Francis Jocky
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Francis Jocky

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States
World Soul

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"Francis Jocky - Mr. Pain"

Francis Jocky isn’t as well known as he probably should be. He’s collaborated with Jon Anderson of Yes – the two formed a band called Know and released an under-publicized CD, The More You Know, on Eagle Rock in 1998 and performed live with Stevie Wonder . And somewhere between those two poles of soul and progressive rock, with the pulsing rhythms of his native Cameroon, is where his first solo album falls.

Jocky is a sort of postmodern soul man, dipping into any sound that appeals to him, no matter what part of the world it comes from, and the resultant blend is both melodic and grooving, with hooks to please almost any ear. Song titles like “Higher Love ” and “Song Of Freedom ” give the game away – he’s not necessarily trying to shatter musical boundaries as much as demonstrate the myriad ways one can create an upbeat, thoughtful pop-soul song suite. - Global Rhythm magazine


"Francis Jocky - Mr. Pain"

With good chunks of Africa once being French colonies it's no wonder that France, specifically Paris, has become a Mecca for Francophone Africans looking to establish a singing career. From countries like Senegal, Algeria, and the Cameroon come performers who bring their own countries unique sounds to combine with the musical traditions of France and other Western countries.
The newest arrival to North American shores via the Africa France link is originally from Douala-Cameroon. He was only fifteen when he moved to France to begin his quest to become a professional musician. At the same time he also attended school and as well as honing his musical skills he received a doctorate from the Sorbonne.
With good chunks of Africa once being French colonies it's no wonder that France, specifically Paris, has become a Mecca for Francophone Africans looking to establish a singing career. From countries like Senegal, Algeria, and the Cameroon come performers who bring their own countries unique sounds to combine with the musical traditions of France and other Western countries.

The newest arrival to North American shores via the Africa France link is originally from Douala-Cameroon. He was only fifteen when he moved to France to begin his quest to become a professional musician. At the same time he also attended school and as well as honing his musical skills he received a doctorate from the Sorbonne.

He first caught the music industry's attention when he and his brother Bobby formed the band Class. They were signed to a French label and produced an album that was heavily promoted. He received international attention when Jon Anderson , lead singer of Yes, approached him about working together. In 1998 Francis and Jon Anderson formed the band Know and released the disc The More You Know.


Since then he has worked on a variety of projects with people including Bono and Stevie Wonder . Mr. Pain, his new release, marks the first time he has recorded a disc made up of entirely his own music. Not only did he write and perform all the songs but he also produced the album, so what you hear on this disc is his music, as he wants it
Francis Jocky Mr. Pain album cover
It would be easy to say Francis Jocky is an R&B /Soul musician and not lie, but it wouldn't draw a complete picture of the man's abilities or his scope as a musician. For sake of comparison the first two artists that sprang to mind as I listened to Mr. Pain were Joan Armatrading and Nina Simone . As I listened further I realized those similarities resulted from the fact they all approach their music in the same manner.

This is very much heart on the sleeve stuff, but not in the sentimental and saccharine style that prevails in pop music today. This is real and heartfelt stuff, whether he's talking about the state of the world or interpersonal relationships. What separates him from the general pool of pop music schlock is his ability to avoid cliché in his lyrics and integrate more than just the regular pop arrangements into his songs.

He uses simplicity of lyric and repetition to emphasis a point rather than melodramatically emoting in a vocal range well beyond comfort for himself and his listener. On the song "Tell Me Why ", which questions the values of people who would let children starve to death while they seek personal fortunes, the lines "Tell me why, tell me why, tell me why" are followed by "must they cry, must they cry, must they cry." The way they are sung elevates them beyond their simple appearance on paper and pulls the listener into the depths of the questioner's despair and frustration.

Of course the major reason those lyrics work so well is the central feature of Mr Jocky's arsenal as a performer; his voice. Highly trained, with superb control, he can change his vocal expression with the ease that most other performers change costumes. From soft as velvet expressions of love, pleas for understanding, to declamations of intent he is equally comfortable.
Francis Jocky In Concert
Musically he diverges from the norm with his near jazz like arrangements that allow for a far greater range of expression than what is considered Soul or Rhythm and Blues these days. Instead of either mellow funk or electro-orchestrated melodrama his music has real emotional body. Electronics are utilized but as augmentation and accentuation to what has been created by the band.

Francis himself is a gifted keyboard player, having started playing piano when he was twelve, so his own contributions extend beyond just being the vocalist in the band. On various tracks he can be found playing percussion, keyboards, guitar, and drums. Being a multitalented instrumentalist obviously is an asset for him when he is composing his songs. Their musical complexity reflects his understanding of how he can utilize various instruments to achieve the effects he desires.

For those of you who - Blogcritics


"Francis Jocky - Mr. Pain"

- Too long nestled in the safe, but stifling cocoon of formulaic compositions, the unadventurous, subdued ear will be jolted at first introduction to Francis Jocky. Then, quickly recovering from the sensory ambush, it will perk up, allowing the beauty perceived to soak into the soul. Described as the synergy of traits distinctly Stevie Wonder , uniquely Bob Marley , noticeably Ben Harper and markedly Seal, the voice of “Mr. Pain” is undeniably original and all Francis Jocky.

Birthed and nurtured in native Douala-Cameroon, and honed in France, Francis Jocky’s passion for music and skilled craftsmanship reap from a duality of rhythmic and cultural influences while drinking from a myriad of musical influences. Incorporating into his sound the jazz of Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk , and the New Orleans R&B/folk of Randy Newman , Francis Jocky’s brand of innovation has elicited the praise of Sting and Bono , and has been sought after by artists such as Jon Anderson of the rock band Yes and Stevie Wonder. After one listen to this solo debut, you too will find something to love.

“Mr. Pain” brandishes an expressive medley of jazz, funk, soul, fun and contemplative tempos, and tangible lyrical themes that will leave you reeling. “There are so many things that make you want to scream everyday. You need to express them,” says Jocky of his songs about love, humanity, and the mysterious, unpredictable world we inhabit. Blown away by the pieces “How Can I Stand ” “Sera ” and “Song of Freedom ” I hope, perhaps selfishly, that he will constantly find inspiration and cause to cry out. With this incredible project, pain is beautiful.

Reviewer: C. Lizaire new pop


Reviewer's Rating: 8.5 - The Celebrity Cafe


"Something inside so strong"

Francis Jocky
Mr Pain

Our Rating: 72 out of 100

Where Paris´ leading daily newspaper, Le Parisien, hears ´Al Jarreau ´s successor´, my perhaps less finely-tuned lugholes suggest the new Labi Siffre. It´s Jocky´s sweet, soulful and at-times-Eiffel-Tower-high voice which elicits the comparison, along with his pop/soul leanings. Anyway, it´s a world away in sound from his birthplace - Douala, Cameroon - with only the closing verse of ´So Sad ´ sung in African rather than English tongue.

Francis left West Africa for France aged 15, where he and his brother formed Class with friend Patrick Dage. Later Jocky linked up with Yes ´ lead singer Jon Anderson , recording under the Know monicker. Whilst Francis enjoyed collaborating in both groups, he, in his own words, "learned that you have to do it yourself to have real control." And so, at the ripe old age of 36, comes Jocky´s debut album. This is one horse he´s riding alone. No need for a photo finish, Francis triumphs with Mr Pain.

Matthew Hirtes - Music Shopper


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Multitalented singer, songwriter & producer Francis Jocky is something of an enigma, an artist with universal appeal and blessed with a unique voice. Raised in Paris, France and now living in New York City, Francis Jocky has developed a sound that transcends borders.
He’s rapidly becoming an international personality, sharing the microphone with the likes of Bono of U2 and Stevie Wonder, just to name a few.

From an early age he learned to express himself through music and by the age of twelve had begun playing piano and writing his own songs.
Francis Jocky has a wonderful duality as an artist, which probably has its roots in his combined educational and musical training. He is the recipient of a Ph.D. in International Relations from the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris, France, combined with being a critically acclaimed musician and artist.

Over the years, Francis Jocky continues to participate in high profile concerts. He was involved in the MIDEM music conference in Cannes and shared the stage with music genius Stevie Wonder (in Monte Carlo). The responses from the shows were overwhelming and the media hailed him “The New Sensation.” Thus he was invited to play the Nemo Music Festival (as part of the Boston Music Awards). Francis is also involved with the festival "Tout le Monde Chante“, which takes place twice a year in Paris at the mystic Olympia Hall and in Aveyron (the South of France). The festival showcases France’s entertainment VIP’s, all participating for a non-profit organization which helps children with cancer.
While his recorded music is remarkable, live performances are his strength. During a live performance with Bono, Bono remarked, “Francis, you are a star!”

After working with artists such as Jon Anderson and performing with Stevie Wonder, Bono , Isaac Hayes, Jacques Higelin, Ray Lema and Wally Badarou among many others, Francis Jocky continues his solo journey with his second solo release "SANCTIFIED", talking about love, the state of the world and the human condition.

"SANCTIFIED" is inspired by New York City according to the artist. "I have traveled the world, and there is no other city like New York. The energy keeps you moving, it's raw and it fusels your creativity. The city challenges you to be the best yet, it has no place for compassion" says Francis Jocky. It only demands the best and that was "SANCTIFIED" is.

In celebration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Francis Jocky is featured on the official FIFA World Cup album 'Listen Up'. He has been invited to join Japanese superstar Misia to sing on her song 'Maware Maware'.