Francois Klark is a singer/songwriter/producer from South Africa.
Klark unveiled his debut album “Love” on May 25th which includes the singles “Spaceman”, “Run” and “Please Stay”.
The South African artist has already shared the stage with major artists including Grammy winner Jon Bellion, Ginuwine, Shawn Desman, Karl Wolf and Sebell.
The Toronto-based is now offering an orchestral version of his latest single “Please Stay”, which was arranged by award-winning composer Kristjan Bergey who composed for many television shows such as Murdoch Mysteries” (CBC), “Wynonna Earp” (Space/Syfy), “Frankie Drake” (CBC), “Remedy” (Global), “Cracked” (CBC).
“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,” says Klark.
His debut album “Love” is now available everywhere.
Introduce yourself. What’s your story?
I’m a small town South African choir boy, graphic design drop out, music graduate now living in Toronto, Canada. I spend most of my time on mountains, anywhere that is close to trees and large bodies of water, and behind my baby grand piano writing songs. I was born in a small town, Rundu, in Namibia but spent most of my life growing up in South Africa. Being surrounded by the beauty and rich culture of SA instilled in me a deep love for world music. As a result I find that music from different cultures often bleed into my music production choices.
What or who introduced you to the musical path?
My mom was the first to introduce both my sister and I to music at a very young age. Mom somehow found time to write songs of her own in her downtown and often made us part of the process. She would play guitar and make up songs with us. I eventually started singing in my school’s kids choir and it was there that it all just took off like wild fire.
When did you start singing and writing songs?
I remember writing little songs while sitting in front of the piano from as early as the third grade.
Do you remember one specific moment in your life where music made a huge difference in your life?
Yes, the day my decision to study music lead me to the moment when I sat on a plane headed for Canada. Music completely changed the course of my life that day.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
It was during my 2nd year of Graphic Design studies at the University in my home town, Potchefstroom. I entered a song into the University’s songwriting competition. The winner got the opportunity to perform their song in the Sanlam Auditorium in front of nearly 1000 people. My song was selected as that year’s best original composition, which in turn meant that, well…somewhere I had to get the courage to play that big venue. Up until that point I have never sung in front of such a large audience and only ever played piano in front of my parents and siblings. I suffer from a fair bit of stage fright, but somehow had the courage to step out on the stage by myself & play the song that night. The performance went well and the idea that I could pursue music as a career started to take root.
You released your first album "Love” this year. When did you start working on this album?
It’s been in the making for a really long time. One of the first songs that made it on to the album was penned in 2015.
What are the different topics you talked about on this album?
’Always’ is about coming to terms with every aspect of who I am. ’Please Stay’ tells the story of a long distance relationship that is falling apart. ‘The Only One’ explores my relationship with music as I was growing up. Some of the songs on the album I wrote to tell made up stories (‘Run’, ‘Spaceman’, ‘Giving My All’). I wrote ‘For You’ in order to unpack an issue that I am very passionate about - children’s rights, freedom, and safety. The song is also very closely tied to my childhood and my love for my home country, South Africa.
Why did you name your album “Love”?
I chose to name the album ‘Love’ because I explore different types and aspects of love with the songs on the album: Love in the form of compassion for someone or a group of people that you might not even know personally. Love between lovers. The love someone hopes to find with a person whom they are still searching for. Love as a passion for something that you like to do. Superficial love. And then finally the selfless love a creator has for it’s creation.
My main focus for this album was to reflect on the positives of love, however, some songs delve a little deeper into the complexity of love and I briefly touch on the danger of superficial love in ‘Run’.
What was the hardest part about making this album? And what was the best part?
As an independent artist with no label support and initially no grant funding, the hardest part was finding time to work on the album. The best part was working with musicians and industry people who I love and look up to.
What can you tell us about your latest single “Please Stay”? What’s the story behind it? Who wrote/produced it?
‘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.
I wrote and produced the song and then approached award-winning composer Kristjan Bergey to write the orchestral arrangement. Brandon Unis, a talented mixing engineer and producer from Toronto, co-produced the reprise at the end of the track with me.
What made you want to release an orchestral version of this song?
It was important for me that the initial album version of the song was very bare in order to convey the helplessness and loneliness in the narrative. However, since the story in ‘Please Stay’ is told in quite vivid detail, I felt that the song lends itself well to a more cinematic approach and therefor decided to release the Extended Orchestral Version.
Do you use songwriting as a form of therapy?
In a sense, yes. Songwriting has definitely given me the chance to explore and better understand the things that I think about, that bother me, or feel passionate about. It is during the writing process when I sit all alone behind the piano that I feel most like myself - alive and happy. Recording and performing these songs are incredibly liberating and freeing and something that I am very thankful for.
What do you like the most about making music?
I love how making music connects you with people all over the world. Whether by physically taking you to places or indirectly when someone somewhere in a small town in a far off corner of the globe hits ‘play’ to listen to a song you wrote.
What do you want to accomplish as an artist?
I want to write good and honest songs that mean a lot to not only me, but also to someone else. And…play a concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Any upcoming project?
Yes - An acoustic EP with accompanying live in studio videos of the acoustic sessions.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
If we sat down and talked to, and listened to each other as we do with the people who we love the most.
What’s your purpose?
To live for, and do life with all my fellow brothers and sisters - to love, to help, to share in hardship, to bring hope and joy.
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