As Christmas approaches, Southern Comfort are aiming to put themselves firmly into the cocktail market with a new campaign that saw musicians Frankmusik and Remi Nicole journey to New Orleans to find the popular drink’s birthplace. To celebrate the launch, I met with the up-and-coming stars at an exclusive event exhibiting the images from the trip and full to the brim with SoCo.I was, rather unprofessionally, already tipsy from the cocktails on offer when I sat down with Remi and Frankmusik (real name Vincent Frank) for a chat about albums, celebrity friends, and the struggles facing aspiring singers. Both had been eager to participate in the campaign, not least because of the chance to visit New Orleans, which Frank – whose recent releases ‘Better Off As Two’ and fan-favourite ‘Confusion Girl’ have even caught the attention of Justin Timberlake – sees as the birthplace of pop music. ‘It’s really odd being in the centre of something so important,’ he said, ‘the place where jazz began and where pop music evolved from’. For Remi, whose second album ‘Cupid Shoot Me’ is adding to the solid fanbase gained from 2007 single ‘Her Mr Sunshine’, the shoot was a little more harrowing. ‘I guess I was the first one to shoot’, she says, seated beside her striking shots posing with the SoCo cocktail, ‘and it was quite early in the morning and roasting hot! But I didn’t care! I was in New Orleans!’
Both Remi and Frankmusik enjoyed solid success with their first records, but are yet to explode onto the mainstream. Despite this, they’re equally enthusiastic to prove themselves; in fact, Frank sees immediate success as more trouble than it’s worth. In response to my suggestion that the statement reeks of envy, his response is earnest. ‘If you look at someone like LaRoux, who’s done so well so soon, how are you going to pull off the second album? You’re never going to match the exposure. I want longevity, and I feel that I’ve got a second chance with my next album’. The two singers are clearly used to a struggle, but Remi’s resolute; ‘It’s fucking difficult’, she admits, ‘It’s annoying. But I don’t know what else I would do. You’ve got to do the shit before you get there’. If everything falls through, Frankmusik could, he explains, always go back to fashion – he dropped out of the London School of Fashion to pursue recording – but his heart clearly lies with music. ‘The degree worked for about a year,’ he recalls, ‘and then I realised I’s rather lose everything and start again with the full passion. I’d rather fail at something I believed in.’
Frank welcomed the transition from fashion to music and was relieved when his family and friends followed suit – ‘as soon as my nan saw me on the TV and my mum saw the album, they’re happy’. For Remi, though, a good friend has unintentionally posed another hurdle, as counting troubled songstress Amy Winehouse as a firm pal has led to inevitable comparisons. She has no intention of ditching the beehived one though; ‘I love my friends regardless of who they are’ she resolves, ‘I’m not going to not be friends with people because of what people will say. And if I’m being compared to successful artists, then who cares?’
Clearly Remi Nicole and Frankmusik are names set to be heard, and while Frank’s ambitions are to maintain a fanbase and relations with his ‘super happy’ record company , (‘I don’t want to be a popstar as such ‘ he insists) Remi’s got bigger fish to fry. When I ask what she aspires to achieve, she replies ‘Royal Albert Hall, with a full orchestra’. ‘And what about definite future plans?’ I ask. ‘Royal Albert Hall, with a full orchestra’, she says with a smile; ‘It’s going to happen.’ Pre-book your tickets now, because if determination is anything to go by, you’ll definitely need them.
For more on Southern Comfort, see bigeasycocktails.co.uk