ARTIST: Clem Lo
SONG TITLE: French Rap
ALBUM TITLE: FRE(n)ch
RELEASE DATE: 02/22/2019
Clem Lo was born and raised in the south of Paris.
He got his first musical influences from there.
In his teenagehood, independent French bands like 1995 or L’entourage became huge in France and inspired him to start rapping at the age of 13.
Coming from a musical family, Clem worked in the studio with his father, his biggest mentor, and influence at the age of 5.
His first instrument was the drum but he eventually played keys with his grandmother at 6.
When he met the artist Areno Jazz in 2012, Clem decided that he wanted to make a career in rap.
At the age of 19, Clem received a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music and this experience changed his life.
Independent, but not alone, Clem has collaborated with more than ten artists in the last three years in the USA, including Mosie, GiantQueen, Lilacs, Goldspace, and Lick Neon.
His newest EP FRE(n)ch is an important one as it is mostly in French and pushes both the linguistic and musical boundaries of today’s Hip-Hop.
The EP is a reflection on the millennials and their desperate need to exist through social media, and the issues and violence…
Tell us how you build up the tune for this song.
I got back from work and I had been listening to Asap Rocky…
I had his sororities on my mind and I sat down to make a beat. I started hearing this line: “French rap… fresh trap” and thought there weren’t any French rappers that openly represent French trap, as its own thing. So I decided to make a whole flex song about French rap.
Tell us the best means of becoming a famous artist and selling more records.
The one and the only requirement to me is unconditional love and passion for music.
If you wake up every morning and the first thing you think of is making music… you should probably think about a career in music.
No matter how much money you make from music – you have to dedicate as much of your time as possible.
Then there is networking… You have to like people, meet people, and share your love for music with them. And stuff will happen that you never thought was possible.
Tell us how fans are reacting to your music.
So far people have been very enthusiastic and they want more French rap!
Explain how to deal with fear on stage.
To be confident on stage you have to be hella prepared. If you rehearse to the point you have no doubts about your ability to do your set front to bottom, then your amount of stress will be reduced.
For people with stage fright, the only advice I have is to force yourself to perform as much as you can until this irrational fear leaves your body.
Tell us your point of view on the quality of production of today’s songs to old songs and point out what you think has changed.
I think people in the industry tend to appreciate a clean sound nowadays. – Meaning, flawless production, and mix, with very digital sounding songs but also few elements in the song.
Back in the days, it was more about big orchestration and longer songs (Quincy Jones-type production). Also, music used to have more dynamics than today and the early 21st century.
But music consumers still like the raw music out there. That’s why some artists still provide a very DIY, raw production (Mac DeMarco or Kiefer for example).
Tell us any interesting experience in your music career that is significant.
Moving to the United States is definitely a highlight of my career. I have changed my way of doing music and I have experienced a lot more since I am here.
I played with a lot of bands, including Lick Neon, Lo Artiz, and GiantQueen and I have been playing my music in a lot of different cities.
My favorite experience was to go to Detroit. We went to jam one night at this jazz bar called Bert’s marketplace. My homie Wada went to play sax and he killed it so they asked us to come the next week to play a gig. It was the best Jazz show I played on drums in my life. The people of Detroit are very welcoming and I loved having that opportunity.
Tell us how you come across the lyrics of this song.
My writing process is hard to describe but the way I started getting to the lyrics of this song was by just mumbling and scatting some melodic and rhythmic ideas. Then it was just a matter of time and reflection for the words to stick to the rhythms.
Tell us your best means of expressing yourself.
Rap, Poetry, Drums, Bass, Keys… Music is the best way of expressing myself.
Tell us your opinion on using music to deliberate on issues affecting people like corruption, immoralities, politics, and religion.
I think music can change people’s way of living and thinking. The stories you can tell through music can touch anyone. It’s very powerful as it is relatable.
Music is a healer, but also a catalyst for change. Music is informative, but it can also be used for wrong purposes. Many times in history people used music as a tool for propaganda and spreading dangerous ideologies.
In the end, I think of music as a great platform to debate and say what you think, what you truly want to express. By speaking your truth you can touch people in a very special and powerful way.
Discuss how you plan to create a piece of timeless music that your fans can cherish forever.
By speaking TO them and FOR them with what I consider to be the undiluted truth.
I speak to my audience to challenge their thinking. I want people to listen to my music in 50 years and get something out of it.
I grow with my music and I think other people can grow with me.
List the names of individuals you can point out as legends and state your reasons.
Muhammad Ali: A huge inspiration to me. His fearlessness, hustle, and fights are constantly reminding me of how I have to run towards my goals and be a good person.
J Dilla: The G.O.A.T.
Miles Davis: The one and only. Miles’ music transported me in twenty different dimensions.
His music will never die and the people that he touched with his sound will never be the same.
I have not been the same since I heard him play. His unwillingness to be behind his time and constant effort to make some new sounding music is a huge part of what made me who I am.
Tell us your viewpoint on discriminating.
It’s ignorance. People who discriminate are ignorant.
Education at home and in school changes the way a human being behaves towards another.
If we teach our kids to love one another and see a brother and a sister in anyone, it will be the most important thing they’ll learn.
The education system is lacking an actual understanding of history and the truth is hard to find in a lot of school books.
A lot of media spread fake news and kids spend more time on their phone absorbing BS than they spend time trying to see the world with their own eyes.
It’s dangerous because this is how people become secluded and stuck in extreme beliefs.
The evidence is in front of our eyes with the current administration here, in the US, in Brazil, and in European countries voting for far-right leaders.
Tell us your favorite books and state your reason.
Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire
The deepest and richest poetry book I have read. It is very personal too; you can follow the poet’s state of mind throughout the years. His prose is amazing.
La Republique by Plato
The best philosophy book I have read. It opened doors to understanding the art of rhetoric and other important concepts.
Tell us what triggers your creativity.
Life and anything that surrounds me – I can be on vacation and record a sound I like, then go home and make music with it.
I can read a book and get inspired to write a song.
Everything is an art to me so I am always making stuff.
Tell us how you generate musical ideas for your composition.
I make a drum loop, to set the tempo I am feeling, and then I start messing around with my keys, or my bass, sometimes, but less often, I will start a song with my guitar. (I suck at guitar that’s why it’s less common).
Tell us your greatest song and state the reason.
I don’t have one but I will say ‘So What’ by Miles Davis on the Kind of Blue album. It’s almost unbeatable… The recording has this magic that never leaves. No matter how many times I listen to it.
Tell us how you compose your song.
Ableton is my favorite software to make music with.
Elaborate on the song.
French Rap is a big up to… French Rap. It’s talking about how far we can take French Rap, and how ambitious I am to bring the music to the top of the charts one day.
I wanted to feature at least one French song that I could put in the club in any country and that everyone would be able to sing the hook and go totally nuts on it.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Clem Lo is short and easy for people to read and say my name right. My real name is Clement Leau. Leau means water in French but Clem Water sounded wack so I used the same sonority as Leau in French which sounds like “Lo”. Everyone calls me Clem and not Clement so Clem Lo was an obvious choice for me.
The EP is called French because it’s my first integral EP in French. Usually, I rap in both English and French.