Christian French dives into music industry “Head First”

Christian French dives into music industry “Head First”

Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE Christian French (middle) along with Warren Russell on guitar (left) and Nick Ineck on drums (right) perform for an audience at the Rickshaw Stop on October 1, 2019 in San Francisco, Calif.

“bright side of the moon” tour comes to an end after 22 shows

After previously touring in San Francisco with Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII, 22-year-old Christian French made his third appearance in the City by the Bay, this time headlining his own tour, “bright side of the moon.” French performed his 18th show of the tour at the Rickshaw Stop on Oct. 1, with his best friend Austin (ASTN) as his opener.

The show, like many others on the tour, was completely sold out. French described how surreal it was to headline his first tour and have fans come specifically to see him.

“Going into this, I tried to not have any expectations just because that only leaves for getting let down,” French said. “And so I just went into it with the least expectations that I could and it’s blown my mind — it’s insane, this is my first headlining tour. I’ve just never had people singing the words to all my songs like they have, I’ve never had fans coming to a show for me, it’s always been me being the opener and being like, ‘I promise I’m cool, guys.’ So it really frees up just to be your authentic self 100% because it’s a show for you.”

French opened his set with “Superstars,” one of his singles from last year, before diving into “Head First” and then “Fall for You,” his debut single with producer Triegy. The room was filled with a tremendous energy as French sang 14 songs with another one of his singles with Triegy, “By Myself,” as the encore. His setlist also included two new, unreleased songs — during one, French asked the crowd to put away their phones and just be together and enjoy the moment.

Both on and off tour, French personally responds to messages on social media from fans.

“It’s definitely time consuming [to respond to DMs, tweets, etc.], but not the type of time consuming where I’m like, ‘Sh*t, I gotta go through my DMs,’” French said. “If I didn’t want to go through my DMs, then I just wouldn’t, it’s as simple as that. I do it because I want to and I just think it offers that extra connection that a lot of people are looking for these days. People are looking for that more genuine side of artists these days […] it’s not just about music, it’s about more than that, it’s about the person that the artist is.”

While many fans are blown away that he would respond to them, French considers this to be normal and said it was something he had always done. His goal is to create a more personal connection with his fans and spread a positive message.

“My whole message with my music is just spreading as much love and positivity as possible, and just paying that forward into responding and letting people know that I’m just a normal dude from Indiana talking back to them,” French said. “To me, it’s not like a weird thing. It’s funny to me when fans are like, ‘Oh my god, he responded!’ because I’ve always done that and I will continue to do that until I can’t anymore. I just do it because I love doing it.”

After the show, French took the time to personally meet every single one of his fans — something he had done after all of his shows on this tour. Many fans brought him gifts, wrote him letters or asked him to sign things.

“I’ve gotten so many notes [from fans] that I’m really excited just to put on my wall when I get home and just make sure I remember all of those feelings and all of those letters,” French said. “It kind of goes off the Instagram thing — a lot of the fans that I have been talking to for a couple months or even a couple years I’m finally seeing in person and making that connection, and it’s just really cool. And it’s really cool when people come up and are talking about how my music has affected their life or has had a positive impact on them, and so that’s really all I can ask for as a musician. If I had something to say to [my fans], I’m just a normal kid from Indiana who’s passionate about music and working hard.”

Over the course of his month on tour, French has learned to have a more overarching, comprehensive view, rather than stressing out about the little things.

“[I learned] to not be so hard on yourself — it’s really easy to be this very tunnel-vision type of mind, and if you don’t have a very good show you’re like, ‘I suck as an artist,’” French said. “It’s really easy to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about yourself, [but] when you take that step back — for me at least, I was here a year ago opening for Chelsea Cutler, and now I get to headline a show here, it’s just really cool — keeping things in perspective is really important. I’ve learned a lot the past couple of tours on how to keep my head above water and not getting stressed out or falling into a hole of anxiety, because that really will take you down so quick on tour.”

French explained that taking care of his body is of utmost importance to him — he doesn’t drink or smoke on tour. In between shows, French tries to relax by reading or listening to podcasts, occasionally writing down an idea for upcoming music. He said, however, that tour mode was very different from writing music mode for him, and that he would rather fully devote his time and energy to enjoying all aspects of touring instead of stressing himself out by trying to write music.

As a newer artist, French has been building up his fan base, becoming more well known across the country. Boston was one of the biggest capacity shows and has been one of his favorite memories of the tour.

“The last couple songs were just an energy that I’ve never felt anything like on stage — everybody was on the same wavelength and everybody was just there to have a great time,” French said. “And it wasn’t like anything else from the outside world was affecting anybody; we were all having a really good time in the moment, and that’s just how I want every show to feel. That show meant a lot to me and made me feel like I was doing the right thing. That was another show where a lot of fans were just coming up, telling me how my music has had a positive impact on their life, so just that whole night was something I’ll never forget.”

Only 22 years old, French recognizes that there is always an opportunity to improve, and said that rather than looking at mistakes, he looks on the bright side and views occurences on tour as a learning experience.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s anything I wish I would’ve learned [prior to tour] just because I’m a big believer that everything happens exactly how it’s supposed to,” French said. “And if there’s something that has to happen this tour that wasn’t really that great, it’s a learning experience, it’s the opportunity for growth. I think it just comes down to really learning from everything that we haven’t done as great as we could have and continuing to progress.”

Written by: Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee — arts@theaggie.org