What do you get when you mix a little bit of heartache, a touch of Jameson and a healthy dose of soul? Symone French.
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Symone's earliest memories are of her parent's eclectic tastes in music. Her father, a collector of vinyl records, encouraged her musical exploration early on by introducing her to acts such as Steely Dan, Hall & Oats and Bonnie Raitt. Her mother, a product of the 70s, helped develop French's love of soul by adding Teena Marie, Donna Summer and Prince to the mix. Those influences cultivated the sound that audiences across the Gulf Coast have come to identify with French's diverse stage show.
While French grew up singing and entertaining, she struggled for years with stage fright. It wasn't until 2011, when she met the Mobile-based ensemble The Deluxe Trio that French built up the nerve to take her talents to a professional level. The trio, comprised of Steve Varnes, Phil Proctor and Stan Foster, mentored her and forced her to join in with them at local gigs. Their "get up here and sing" approach to coaching French would prove to be fruitful. Very soon, it was apparent she had a natural presence in front of an audience.
Following her tenure under the tutelage of The Deluxe Trio, Symone joined Infant Richard and the Delta Stones in 2014. Over the next three years, the group established a dedicated following in Mobile and surrounding cities in the region. The group opened for touring acts like Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and Nashville soul-country duo Muddy Magnolias. Other highlights for the band during French's time in the group include multiple nominations for the Mobile-based alt-weekly newspaper Lagniappe's Nappie Awards and the recording of two EPs. French made her songwriting debut on the group's 2017 project, When the Smoke Clears. The six-song EP received praise for its themes of multidimensional love, self-reflection and redemption. Shortly after release of the EP, French left the group and set her sights on a solo career.
Since her departure, French has been declared one of Mobile Bay Magazine's "On the Rise: Artist to Watch", won a Nappie award for "Best Area Voice" and competed in national talent competitions (The Voice, American Idol). With a new, dazzling routine in tow, French is continuing to write new music in anticipation of her upcoming EP, expected in 2020. In the meantime, you're likely to catch her chasing behind her rambunctious toddler - all the while looking fabulous, feeling fantastic and ultimately being free.