Mathieu Saïkaly is a French singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and artist. whose career started in earnest when he turned 17: Saïkaly started a YouTube channel that initially featured recordings of the French artist doing covers, but gradually he began posting original material. Much like countless young artists across the world, the rising French artist started developing and honing his own style, discovering what resonated with him. Writing and singing lyrics in both English and French, Saïkaly searched for ways to make his knowledge and facility in both languages work together on a project, which he gradually improved upon each year.
When he 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 try out for Nouvelle Star, the French version of American Idol. 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, Saïkaly decided to go the independent route: He created his own label and 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.
Now, over the course of the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about the rising French artist:
- “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.
- “If it’s all a choice,” an intimate song with a stripped down arrangement that featured Saïkaly’s yearning vocals paired with 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.
The French artist’s latest single “Neptune” continues a run of gorgeous, stripped down, folk-leaning material in which Saïkaly’s yearning vocals is accompanied with finger plucked acoustic guitar. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Neptune” evokes a sense of heartache and loss.
“‘Neptune’ as Saïkaly explains in press notes “is about a feeling before a separation. It’s about that moment when you realize that you’ve lost the other person . . .We are at the last stage, the last planet before we leave the solar system. A planet where the storms are the size of our world.”
Directed and edited by Eric Noir de Chazournes, the accompanying visual employs a simple concept: Saïkaly performing the song on a cold night through brooding an uneasy shadows.