Arthur Forcione a.k.a “Arthur The Artiste*” is a multi-talented singer-songwriter who is ready to change the status quo of the music industry. A very different and uniquely wired musician Arthur isn’t afraid to break the rules and push the boundaries of our perception with his deeply layered and well-crafted songwriting.
Born in Miami Beach, Florida, and raised in New York City. His drive, focus, and tenacity will him to become a relentless and emerging force in the independent alt-pop circuit. Arthur The Artiste* is making music that is driven by a desire to motivate, inspire, and tell his story his way.Born into a French-American family, he also has Italian roots. He attended a French high school and found his passion for creativity in his later years.
He graduated from the University of Chicago and worked in finance for a short spell before turning to music as the vehicle by which he would express himself. He uses his experiences and musical acumen to create a combination of unique and experimental sounds that often dabble in multiple genres and result in alternative fusions that are still firmly stitched together by emotive undertones. Arthur cites icons such as Daft Punk, Avicii, Kanye, Kid Cudi, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Bob Dylan, and Billie Eilish as pivotal influences in his music.
Written, produced, and mixed entirely by Arthur himself, the album has already garnered 50K streams on Spotify and is lush with sparkling melodies and extraordinary yearning. Taking listeners on a spectacular, dreamlike journey through the artist’s intimate thoughts about love, this heartfelt collection will also inspire fans to take control of their future and rewrite their own story.
What’s your story as an artist?
In the beginning was Star Wars. Haha but really, I was going through a tough time in college and George Lucas’ space epic really inspired me to come out of my shell—much like Luke Skywalker did in the movies. I always knew I could sing. I used to sing along to all the Disney musicals when I was a kid, and my favorite alt songs when I was a teenager. But I was so shy I never did anything with it. And in college I was going through the turbulent transition from childhood to adulthood, you know, like when you have to face who you are going to be and what you want to do with your life. Tough questions. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I watched Star Wars and realized I wanted to create something that would inspire future generations. Because Star Wars was so weird, and creative, and cool. And it gave me the confidence to just be myself and stop hiding in my dorm room. So I started doing theater, which was very out of the norm for a guy like me. I was an economics student who played rugby. Like the total opposite of all my theater peers.
In doing theater I learned how to perform, and tell stories, so after a pretty dramatic chapter of unrequited love I started writing songs for myself. It was empowering and helped me process the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling at the time. Still, I was too shy to share it with anyone. But as I kept growing, so did my confidence, and eventually I mustered the courage to share my songs with my friends and family. They liked them. So I decided instead of trying to get a studio to give me 500million dollars to make a Star Wars movie that I’d just make a music album. A much cheaper and more realistic endeavor. And, well, I had a story to tell: the story of a shy lonely boy who dreamed of being a rock star, the story of one who came out of his shell to pursue his dream in adulthood. So here I am as Arthur The Artiste*, a musician.
What do you want your music to communicate?
I want people to feel inspired after listening to my album. If you’re lonely, shy, or a little different, I’m just like you. I know how you feel. These songs are the instantiation of a lonely and wandering imagination, but I learned to embrace the weird. Life is way more fun that way. And my favorite artists…they are all strange. You look at Kanye, Tyler The Creator, Freddie Mercury. They’re so weird. They don’t hide it though. As an adult you realize that makes you more interesting. You just gotta b who you want to b, B.
What are some sources of inspiration for your storytelling?
I have three major story telling inspirations. First, Star Wars for the hero’s journey. The story of my album follows the Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell laid out in his book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” and which George Lucas famously used to write Luke Skywalker’s arc. I invite people to guess what stage each song represents.
Second, a bunch of themes from Anton Chekov’s plays and short stories are echoed all over my album. Whether it’s the seagull simile in “Project Dreams” or the way I describe returning home in “Home”, there’s a lot of Chekov’s influence in my writing. He’s just so, so good at putting into words some of the things I think about on a day-to-day basis. I even followed his six axioms for writing fiction religiously. Be honest, be brief, no jargon, be objective, be daring, and be compassionate.
Finally, I incorporated a lot of what I learned in my musical improv class into my songwriting. There is nothing more difficult that I have done in my life than to make up a song on the spot and sing it to an audience while having it tie into a greater collective narrative. Once I did that, songwriting became easy. But more importantly I learned all the different song types in a musical: “Opening song,” “I am song,” “I want song,” “Duet,” “Revolution song.” Whether it’s starting with the chorus instead of the verse, or whether to opt for the AABA format instead of the traditional Verse-Chorus, I was equipped with a lot of different options for how to structure songs and tell a story because of that class.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
I’m a Kanye stan. Always have been. I have like 10 different pairs of Yeezys. I went to his Yeezus tour at Madison Square Garden when I was in high school and wow, what an amazing experience. He has so many bangers. His songs cut deep and have amazing production. He’s just different. I like him because he’s so weird and his music is so free. He’s the most important artist alive right now and I don’t think it’s even close.
What’s the record or artist that made you realize you wanted to be an artist?
Star Wars inspired me to be creative, but Billie Eilish’s When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? inspired me to be a musician. The fact that she and her brother wrote, recorded, and produced that album in his bedroom is amazing. And it swept the Grammys! That made me realize that the door was open for me to find success from my own bedroom. The music on that album is also incredible. It was so different from everything else on the charts. It’s dementedly dark, deeply personal, and it transcends genre. I think people will look back on Billie’s debut album as revolutionary.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
The deluxe version of my debut album Project Dreams dropped on Friday October 22. It has the ten original songs plus two new ones. First, a slightly different version of “Blue Moon” but in the key of C. And second, a brand-new song “Love Project,” which is kind of a banger. It was the first song I ever wrote—summer of 2018 in LA. But it’s also the latest song I produced.
Project Dreams is an album I’ve been working on for three years now. It all started in that lonely apartment in LA so far away from home. I started writing music for therapeutic reasons. I didn’t have the intention of showing it to anyone. But as I kept writing more and more songs, I realized I was capturing a story. Eventually I started sharing my songs with my friends and they really liked them. They encouraged me to keep going and share my project with the internet. When I graduated university all I wanted to do was work on my album. I kept writing, learnt how to produce, and started buying equipment to get it done. When the pandemic hit, I was locked inside my house all day, like everyone else. And that gave me the perfect opportunity to dedicate all my time to making my album. I built a home studio, recorded all the different parts for all the different songs, and mixed them into the final product you can listen to today on all streaming platforms.
What inspires your sound?
I’m a singer/songwriter at my core so I have a lot of influence from Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and The Beatles in the songwriting. But my favorite songs have a lot of electronic elements. Daft Punk, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Billie Eilish and Avicii are my favorite artists, so I pulled a lot of production ideas from their work. “Hey Brother” by Avicii, especially, became a huge reference song of mine for successfully mixing an acoustic folk genre with popular EDM. A lot of my songs are about mixing the old with the new. It’s kind of like what Star Wars did with Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
What’s your favorite tune of yours?
“Touch” by Daft Punk. It’s a masterpiece. I always liked really long songs. I think when an artist comes out with an 8-minute song they’re basically saying: “Hey, this is my magnum opus.” Just look at “Runaway” by Kanye or “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day. Also masterpieces.
Of my songs? That’s a tough question. I’d say “Somebody.” It’s the closest song I have to a Daft Punk song. Also, I like to party and it’s a fun party song with a catchy hook. I remember showing a very early version to my friends and their positive reaction gave me the confidence to keep going.
Where are some things you really want to accomplish as an artist?
I just want to inspire people to be creative and free. Kanye West said it best: “We need to surround ourselves with the artists because the artists are the most connected, the most truthful, and their dinosaur never got killed.” I think most people, as they grow older, get caught up in this weird momentum that nudges them towards working boring jobs they hate, dating or marrying an incompatible other, and settling for a mundane life. That’s why there’s so much despair in this world. We only got one shot at this. I look at my childhood, you know, running around the playground with my friends pretending we were Jedis, and wow, that was the best time in my life. I was so free and life was play. I guess when it came time for the transition from childhood to adulthood, I refused to put my toys back in the box. I was an Economics major at the University of Chicago. All my peers were going on to work for big consulting or banking firms. I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to be happy. Like when I was a kid.
Favorite lyric you ever wrote?
“I’ve been asleep in my nightmares, my nightmares” from my song “Nightmares.” I like it because no one knows what it means. Even I don’t know! I was just sitting on my couch playing the melody on my guitar and the words came out. My roommate at the time in Chicago turned to me and was like “wow sick lyric. I love…but what does it even mean?”. We both broke out laughing. Good times.
Was there ever a moment when you felt like giving up?
No. I don’t quit. And I will not give up until I have exhausted every option. As long as there is at least one person somewhere in the world whose day was made just a little better by listening to one of my songs, I’m happy.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A guy who wrote for Queen told me something along the lines of: “As songwriters we make music to make the girls dance, right? If you can make the girls dance you are going to be successful in this industry.” I think it’s funny.
Where do you think the next game changer will be in the music industry and entertainment scene?
I think NFTs could really change the game and give power to independent artists. They allow artists to create scarcity for their products. Right now, the music itself is the least profitable element of an artist’s business. Money comes from merchandise, shows, and endorsements. But a musician should be focused on the art first and foremost. The art should be the main money maker. I don’t like labels. They prey on the young and poor by signing them to unfavorable deals that alienate them from their labor. I think we live in a world where artists don’t need them anymore. I saw an independent artist sell NFTs of her album for $3,000 a piece. Steve Aoki made millions selling his album as an NFT recently. I’m all for it. NFTs allow the artists to sell directly to their fans, set their prices, and determine the supply. They also allow early fans to invest in an artist kinda like a stock. Think about it. Imagine the gains today had you bought—if it existed—an NFT of Kanye’s “College Dropout” when he wasn’t nearly as famous. Yuge! An early NFT investor in Kanye’s music career would be getting wealthier as Kanye grows more and more successful since the demand for that NFT would grow with every new fan. You see it happen with merchandise, but that’s not music. And that’s my point. Power to the music. Power to the artists. Power to the fans. NFTs are the way forward.