If you haven’t heard the name, The Naked Eye remember it, because you’ll be hearing it often soon enough. The project of London-based singer-songwriter Frenchie specialises in a unique blend of jazz, alternative and soul. We featured The Naked Eye back in 2014 and since then Frenchie has spent the past two years toiling, and the result is a deeply personal, broad ranging and varied collection of songs that make up the recently released self-titled debut EP. The six tracks that make up the record draw from a mixed bag of styles, but all perfectly showcase her beautiful voice. We chatted with the rising star to discuss her influences, losing a years worth of work, the EP and more.
Q. Hi Frenchie! First thing’s first – how are you and where are you?
Hello, I’m good thank you. I’m currently in my bed in Bethnal Green, London, on my laptop drinking tea. Life is pretty good right now!
Q. Can you introduce yourself and your project The Naked Eye?
The Naked Eye is a collaborative project I started about 2 years ago. I had a collection of songs that I’d written and wanted to record with a collective of musicians friends. I wanted to choose an artistic name that wasn’t my name. I found the title ‘The Naked Eye’ on a poster on the underground and it really resonated with me. I love its meaning.
Q. Congrats on the EP! How does it feel to finally get your hard work out there to the world? What’s the reaction been like?
It feels amazing! It’s like I’ve given birth to an overdue baby haha! It’s been quite mind blowing having people from all around the world contact me about it, and I love hearing about their journeys with the songs.
Last week I was invited to a dance class at Studio 68 and saw the incredibly talented Zoe Marsh teach a class her choreography to ‘River Of No Return.’ It was a very emotional experience to see a packed room of dancers dancing to my song and singing the lyrics…I was very touched and blown away.
Q. You lost a year’s worth of work due to a faulty hard drive. How did that affect you and how much of the EP is entirely new material?
It was a blessing and a curse that a whole year of work was unfortunately lost when producer Charlie’s hard drive burned out and lost all the original files. We had to start all over again, however, it fuelled my passion for the tracks and allowed me to take a step back and think about how to improve them. There was originally an album of about 12 demos but these 6 complimented the story and sounded better as a small collection, so it became an EP.
Q. It’s clearly a very personal recording. What have you learned about yourself during the writing and recording of this project?
I can’t write lyrics unless they’re directly personal to me. Like many artists and songwriters, I find it very therapeutic and healing. There’s a notebook/diary that I carry with me at all times and even sleep next to!
I definitely learn a lot about myself, my relationships, patterns and emotions whilst writing, almost as if it’s a self analysis. For example, ‘Burned’ is the most exposing song I’ve ever written. The lyrics are very direct and cutting and although I could never speak about those feelings, I guess the song was my way of communicating and understanding what I felt. Recording all the songs, the hard work and patience that went into releasing this project, has been an experience of many lessons and emotions but overall something I am so proud to have collectively created.
Q. Your music doesn’t fit comfortably into any one genre. Can you describe your sound in five words?
Um… Alternative, jazz, soul, ambient and broken-beat.
Q. If you could meet an artist dead or alive, who would it be? Also, how have they influenced you as both an artist and person?
Oooh, that’s a good question but so hard! I’m going to choose Nai Palm, the lead singer from Hiatus Kaiyote, as I had a dream about her last night haha.
I think she’s an incredibly talented, beautiful and mystical creature. I feel very deeply moved when I hear her sing. She’s been a huge influence for me, and I love her philosophy on life as well as her music. She really stands out as a musician and a human being because she’s suffered so deeply but bravely transformed her pain into a positive and creative outlet, inspiring a whole generation of musicians and singers like me.
Q. If you had to listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Oh, that’s impossible! But for ages I’ve been listening to ‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead. It’s an album I always turn to and escape the world.
Q. What’s next for you? Any gigs? Videos?
I’m in the process of writing and recording new material to flesh out the live set. I’ve been working with some really talented people and planning an exciting surprise for you all to unravel very soon.