With several of his articles appearing in the editorial of the Quebec newspaper Echo Vedette in 2000, Franc O’cher made history.
At that time, the English-singing French Canadian singer-songwriter was regarded as a crucial discovery.
He finally returned in 2022 with a new single, “SO,” after leaving the scene in October 2000 for personal reasons. A new song by Franc O’cher, “Stars At Night,” an independent soft pop/rock tune, debuts in 2023. Check Out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
FRANC O’CHER: I’m a singer songwriter from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I’m a proud French Quebecer, but also love to sing in English. I am currently in northern New-Brunswick since the last 6 years. It all started at the age of 12 when my older sister was chosen to shoot a commercial. I remember that in my young head, seeing her on TV, I knew that I would be a musician one day. But it wasn’t until the age of 15 that I started on the guitar and wrote my first song at the age of 16. At that time, between the ages of 16 and 30, writing songs was done with disconcerting ease! Every intense moment of life was found in a song.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
FRANC O’CHER: Unfortunately, not, when I was young, I thought I was invincible. So I learned it all on my own. Today, I wish I could tell my younger self that it’s ok if you want to work hard to learn but it’s also ok to learn from people who already have a lot of experience. It’s only makes us stronger, and not weaker.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘FRANC O’CHER’? Bryan Adams and Corey Heart. 2 different styles, but 2 Canadians that made their way and had great success. The hoarse voice Bryan Adams and his Pop/Rock style was really getting me. For Corey Hart it was, of course, his music, but also his cool style!
FRANC O’CHER: The name FRANC O’CHER is simply the 5 first letters of my first name and the last 5 letters of my last name. Before I was telling you that I’m a French Quebecer. So, my full name is FRANCois duROCHER. But shhht 😉
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
FRANC O’CHER: I like to mix acoustic element with Soft-Rock and Pop. In that order. My writing style was always most melancholic but hopeful. There is always a good ending in each story. Because yes, we all have love story to share. Good or bad. But there is also stories about the feelings. The impression and sentiment need to be felt behind the words. And that is what I am trying to do.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as FOLK?
FRANC O’CHER: Honestly, I don’t know if it was really the right choice to make. But I tried not to listen too much to other people’s music, not to have too much influence.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
I think politics and religion are hot topics that I personally don’t want to talk about. Everyone has their own beliefs. What is white for one may be black for another. Music for me is a vehicle for the expression of emotion.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Being an independent artist is hard. Very hard. We spend 80% of our time trying to do promotions. So, no. I don’t receive as much as I give. But, my primary goal is to share my love and life experiences. And from this point of view, mission accomplished!
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
FRANC O’CHER: It starts with a guitar rift. Then I mumble words that don’t make sense, until I choose the desired tune. Then I move on to writing. But this is really a base. It takes an emotion. Good or bad. It takes something that triggers my creative side.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
FRANC O’CHER: The hardest things is to be alone in all the process. Being an independent artist and being unsigned mean also dealing with all the marketing stuff. I’m not a good seller. So trying to contact everyone for me its like trying to sell a refrigerator to someone living in the North-Pole! Doing the music, the show, the creation, the practice, all this is the easy part that all musicians live for. And I am not talking about the financial part. At 52 years old. The family need to come first.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
FRANC O’CHER: Having an interview with Illustrate Magazine 😉
But I think that doing live small acoustic shows has always been the highlight. I LOVE being able to see people eye’s reaction and emotion. Doing close shows has always given me more energy and joy than big one because I receive direct energy from people.
11. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
FRANC O’CHER: I have to be honest and say that right now I’m having a hard time getting a lot of followers. I have a large number of retention on each post I make, but the problem is that these are viewed in small numbers. So to answer the question, I haven’t had a deal with the haters yet!
12. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
FRANC O’CHER: Live audience. It feels that my emotions and performance quality rise on another lever.
13. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
FRANC O’CHER: THAT’S A TOUGH ONE. CAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS PLACE FOR INTERPRETATION. BUT THE MAIN GOAL IS TO HAVE A STORY THAT FANS CAN RELATE TO IT.
Photo credits: Franc O’cher