Frenchie, what’s the inspiration behind the guise The Naked Eye?
The Naked Eye is a collaborative project that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years now. Centred around me and my songs, the name felt like the perfect way to continue working with others that shared my vision. I actually spotted the name on a poster on the tube (Bethnal Green I think) and the words really resonated with me.
This is a very collaborative project with friends and musicians, do you find it easier to work alone or as part of a larger collective?
Both really. I love writing on my own and getting lost in my own imagination, but I also love working with others as there’s a greater scope for creativity with the songs. I think it’s a magical process to collaborate with different creatives of all types, not only musicians but dancers, artists, photographers and film makers. It’s something I’m working on at the moment for the future, and I’m finding it so inspiring. I think the arts are so interconnected, and their combined affinity always creates a more immersive experience.
The jazz influence is so apparent on this debut EP, have you always enjoyed this genre? and who are some of your favourite jazz artists?
Yes, I’ve always loved singing and listening to jazz. From a young age I was deeply moved by the voices and musicality of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker. My Dad would always play Frank Sinatra classics, especially around Christmas, and I guess I kind of learned how to sing and develop my style by listening to jazz. Later I discovered and fell in love with Sarah Vaughan, Joe Pass, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and many more. I’ve been singing jazz in bars, restaurants and clubs around London for a few years now, and it’s a big part of my life, influence and education.
I really enjoyed the inclusion of your native tongue in the introduction, do you find it easier to write songs and in a broader sense communicate in French or English?
I’m so glad you enjoyed the French intro! It was very important to me to make reference to my roots on the EP as I’m half French and was raised for half of my childhood in the south of France. I find it easier to communicate and write in English as it’s my first language, but I have previously written and performed in French. It’s a beautiful, romantic and seductive language, and recording the intro was a very special, sentimental moment for me.
Your artworks are so immersive and representative of your sounds, who did you work with on those?
The EP cover was created by an amazingly talented artist called Jack Hardwicke. I discovered him through a friend on Instagram and instantly fell in love with his ethereal and cosmic style. I sent him a mood board of ideas that I’d created as I had a pretty clear vision of how I wanted the music to be represented in the artwork, and this was what we came up with. The elements of water and fire were essential as well as a photo of my pupil/naked eye.
The photography was taken by the lovely and talented Jacob McFadden, who really understood my vision. I was inspired by a Klimt painting called ‘Judith and the Head of Holofernes’ as it was very symbolic of what I wanted to portray in the cover for the first single ‘Embrace Me’.
The portrait was inspired by a photographer called Edward Steichen as I loved the soft focus and moody, atmospheric 1920’s style. I really wanted the imagery to mirror the music’s mysterious, vintage style with a modern twist.
Now that you are London based, do you have plans to tour this material now that is has been released?
Yes definitely! I’m currently in the process of writing and recording new material to flesh out the live set and working with some really talented musicians to make sure any future shows are faithful to the recordings.