Frenchie Davis

"The Voice" and "American Idol" Standout Discusses Her New Single, Debut LP, and Coming Out

Frenchie Davis

Frenchie Davis, the name brings many things to mind. After stealing the national spotlight on the first season of NBC's "The Voice" as a Top Four Finalist, as well as season two of "American Idol," her single "Love's Got a Hold On Me" is currently a Billboard Dance Hit Smash.

She is currently working on her debut LP, "Just Frenchie," a collection of original material written specifically for her. Having conquered Broadway as a cast member of "Rent" and the Grammy-nominated revival of "Ain't Misbehavin," Ms. Davis has it going on.

With a Christmas single due to drop and her recent "coming out," Frenchie is a force of nature, not to mention a vocal powerhouse to be reckoned with.

Frenchie truly desires only one thing: "I want to live my life to inspire people to be brave and courageous, to believe in themselves and never take no for an answer."

MS: I was playing "Love's Got a Hold On Me" right before you called. When I was listening to it, not that you sound like her, but you remind me a lot of Donna Summer.

FD: Oh my gosh, that's a huge compliment. I love her!

MS: The reason for the comparison is that Donna was the only Disco I could stand, as vocals were the focus, not just the music and the beat.

FD: Exactly! That's what I've been wanting to do with my upcoming album and this single: bring good strong vocals back to dance music. I grew up listening to dance music, people like Jocelyn Brown and Martha Wash, so the dance music I grew up with featured singers with big voices.

MS: Speaking of big voices, you were on Team Christina Aguilera on Season One of "The Voice".

FD: It's funny, you know when I realized that I liked her? It was when we were getting ready for the Battle Rounds and she told us we would have to sing "Single Ladies" and the girl that I was battling against, I think, saw that as an opportunity to turn that into a Gospel song.

I remember Christina giving us the pep talk saying, "Listen, I want to hear you guys be able to sing with control, and no over singing. Even I'm guilty of it, but we're not going to do that." I'm like, "OK, Christina, I like you!"

MS: There is always that danger of overdoing a song.

FD: I agree, and I hope to be an example of that balance.

MS: What I love about you is how in your "The Voice" interview you mention what happened with you getting kicked off "American Idol" as a blip, nothing. You just move on and you don't have any regrets.

FD: Regrets are a waste of time. They're just the past crippling you in the present. By all means whatever negative feelings you need to allow yourself to feel, do it, because sometimes you have to let yourself go to that place so that you can move on. The important thing is that you move on, in the end you always stand in your own way. Sometimes we are our worst enemy and we block out our blessings better than anyone else can do it.

MS: You have a really great energy, we live in a funky world and need people with your focus who can bring us to a great place.

FD: Thank you.

MS: What's up with the "Mad Max" theme for your video "Love's Got A Hold On Me"?

FD: You know what, it sort of evolved into that. The director/choreographer Brian Friedman decided to shoot it in the Mojave Desert. When the dancers came and I saw all the clothes the wardrobe stylist had brought, it just sort of evolved into this "Mad Max" thing. I went with it because I love that stuff.

MS: Also, you had a really great Broadway career post "American Idol".

FD: I've always loved theater, it was my first love. It was the thing that made me realize "Oh my God, I love to sing!" When I was a little girl my favorite movies were musical movies. My major in college ended being Musical Theater. I would watch "Annie" and "Little Shop of Horrors" on VHS (laughs) immediately after school.

MS: Not to get too personal, but you sort of kind of pseudo came out recently.

FD: It wasn't something that I planned on doing, because far as I was concerned everyone who needed to know, knew about my sexuality. My friends, my family, my loved ones, the person I am sleeping with. At the end of the day those are the only people whose business it is really. It's interesting when someone uses the phrase coming out when in actuality I had already been out. I do recognize the significant difference between being open and honest with your loved ones and allowing media scrutiny into your personal life.

So, did I allow the media into my personal life? Yes, I was doing a media interview and I answered a question honestly and that answer ended up being a headline: "Frenchie Davis Comes Out".

MS: Yeah, I read about it on The Huffington Post just before you called. I think being out there helps other people.

FD: It was important to just be honest and not give ambiguous answers in interviews to me. I like to tell it like it is.

MS: You still consider yourself bi-sexual and I know there is a lot of animosity towards that in the gay community.

FD: One of the things that made it so important to me to be who I am, is not only to combat homophobia in the straight community, but to also help combat bi-phobia in the gay community. I have the same take on homophobia in the black community that I do on bi-phobia in the gay community. I think it's apalling that a group of people that know what it's like to be discriminated against can justify bigotry towards another group of people. I get certain groups of people may not understand it, but unless you are screwing me, you don't need to fucking understand it.

MS: So, you really didn't come out, you got real.

FD: Exactly!

MS: How's your album "Just Frenchie" coming along?

FD: Yes, I am "Just Frenchie" (laughs). I decided to name it that because I have been on all these reality shows and people are familiar with my voice, but they are hearing me sing other people's songs. This will be the first time I am singing songs that haven't been sung by anybody else, they are just me. It's going to be mostly dance music I definitely will throw on a few power ballads, but, knowing me, there will probably be numerous dance mixes for those power ballads. It's exciting to be able to merge my love of soulful singing with my love of dance music.

MS: You are also releasing a Christmas single really soon.

FD: I want the single to be perfect. I meet people all the time that say, "My mother loves you, we watched you on 'The Voice'". So I am doing this for all the moms out there that love me.

She's "Just Fenchie" at www.frenchiedavis.org.

Photo Credit: Robert Ector

Michael Shinafelt
Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.
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