The one and only Frenchie Davis, who rocketed to stardom during the first season of NBC's "The Voice," is back in the news with a new single and music video.
The single, "Love's Got A Hold On Me," will be part of a future album to be titled "Just Frenchie." And Davis released her single cover artwork.
In an exclusive interview, French Davis speaks with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about her soaring career, shares who is her favorite judge, and talks about what it like to be LGBT in the music world.
SDGLN: Did coming out affect your situation on “The Voice,” or did you get any negative blowback as a result?
FRENCHIE: Not really. "The Voice" is very LGBT friendly.
SDGLN: Does being openly gay make any difference today in the music industry?
FRENCHIE: I think that making a conscious decision to be “true to you” can be challenging in general.
SDGLN: Frenchie, what appealed to you about making “Love’s Got A Hold On Me” as your new single? How did it all come about?
FRENCHIE: Well I’ve been in love with dance music for a very long time, but I never imagined that I would be a dance music artist. My time on "The Voice" changed my perspective on all of that because while on the show, many of the songs that XTina [Christina Aguilera] and the producers selected for me were dance songs. And every dance song that I performed on the show ended up making the Top 5 on the iTunes Dance Charts.
That’s when I realized, hmmmm … this dance music thing just might be my niche. Shortly after "The Voice," my friend-singer/songwriter Janice Robinson called me and said she wrote a song and could hear my voice singing it when she wrote it. When I heard it, I loved it, recorded it immediately and the rest is history.
SDGLN: Where was the video shoot, and how long did it take? And who directed the video, which seems to be homage of the “Mad Max” films?
FRENCHIE: It was shot in the Mojave Desert and was directed by Chan Andre and Brian Friedman, who many people know for his work as creative director of "X Factor" and choreographer for Britney Spears. And yes, it was absolutely inspired by "Mad Max."
SDGLN: This single will be part of your debut album, “Just Frenchie.” So when will the album come out and what else can your fans look forward to on the album?
FRENCHIE: The album will be out after the New Year, and the fans can definitely look forward to good singing and hot dance tracks.
SDGLN: What are the challenges of “singing” in a video as opposed to performing in the studio?
FRENCHIE: The space is much more open on a video set so you can’t hear yourself as well as you could if you were wearing headphones in a recording studio.
SDGLN: Do you follow the singing competitions like “The Voice” and “The X Factor” and the granddaddy, “American Idol,” and what do you like and dislike about them?
FRENCHIE: I don’t really get a chance to follow them closely.
SDGLN: Do you have a favorite judge? Do you think the public voting is fair?
FRENCHIE: Simon [Cowell] is my favorite. Forever and always.
SDGLN: After performing on Broadway in “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Rent,” do you have any desire to return to the theater? If so, what would be the roles you cherish most?
FRENCHIE: YES! I love the theater … it was my first love and what I studied in college, so of course I want to go back one day … and it’s difficult to say which role I would cherish most because I love every role I play … each for different reasons … but I love them all.
SDGLN: Word has it that you are working on a Christmas album? What about that, and what songs will you sing?
FRENCHIE: Well this came about because I LOVE holiday music.
I love it! And I really wanted to create something for fans who also love it … and I also made it for my fans that aren’t really into dance music but want to support me and hear me sing soulfully.
SDGLN: How have you handled the sudden fame, the tabloid chatter and the high visibility that you enjoy? How do you stay sane?
FRENCHIE: I’ve learned to never read about myself … and I try my best to stay detached from it all … I have great people around me who genuinely care and read me when I am wrong.
SDGLN: Who are your idols and inspirations?
FRENCHIE: I love so many different types of music and so many artists, but my list includes Aretha, Whitney, Sylvester, Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones.
SDGLN: What is playing on your MP3 player?
FRENCHIE: The Calvin Harris station on Pandora.
SDGLN: What is something that your fans don’t know about you?
FRENCHIE: I’m a bookworm and a bit of a history nerd.
SDGLN: Single or taken?
SDGLN: If you could have the ultimate dinner party and invite three guests (living or dead), who would be there and why?
FRENCHIE: That’s a difficult one. Whoever has the best taste in wine!
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.