Once upon a time there was a young church organist (the youngest in the UK, in fact!), who would later be a Sony Music composer and achieve over 200 million streams.
Where It All Began
His name is Alexis Ffrench, and it wasn’t just his local church who were able to witness (with their eyes AND ears!) his soothing, reflective piano creations. He received scholarships to The Purcell School, The Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and gained what he described as a “warm, challenging and demanding” education. However, this was an education that unfortunately lacked inclusivity, and thus sparked Ffrench’s passion to reach out to children of all walks of life, to invite them in to receive the same top-class schooling as he.
Alexis starts with the acknowledgement of how his love for roots music, R&B, hip-hop and other popular genres are integral to his musical endeavours. He said that “I aspire to be non-denominational in how my music is viewed. Even calling yourself a ‘classical artist’ is a barrier of entry to many people. My music has a classical signature in its DNA, but it’s borderless, a synthesis of many styles”.
He grew up listening to legends like Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Ella Fitzgerald, and today highlights his utter admiration for hip-hop artists and how they are able to market their complex musical ideas to mainstream audiences. A comparison between Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and Bartok’s “Out Of Doors” suite is probably not one you would expect, but Alexis is able to join the dots across vastly different genres and make us see that perhaps they are not as different as we may have thought!
A Career to Be Proud Of
And thus, Alexis’ career has gone from strength to strength. His albums Dreamland and Evolution both reached the number 1 spot in the classical music charts, which is an incredible feat. He has also partnered with some fantastic organisations and artists like The Princes Trust, MJ Cole and Marvin Humes.
Let it be known that Alexis Ffrench is setting the stage for anybody who wants to learn, play and enjoy classical music. Whether you consider yourself a firm member of the classical music world, sit on the side lines because you don’t “know enough”, or if you’re tentatively dipping your toe in for the first time; Alexis will welcome you in with open arms.
Classical-soul, FOR the soul - this is potentially the best way to describe what Alexis Ffrench does with his piano compositions. Gentle and beautiful, as a listener you cannot help but be carried away amongst the sweeping orchestral soundscapes that Alexis creates, and you can be sure that you will happily float along like this for as long as it will take you!
RSL Featuring Alexis Ffrench!
And the best part of it all? We have the privilege of including not one, not two, but three of Alexis’ compositions within our syllabus. In our Grade 2 Classical Piano syllabus you’ll find the stunning “Together At Last”, from the 2018 Together At Last EP (perfect for this time of year, we must add!). Grade 3 contains “Bluebird”, Ffrench’s most streamed track, with a modest 32 million of them. We’d recommend checking out the version on Spotify which is sure to satisfy all of your string section cravings! Finally, we’ve included “Shine” in the Grade 6 syllabus, which means you can enjoy Ffrench compositions at all stages of your piano journey. What could be better?!