Lyric Video: Mathieu Saïkaly’s Intimate and Gorgeous “If it’s all a choice”

Mathieu Saïkaly is a French electronic music producer and artist, who started his career in earnest when he turned 17: Saïkaly started a YouTube channel that initially featured recordings of the French producer and artist doing covers — but gradually he began releasing original material. Much like countless other young artists across the world, Saikaly started developing and honing his own style, discovering what resonated with him. Writing and singing lyrics in English and French, Saïkaly searched for ways to make his knowledge of both languages work together on a project, which he improved upon each year. 

When Saïkaly turned 20, he started to go out beyond the confines of his bedroom. He didn’t quite know where or how to start a music career but his friends told him he should sign up for Nouvelle Star. He wound up winning the 2014 season — singing an Elliott Smith song in the final. He was signed to a major label and released his full-length debut, 2015’s A Million Particles, which featured the viral hit “From Glass To Ice,” a song that amassed over four million streams on Spotify.

When he turned 24, the French producer and artist decided to go the independent route: He created his own label, which released his sophomore album, 2019’s Quatre Murs Blanc, an intimate and impressionistic album that focused on emotions first and the story second. The album featured album track”Mama Oh I Swear,” which amassed 400,000 Spotify streams.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Plus jamais te revoir,” a trippy and mind-bending track centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios and Saïkaly’s achingly tender vocals. The end result was a song that felt like a vivid fever dream. His latest single “If it’s all a choice” further cements his reputation for being a restless experimentalist, who constantly alters his sounds and approach.

In the case of “If it’s all a choice,” Saïkaly has crafted an intimate song centered around a sparse yet gorgeous arrangement featuring the French artist’s expressive vocals accompanied by strummed, acoustic guitar. Thematically, the song deals explores the role of free will and that of fate in all of our doings — particularly when it involves affairs of the heart. And perhaps more than any other song in his catalog, “If it’s all a choice” seems the most informed by deeply personal, lived-in experience.

“I keep exploring. I changed my way of producing. My two albums were recorded in studio, I observed a lot the sound engineers, I learned a lot,” Saïkaly says in press notes. “Today, I feel able to translate my music, to make things sound the way I want. And that unlocks other ways of creating. Alone, you don’t have a time limit, unlike in the studio.”