry Francois still found that there was a level of encumbrance where the formalities of business were concerned. Even with being immersed in making music for the most part of Francois life, it was the business side of the industry that remained quite foreign to Francois who only recently decided to pursue a solo career. “That meant getting connected with the right music industry business professionals. This has probably been one of the biggest challenges and steepest learning curves. However, with a lot of research, due diligence and patience I’m slowly building a team consisting of not only very talented businessmen and woman, but also incredible human beings”
… Art would always be before business!
It is undeniable that the crux of his songs are centered on love and some of the bliss that it brings along with some of the maelstrom of emotions that can come along with it, in acquiescence Francois spoke admittedly that although he may not consider himself a Romeo, he has the tendency to be a romantic in real life. Part of which prompted the basis of his new single entitled ‘Spaceman’, speaking at large of the mindset behind the single – “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.
Francois Klark’s album promises to be filled with alternative pop anthems, in his own words “an album that syncs between epic and intimate soundscapes which are alarmingly tribal, doused with provocative hooks, flickering synths, live instruments (often cinematic and orchestral-based) and a colossal amount of slickly-addictive polish.”
At no point did Francois thoughts seem fleeting or unfocused, when asked if by his own admission he stayed true to the notion of art before the business he passionately expressed that from his experience, yes. Art would always be before business! Without the art there would be no business. However, without the business no one will ever know that the art is out there. It is a balancing act that he has learned to harness. Forging a career that allows his listeners to escape into his art whilst still keeping his integrity.