Diane French grew up near Los Angeles studying classical music. Beginning at age 5 with the violin, she learned viola, piano and woodwinds. Her father was a physicist and music afficianado and her mother was a schoolteacher, a pianist and vocalist. "They wanted their kids to have the same love of music they did. Of course, anyone raised with that sort of classical regime will tell you it has the potential to completely backfire."
At age 15, she dropped music completely, vowing never to play another note. Nearly 10 years later, she became friends with several artists - musicians, writers and painters - who inspired her to consider a return to music. Later at an instore performance by recording artist Jim White, French bought a cheap electric guitar that he was selling. He told her that he'd only sell it to her if she promised to write songs with it.
She taught herself some guitar and eventually sat down to revisit the piano. "People naturally assume I'd spend more time on the piano since I'm more familiar with it. But at this point, the guitar is where I'd prefer to write. Because I don't have a preconceived notion of its geography, I end up stumbling into places that feel very interesting to me."
In 1999 French released her first recording, the self-produced "Egg And Anvil Sketches". The sparsely produced six song EP reveals the intimacy of French's intoxicating vocal style and intelligent lyrics. With her latest release "No Cool Bone", French teamed up with drummer John Vecchiarelli and guitarist Todd Ayers for a fuller sound, including a performance by experimental jazz trumpet-player Ron Miles.
Influenced as much by painting and poetry as by music, French's songs combine abstract images of internal and external landscapes with tonal progressions and lyrics that are familiar, but remote enough to challenge. She tends towards arrangements that are spare and sketched, with limited production."I always feel grateful when an artist leaves room for me in their work. I try to return the favor and let people breathe."