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
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.