‘One To Watch’ Adam French shares his influences, inspirations and plans for 2016

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Rising star – and Bowie look-a-like – Adam French is set to embark on his first headline tour this evening. With a varied selection of songs to his name – including latest releases ‘Hunter’ and ‘Punchbag Love’ – a killer rock vocal and a sharp look, it’s no wonder the singer-songwriter has been dubbed a ‘One To Watch’ by so many publications. We caught up with Adam French to chat about his influences, inspirations and plans for 2016. 

In light of recent events, I have to start with your uncanny resemblance to David Bowie. Do many people comment on that?

It has been said. I don’t really see it myself… I’ve definitely been called worse; he was a very handsome and talented chap. Very sad.

Is Bowie one of your influences, and who else has influenced your music?

Bowie’s been a family favourite since I was young, he was very much an icon to my parents and their mates. I do like his music… I’m not sure how much it influenced mine to be honest. Although I hugely admire what he did for music in general. He was more than a musician, he created worlds around what he did, characters, costumes, alter egos. I don’t think anyone else has come close to pulling that off so successfully, or in such a cool manner.

My influences are pretty varied, I love Bon Iver and The Tallest man on Earth. But I’ve always listened to bands like Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and Bombay Bicycle Club. I was shown a lot of music by my old man as a kid, he’s a lover of Hendrix, Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker. I’ve always tried not to be influenced too heavily by any one artist… I think that’s when things become boring.

You’ve recently released two quite contrasting songs; ‘Hunter’ and ‘Punchbag Love’. How does your mood influence your songwriting?

I think songwriting is completely led by mood and frame of mind, it certainly is for me anyway. If songs are coming from somewhere real, then they’re about transferring the emotion running through you, to somebody else and allowing them to feel how you feel for a couple of minutes. My favourite songs make me feel something. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

‘Hunter’ shows off your rock vocals and percussive tendencies, while ‘Punchbag Love’ shows your sensitive side and piano prowess. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind both songs?

‘Hunter’ is a track I started writing out in Southern Africa a couple of years ago and never got round to finishing until recently when I showed the half-written song to a friend, who gave me quite a bit of stick for not finishing it. The idea behind the song being that we all share basic instinct, we all have breaking points, and not enough people treat others as they wish to be treated.

‘Punchbag Love’ is based around the fact that if you are truly in love with a person, then you’ll accept them for what they are, share their troubles and be there to pick up the pieces when it all goes to s**t. Good love isn’t always rosy.

When can fans expect to hear a full album?

When it feels right, I guess. I’ll carry on putting out EPs in the meantime. But I want the album to be a moment, I want to be proud of it. So I want to get it right.

You’ve been added to quite a few ‘Ones To Watch’ lists in 2016, does that add any pressure to you?

I don’t think it does; it’s just nice to have people being supportive of my music and backing me. There’s some great artists on those lists, so I’m just pleased to be a part of that really.

You’re set to embark on your first U.K. tour this evening, are you nervous about doing headline shows?

I’m excited for the shows, I’m normally a little more on edge at a festival or a support show because in those circumstances you’re the musical version of a cold caller. At my own shows, I know why people are there. That’s peace of mind for me.

What do you have planned for the tour?

I’m doing a couple of full band shows [Manchester and London], which are five piece, energetic and guitar led. Then I’m also doing a handful of solo shows [Leeds, York, Sheffield, Birmingham], which are as intimate as possible. I like the contrast, so I think it’s something I’ll continue.

I’m aware that the London date is sold out, are there any dates in particular that you’re looking forward to?

Manchester is the closest to a homecoming show for me on this tour, so that’s probably the one I’m most looking forward to. They’ll all be fun, though.

Looking ahead to the summer, do you have any festivals in the pipeline?

I’ll definitely be playing a few festivals this summer, but I’m due to get the schedule through in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll keep you in the loop! Thanks for having me.

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Emma Baker

Editor In Chief with a love of live music.