Interview with popular, new and rising singer Daniel Francourt aka ‘Daniel’ |30 July 2022
‘My interest in music has always been stronger than me’
He is suddenly a singer whose songs are being shared and many people are talking about how good his lyrics, musical arrangements are but more remarkable his voice. The new and rising singer is gaining popularity and gradually creating a name for himself on the music scene.
He is no other than Daniel Francourt, known simply as Daniel. Meeting up with our journalist this week, he was eager to share his musical journey, his interests and excerpts of his life.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us who is Daniel
Daniel: My full name is Daniel Francourt and I am from Anse à la Mouche. I used to live with my parents but now I am living on my own with my partner. I am 21 years old and I attended primary and secondary school at Anse Boileau following which I enrolled on a course at the Police Academy.
I followed the course through and graduated from the Police Academy but unfortunately I did not become a police officer but rather I decided to pursue a different career path. I chose music. This is when I started singing in various hotels and restaurants. It all started with one gig then it became two until now…
Seychelles NATION:Who or what inspired or inspires you?
Daniel: It is a tricky question…honestly it is music itself that inspires me, not somebody but the sound of music, the melody, the sound of live instruments, cultural music as I am a big reggae fan. I love reggae music. Actually I love every genre of music but when it comes to producing and composing, I find myself attracted to reggae notes and reggae beats. I compose my own music then I take the demos to the studio.
Seychelles NATION: Right now what is your career and what are your hobbies?
Daniel: Right now I am fully focused on my singing career and the next step is to produce my album. I have five singles for now, so the plan is to release my album next year. I have already started working on it.
It is definitely something music related. I play a bit of the guitar and in a way it helps me to do my own demos. I also had to start learning to play the keyboard. I am not really good at it yet but I can put something together. I also dabble in drumming as well, particularly the acoustic drums.
Seychelles NATION: How has your family, friends and partner reacted to your singing career?
Daniel: It was quite difficult. Very difficult in fact because when I was in secondary school, I started to show my great interest in music but I met with some negative reaction. Everybody wanted to discourage me from considering a career in music pointing out that it is not a proper job, that I won’t get a monthly salary from it. From there it was very hard for me.
It was then that I started to turn my interest in another direction while considering an eight to four job. I was fascinated by police work so I said why not become a police officer? Even though I also wanted to work in tourism as I just love the smile on clients’ faces when they are happy and you are there with them.
After all my reflections, in the end I opted for a police officer’s course at the Police Academy. But during my second year I decided that I no longer wanted to be a police officer. My interest in music has always been stronger than me and my love for it was growing and I was loving it more and more.
I started getting passionate with performing as I also kicked off my first gig at the start of my second year at the Police Academy. I wasn’t scared or anything because I used to perform at school during the Festival Kreol and other activities. I started playing my guitar and singing at small events.
A professor at my school helped me with my guitar and my singing. Singer Antoinette Dodin also pushed me very hard. She was one of the main people who helped me to get to where I am today. As a youth, you know, you’re scared to get on stage but she was always pushing me, saying; ‘Daniel, you can do this, you can do that’ because she saw something in me. It was a bit scary at first. The transition from being on stage at school to singing for tourists and other guests is completely different but slowly I adapted.
Seychelles NATION: You’ve been on the chart with the track Drive as number one for weeks now and went down a week or two then shot back up to number one. What is your reaction to this, were you expecting people to react that way to the song?
Daniel: Honestly when I do my music I don't expect anything. I always focus on doing the best I can, give all my energy and all of me. So the results shock me sometimes…yes, especially about the charts because every time I listen to the chart show the song goes down from one to two. Last Sunday when the results were announced, I was surprised because I was expecting that maybe people wouldn’t want the song back in first place again and the record to be broken. I was truly surprised but excited at the same time.
Seychelles NATION: You now have two songs that are doing very well and are very much appreciated and they are Drive and Lakle while you’re quite new on the music scene. How does that make you feel?
Daniel: I honestly feel great. Singing and performing was something I always wanted to do. But I do miss singing in hotels by the way, because it was a different feel, a different ambiance playing for tourists. I love the slow music genre, I love blues, so I miss this part of my life. But I am adapting to this other stage in my career now. It is a big transition for me. It’s very difficult. I get lots of criticism but also a lot of praise and encouragement.
I do get the satisfaction and feel good when people keep encouraging me to continue doing good music. But there are also those people who say things like ‘you could have done better’, ‘you can’t do this’, ‘you can’t do that’, ‘you can’t just sing, you won’t get anything out of it’. But for me it is criticisms like these that make me stronger and push me to do better each time.
I want to thank my uncle for his advice and wisdom. He was the one who encouraged me and dragged me along at the beginning when he went to perform at the hotels. I accompanied him and played by his side for three to four years since post secondary. Today I am really grateful to him. The proof is there, because he has been living off his music all of his life. There is proof that I too can earn a salary through music and live from it. But when I was younger and had just started doing music, I have to admit I experienced pressure, stress, a lack of energy just to do the kind of music that I wanted to do. In the end I had to sacrifice my music to satisfy my parents because they were not happy with my decision. It caused quite a lot of friction in the family because sometimes I’d get a gig and other times there was none. I also keep dreadlocks and I was smoking a lot so I believe that made it more difficult to fit into the singing lifestyle in the beginning. Now I don't smoke anymore, I’ve never drank in my life and I‘ve realised that smoking is not good for my career. I cannot sing and smoke at the same time. So I put smoking aside.
Seychelles NATION: So what or who inspired ‘Drive’ and ‘Lakle’?
Daniel: My songs are based on past experiences. It was during Covid-19 when I was not getting any gigs. So I said this is a good time to focus on my music as I was sitting idle at home every day. I had no money, no work but all my time. I always wanted to compose my own music as I was tired of doing covers. It was fun but I wanted to experience what it would be like to put my own music out there. I then did my first single which was not about love, it was about life. I didn't get this kind of response because I was new to the industry and the subject did not relate to everyone.
This is when I thought of what people can relate to, what attracts them the most. I realised that it had to be something that touches me personally, so if I have been through it or going through it then maybe others are too and that was love and relationship experiences.
Drive is not a love song but it is about the experience I had, like everyone else, when people who are special in your life start to move away from you before eventually you feel you have lost them. This is because bit by bit we drifted apart. It just happened. These are people you cared about, your friends, anyone who was there before and meant something to you.
For Lakle I have to say the truth. It was an experience of how my partner and I met. It was how she met me at that time. As I said in the lyrics how my hair was messy, there were holes in my shirt and I was broke. Now that I have a manager, I try to be more ‘elegant on the streets’. I am still like that, when you see me on the streets, you’ll see me in old clothes, in shorts, because I always say to myself, even if I make it, or push my career to another level, I’ll always remain my old self; wearing the same clothes and just being Daniel. While the main part of the song is how we met, the last verse of Lakle is how our relationship is going. Usually I’ll never do this.
I actually wrote this song one night or in the early hours of the morning. We had had an argument and I couldn't sleep and a tune I got from my producer ‘Muga’ was stuck in my head. He is the one behind my music. He gave me a piece of instrumental music and told me to see what I can do with it. I remember I told him that it was a good piece. There was nothing to say about it then. I wrote one verse of the lyrics at a time. The last part, also the sad part, I wrote it the night we argued. The other parts came after the situation got better. So the song has been there for some time, since last year.
‘Drive’ was a combination of experiences – my producer, my manager and mine which is why it is very emotional, which is why it is also not about love.
Seychelles NATION: Drive has been very successful and it still going strong so why release Lakle now?
Daniel: What was difficult is having a song that touches me emotionally, that I think about every day and knowing others can’t listen to it. That was a problem for me. Another reason was also the fact that I have only four songs out and when I get bookings it is not enough. So then I thought, this one must come out. There is still more good music that I want to release, that I think of everyday, but I have to wait. It is the start of my career and I am super excited, I want everybody to hear my music so now I have to be patient till next year.
Seychelles NATION: We also noticed that the title of your songs is one word and in the songs itself, it is not repeated like in the songs of other artists, it is mentioned only once or twice. Why is that?
Daniel: It was Auspicious who gave me the idea. We are good music partners and friends. He helps me a lot and gives me good advice. I am also there for him musically as he is for me. For the title of the song Leson I was thinking about some other title, looking for a word for ‘lust’ but we couldn’t find it and in the end Auspicious said why don’t you call it Leson. In itself it was a lesson and I remember Auspicious told me ‘simple is always the trick’. I had been searching for that big title, big headline and then it clicked, I realised Leson is the perfect title. Drive was also the same, it was about drifting and that was it.
Lakle is the most interesting one because the good thing about it is how I met my partner. I was being myself and she was being herself. So that is the key, being your true self together. We are not trying to be anything else other than who we are. You can’t impersonate someone because after two, three years they figure out that this is not you and you were doing it for the sake of the other person. Everyone is asking me for the key, and there is a key, it’s right there. It is also asking for the key to her heart, cherie donn mwan lakle, because you’ve known her for some time, you’re asking for full access to her heart.
Seychelles NATION: Since you released the song, there are many memes out there. What do you think about them?
Daniel: It is quite funny. Seychellois are very fast and they got a lot better at making the memes. They have good catch phrases and animations. I find it really funny and at the same time it shows that some people really want to push you, really love your work and are grateful for it, because so far all the memes I’ve seen are good memes.
Seychelles NATION: Will we be expecting any music videos in the near future?
Daniel:This is a big question. I am asked this question often. Actually I am going to meet with my manager soon so we can discuss. We are going to lay it out, but expect it before the end of this year, most likely October.
Seychelles NATION wishes Daniel all the best in all his projects and future endeavors.
Photos by Louis Toussaint