Classical-soul pioneer, composer, producer and pianist Alexis Ffrench is the fastest-growing classical artist in the world. Not only is he the UK’s biggest selling pianist of 2020, he has headlined London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, collaborated with top fashion houses Miyake and Hugo Boss, played Latitude Festival, worked with pop superstar Paloma Faith, composed several major film scores and shares the same management team as Little Mix and Niall Horan.
His music has amassed over 200 million streams and both albums Evolution and Dreamland reached no. 1 in the classical music charts. It doesn’t matter if you prefer Bach, Beethoven, Kendrick Lamar or Chance the Rapper; there’s succour to be found in Ffrench’s universe, whether in the purity and innocence of Story Of You, the lush orchestration of Dreamland, the stunning melody of Bluebird or Walk With Us – a track for which 100% of label net proceeds and artist record royalties support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Evangelical about the power to be gained from music and saddened by the demise of music education in schools, Ffrench has created a series of YouTube video tutorials for aspiring musicians of all abilities. Passionate about ensuring music education is accessible and that young people feel empowered to find their unique voices, he delivers educational programmes on writing and producing music to young people, and has partnered with The Prince’s Trust, MJ Cole, Marvin Humes and other special guests.
Ffrench won a scholarship for gifted children to study at the Royal Academy of Music aged 10 and he was also a student at The Purcell School and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Even before his formal music education, at the age of seven Ffrench was appointed head organist at his local church in Surrey, becoming the UK’s youngest church organist. Growing up in a household full of the music of Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Ella Fitzgerald, he first honed his craft by playing the kitchen table aged four and writing his first pieces at five, his prodigious gifts convincing his parents to buy a second-hand piano.
A tragic turning point came at 23, when Alexis’ best friend, a fellow musician, died in tragic fashion. It led him to reassess his music and he became keenly aware of the importance of good mental health.
Ffrench points to the hip-hop community’s success in getting across its own complex musical messages to the mainstream. He cites the challenging music of Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak as examples of superstars doing it their own way. The mix of Kendrick Lamar and Bartok, Shostakovich and Ariana Grande is present throughout Ffrench’s weekly Sunday show on Scala Radio, a broad church where he highlights the song craft in pop and revels in classical majesty.
Praised by The Times: ‘If a single person epitomises the new push towards making classical music more diverse, eclectic and unstuffy, it’s Alexis Ffrench. As a pianist and composer he creates tonal music that beguiles newcomers with its gentleness and beauty, yet also has enough half-concealed nods to Chopin, Debussy, Satie and other historical figures to keep connoisseurs interested.’