Taken from the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Rollacoaster. Order your copy of the issue now.
Meeting a hero for the first time can be daunting. But when singer-songwriter Clément Leroux found himself brushing shoulders with DJ idol Armin van Buuren after dropping a remix of his trance anthem “Turn It Up” earlier that month, he handled it like a natural. “It was awesome. We met in Vegas for the first time, and he told me he really liked the remix”, the 22 year old explains nonchalantly. Just two years into his career, he notes his gratitude for the “huge creative and emotional boost” that came with gaining recognition from a certified electro-music legend.
Hints of van Buuren’s electro-pop can be heard in Clément’s succession of singles (which he coins as “electronic music with tonnes of influences of pop and indie”), although he grew up on a varied soundtrack of Coldplay, Mika and Pink Floyd. He attributes his musical education to his artist Father, who exposed him to all genres – “he also tried to make me understand the genius of Mozart and Beethoven!”. The schooling undoubtedly paid off – his latest release “Alright” is a melting pot of the sounds he grew up on, blending instrumental notes with chilled electronic beats. The track was born whilst Leroux experimented with a few piano chords, an instrument the musician tells me he’s played since the age of 7, before later picking up the guitar and bass. “As the piano riff took shape, I started humming the vocal melody and got into that producer zone, because I was really feeling it.” It’s the all-round musical knowledge he’s grown up with informing his passion for the practice, both writing and producing his tracks in a labour of love. “I remember looking up at the time when I finished most of the song later that night and it was 4am!”.
Growing up in Lille, France, Clément cites his move to London at age 18 as a turning point, broadening his mind to the cities plethora of scenes and genres to inform his own sound. After graduating with a Sound Engineering degree, he quickly began lacing instrumental melodies with lyrics of personal experience and nostalgia. Amongst his first was electric-guitar driven track “Cruise” – an emotional post-breakup ode to himself, with lyrics we can all relate to (“And one year later I’m fine, recovered from my bruise / The storm behind me, smooth sailing, now I’ll cruise”).
As for the future, his debut album Circle Line is set to drop this Spring, and it’s shaping up to be his most personal offering yet. “I didn’t focus on what people would think of me. Instead, I made it because it felt right, and I’m proud that it sounds so different from what people may be used to.” Sticking to his guns, every element of Clément’s work seems to be driven by an unwavering joy for his artform. “Expect to hear catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics” he adds, “blended with jazzy chords and electronic beats.”
Having already checked the stages of Miami, Amsterdam and London off his bucket-list, he’s quickly planning his next moves in the US and Europe over the next 2 years. While the newcomer dreams of his future endeavours, I ask how he hopes his fanbase will respond to his music. “I think my songs reflect my personal experiences and a lot of people will be able to relate to those,” he decides. “These tracks are my pieces of advice” – and it’s those relatable lyrics and feel-good sounds making a name for this artist. With music in his blood and a fire in his belly, there’s no doubt this is what Clément Leroux was always destined to do.