Having been born and raised into a family of musicians, Isaac French '14 knew he wanted to pursue his own passion for music after graduation, but was unsure of how to begin. He began working at a restaurant to make ends meet while playing at small venues in Burlington and his hometown of St. Albans, Vermont.
Four years later, French spent his days working at a local school, providing support for students with academic and behavioral challenges, while still playing gigs on weekends. He played more than 100 shows this year, solo and alongside Giovanina Bucci and Michael Brewster as part of the trio Nina’s Brew. Now, his weekend gigs take him throughout New England and New York.
After many sleepless nights, French recently made the decision to quit his job and pursue music full-time. The timing is intentional. He will soon celebrate his birthday with the release of his first album, “Human Being.”
“Human Being is a double entendre to me,” he said. “We all deal with struggles and heartbreaks as human beings, but it’s the way you learn from them and treat others that really matters in the end.”
The album’s lead single “Better This Way,” is streaming on the digital music service Spotify and is available on iTunes. One of 10 original songs on the album, it has been streamed more than 20,000 times.
“Honestly, it’s been a long time coming for me,” French said. “I started writing this album a couple years ago when my life was in a state of flux and I was trying to find my path and follow my dreams at the same time. The fact that it’s finally finished and about to release feels so amazing when I look back on the journey.”
French, who studied Communications and Music at Castleton, became recognized around campus after he began to post covers of popular songs to his Facebook page. He was also a member of Vocal Unrest, Castleton’s a cappella group. As his artistry grew, so did he repertoire. With powerful vocals and strong piano and guitar accompaniment, French has become a versatile artist whose abilities span a broad range of genres.
His style has garnered invitations to play alongside some of Vermont’s most notable musicians, including Castleton’s own Mihali Savoulidis and Twiddle. French performed at Grand Point North, the Burlington-based music festival that’s the brainchild of GRAMMY-nominated musician Grace Potter, in September.
“This was the biggest and most professionally produced show that I’ve played and the experience was unforgettable,” he said. “Moments like those always motivate me to keep working as hard as I can and I appreciate everyone that has been part of these experiences.”
French is looking forward to building on these experiences and sharing his music with as many people as he can.
“Human Being” will be released on Nov. 24. You can follow French’s music journey on Facebook.