So what then? - A new Biography by Franz Robert WILD
I remember as long as my memory lingers on... I've always been obsessed by music. At home we only had vinyles and radio to listen to. And as a young one I was already listening to the albums we had for hours and hours. Back then, even though I was a kid, I recognized the great place music has for us, humans. I was the last in my brotherhood and my sister and my brother already teenagers used to bring back home new music stuff from time to time. This was the era of Abba (really famous then in Europe) and soon came the opening album of Phil Collins, with the hit "In the Air Tonight". Since we are French, there was a lot of french music at home. My mother used to listen a lot of tapes then, and my father, only instrumental stuff with treacly arrangement and half naked women on the cover (the only way to sell that kind of music!!). That's the way I was introduced to beatles standards. But as long as I remember, even if I loved some of the French artists, I've grown up with an evolving appetite for English music, alone. The very first 45 vinyl I bought was Stevie Wonder "I just called to say I love you". This song's really good for sure and I still love it. This song was a very good start to begin with my own collection ! My first attempt to write music intentionally was by recording my voice a capela on the tape-recorder of my father. When I realized one day that I would never get anywhere with it, I had already met someone playing guitar and very skilled, maybe ten years older than me. His name was Jean-Marc Birbet and I had my very first recording with him. I came up with my very first song called: "Why did you go away?". A story about someone in the family gone too soon, by the age of 20. This first attempt was a premise of what would occur several years later in the studio. I remember trying at that time to figure out how to play my "brand new" used guitar. A classical model for kids, bought to a friend in Elsass. I was determined to write my own songs, but I had a huge problem of rythm and skills.
In 1995, I went to the US for a whole month. California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona. I came back home with the idea of a song, I later call "My heart belongs to California". The lyrics were really naive, but my friends used to love this song as far as I remember. I went to the house of my friend Vincent Brault (who later will take the photo used on the first version of this website). We had an appointment with the guitarist Jean-Michel Perez and Vincent played the bass. We used the 4-tracks tape recorder of Jean-Michel on that occasion. This was the very first multi-track recording I ever did. I added my harmonica on one of the track when back home.
I remember in 98 being in a real studio for the very first time, 10 days after the birth of my daughter. It was in the purpose of recording professionally the first version of my song "Urgent". One night I came back home after the session with the sound of the organ at full blast in my ears. That's memories that last! This song has an amazing signature with its incredible 4/5 mesures length songwriting. We recorded three songs and I had an appointment at Chrysalis Label, Paris (who was to join EMI the very next year). But no contract was signed despite the fact the man loved so much the song. He was very impressed. But it wasn't a hit single in his eyes. We had a conversation during an hour, which I would know later on was a very big exception. The 3 first demos produced by Jean-Charles Thouault including 9 songs ---- 1999 ---- 1- Urgent 2- Traverse la rivière3- The Centre of your love ---- 2000 Wildissime ---- ---- 2001 ----4- T'allumes et t'as chaud 7- Faut qu'tu danses5- Je bois de l'eau 8- La vision6- Maguy 9- Toi & moi
SECOND PERIOD : SEEKING TO FIND A WAY THROUGH After this first period of work under the patronage of Jean-Charles Thouault, I needed to work on my own. I recorded 10 songs with local musicians and worked for a year with a bass player named Dominique Page. This collaboration took place in 2002/2003. A dark period came for me when he commited suicide after 12 month of collaboration. I ended up doing no more music at all during one year. It was something really hard to come up with. Only the support of artists such as Sophie Lemaire (Canadian french artist) was enough to help me. I finally went to Paris in 2005 and recorded there with Charles France a song named "Bora Bora et rien que toi". I received a good support on this tune and a good audience answer. People who knows the song keep telling me about it. Charles gave me a lot of information about songwriting and was really kind. He did some nice things on this tune, very simple and effective. But my lyrics were always too bad for French audience. France has a high definition of standard regarding lyrics. I never matched this definition, but I don't care about it. French imagery doesn't fit in my brain like english one does. After this period I was chosen by Francis Cabrel, a famous French artist to assist one of the training course he used to organize with his association "Voix du Sud", in Astaffort. I met him there for the first time. He was calm and impressive, like a statue. He's truly a real good songwriter, as to French standards, but not only! I wrote 4 songs at the session, but only one been chosen: Tendrement, co-written with Celine Garnavault. She did great lyrics on it. I wasn't good at all for the purpose of the session. Co-writing was not my stuff. Except when each one works on his own and come up with changes. I was no good and I knew it, and professionals there knew it too. I had an obsession since many years with several attemps at writing songs in english. Time was passing by and no real project was on its way. In 2008 I met Jezz in a local studio. Nothing was really clear, obvious, but we liked each other and got into a nice relationship thereafter. He produced 3 songs of mine at that time. First attempt in English since many years: I'll say it again (lean one me) was the best song, but to high for my voice, some notes were too hard to reach. It's been a real good track to learn what songwriting is all about in regard of range. You have to understand your limits and accept them. There was also another one called "Le chantier" from my 2006 Voix Du Sud sessions + a new version of "Bora Bora & rien que toi" with special guest on it: Joël Gonthier - on percussions. Joël is a very skilled percussionist from La Réunion island. A THIRD PERIOD: Support frOm other artists - Fly on little wing Art is what count most to me. But saying business is a crap will not change anything. Nonetheless pure art is essential. I never been obsessed by writing a hit. And that's one of the reason I stopped to work with Jean-Charles Thouault. He was always trying to run into a hit... Well... but easy is to say you don't care about business and so hard in the same time to live by your music. In 2008, my life has been into a new and unexpected swing. That was the year I left my father's business to become a professionnal musician and live by my dreams. This was a special period. Free from previous chains and doubts I started to work with Stéphane Guibourgé, a French novelist. He was trying at that time to write lyrics. It was new for him. And we honestly thought together having a very good song among the 5 songs co-written. This song was called "Le Lion de Barcelone". I had a little bit of money and finally, I organized a session at CDM studios in Toulouse. A famous place who completely burned few month after. Jezz showed up at this session with a new musician, a terrific musician : Oli Le Baron. He was still touring at that time with the big French success of 2006/2007 (can you imagine one singer selling 1,6 million of CD's in France alone !!). This session is today lost for good. The studio burned several month after the recordings and my hard drive died with the session inside at home... so long! But I still have one or two rought versions with Oli playing acoustic guitar. What's making me very upset about all these sessions was the limited time we had for a miracle. But that's the game and that's today's reality. We never did anything with this track. The final part has been held by the studio, and for a reason I suspect, he tried so hard to push the production into the music business level that it finally had no sense and no cohesion with the song. And for most of the songs you do in France, people don't find lyrics very nice and finally decide the song isn't good enough, because of the lyrics. What a crap !! That being said, June came over and the opportunity to meet one of my previous inspiration: As a teenager, I was listening a lot to Toni Childs. Yes. Union was and still is, despite its horrible 80's reverb sound on some tracks, one of my favorite album. Toni has such a beautiful organ and she knows how to appeal her audience and reach out to it. Where's the ocean is one of her major tracks with Zimbabwe. It's too long here too count the story, but having been in contact with Toni, she invited me to join her as she was in Paris to shoot her video for a new song. Followed an entire afternoon in private. She has an incredible spirit of generosity and hunger for life. We started a song together which finally came up later as being the song "Counting Colors" (Featured on "The French House" album). Toni has been a huge support until recently, taking her time to give me advices during skype sessions. I owe her a lot. She is involved into a complete new form of art today. I'm still following what she does very carefully. She is a tremendous inspiration. THE MAKING OF THE FRENCH HOUSE