Yoann FreeJay (Fréget) is a singer of extraordinary warmth, talent, grace and musical diversity. He has been a dedicated vocalist since his early childhood as his father, Eric Fréget, singer, pianist & songwriter, was his first inspiration, while his mother, Emmanuelle Fréget, used to do backing vocals on his father's songs.
Yoann's musical career started as early as the age of 15, soon after he discovered Gospel music through a concert of the well-known choir 'Gospelize It! Mass Choir', directed by Emmanuel Pi Djob - one of the most famous Gospel music pioneer in France, originally from Cameroon. This concert was a deeply transformative musical and spiritual experience for Yoann.
Only a few months after, Yoann succeeded the audition to integrate the professional ensemble of nearly 100 singers, and quickly became not only one of the very few soloists of the choir, but also the younger one, giving a stirring rendition of 'Amazing Grace' at every concert, and touring France with the group for more than 3 years.
Through this unique experience, Yoann benefited of an intense initiation to Gospel music by Emmanuel Pi Djob and was deeply impregnated by the inherent search for freedom and peace that comes along with this music, which never ceased to be one of Yoann's stronger musical influences.
By the age of 18, Yoann began touring as lead singer for various popular gospel, soul, and rhythm & blues bands around France, such as BRBB (Otis Redding Tribute Band) , The Soul Travelers Gospel Quartet , Gospel Shakers and Gospel Jam . He also created his own band at the time, along with a tribute for Stevie Wonder .
Later on, Yoann appeared as soloist in the most famous European gospel choir, 'Gospel Pour 100 Voix' ('The 100 Voices of Gospel') . His talent was nurtured and enhanced through collaboration with excellent American gospel singers, such as Linda Lee Hopkins, Jean Carpenter, Francine Ealey Murphy, and Tori Robinson. While associated with 'Gospel Pour 100 Voix', he performed on some of the most prestigious stages in Europe, including all the Zéniths, Paris-Bercy Arena, and Brussel's Cirque Royal in Belgium.
THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
In 2008 and at the age of 21, Yoann graduated as a Music Therapist from the University of Montpellier. While there, he worked extensively with children suffering from autism, and teenagers with stuttered speech syndrome (SSS). In the latter case, Yoann was teaching from experience, as he himself has been affected by severe stuttering disorder from the age of 3 to 19 years old. He totally overcame SSS through the practice of music and meditation.
That same year, Yoann also started to conduct his own gospel choir, 'Le Choeur Enchanté' and to give singing workshops all over Europe (England, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, etc...).
STUDIES IN INDIA AND FIRST TOUR IN NORTH AMERICA
In 2010, Yoann made a life-changing journey of five months to India, in order to deepen his knowledge of music therapy and Indian classical music. He came back renewed and musically transformed by this unique experience in total immersion in the Indian culture.
A few months after, Yoann was invited for his first solo tour in Canada , and USA . During 3 months, he performed more than 50 concerts in various cities and toured US from New York to Los Angeles. He inaugurated a personal performance style which featured concerts entirely a cappella, emphasizing on the unique beauty and moving expressiveness of his voice. This enabled him to present his music to a whole new audience and captivate new listeners, and to sing, for the first time of his carrer, as guest in the black community churches, where his performances were overwhelmingly well-received , and where he truly felt home. After this first US tour, Yoann's desire to live in America was born.
RETURN TO FRANCE AND VICTORY OF THE "SANKOFA SOUL CONTEST"
When he returned to France in 2011, Yoann won first place in France's largest Soul music competition 'The Sankofa Soul Contest' , while singing two songs by one of his musical heroes, Stevie Wonder . Yoann's contest prize was to travel back to the US and have the great opportunity to perform, with Erykah Badu's musicians backing him up . This concert was specially tailored for him in Dallas, Texas. Yoann also used that great tour experience to travel to New Orleans, where he was invited by his friend and New Orleans native, Craig Adams, a popular American Gospel organist and singer. Craig invited Yoann to sing as guest in many influential churches of New Orleans, accompanied by him on keys. These new experiences gave to Yoann inspiring and powerful immersions into the African American culture and music, with the common ground of an incredibly good reception from his Gospel and Soul music raised peers whenever he performed.
|AMAZING GRACE, Dallas (USA, 2011)|
WINNING THE WORLD FAMOUS TV SHOW "THE VOICE"
On 18th May 2013, Yoann won the world-famous TV show 'The Voice' in France. With an incredible rendition of 'The Greatest Love of All' , receiving a standing ovation from the studio audience at the middle of the song, Yoann was selected by all four judges to be part of their respective teams. The judges were astonished to discover such a singer in France.
With more than 7 million viewers each week - and 10 million during the final show - during 5 months of airing, Yoann won over the hearts of millions of people. During his journey on 'The Voice', he covered some of the greatest standards of vocal music, from Pop ('Earth Song' / Michael Jackson; 'Vole' / Celine Dion; 'Calling You' / Jevetta Steele) to Soul ('Man's World' / James Brown; 'Can You Feel It?' /Jackson 5; 'Free' / Stevie Wonder) to Gospel music ('Amazing Grace' / in duet with his coach Garou). He did so with extraordinary vocal agility, dexterity, and a humble spirit that endeared him to audiences throughout Europe.
FIRST ALBUM IN FRENCH, SOUNDTRACK OF "BEAUTY & THE BEAST", AND MORE
On the 6th January 2014, his first album with Universal Music France, 'Quelques Heures Avec Moi', was released. This record emphasized great melodies with deep and yet accessible lyrics by famous writers like François Welgryn (Celine Dion, Garou, etc) and Jacques Veneruso (Celine Dion, Johnny Hallyday, Tina Arena, etc), his amazing vocal abilities, and a great crossover of French pop and American soul music. One of the songs on the album, 'Sauras-tu m'aimer?' was specially chosen as the worldwide soundtrack for the biggest movie of the year in France (36 million $ budget), 'Beauty and The Beast', directed by Christophe Gans (with Vincent Cassel & Lea Seydoux as first roles). The movie garnered the number one movie spot in most countries where it has been aired, and allowed Yoann's music to reach a broader international audience.
On the same year, Yoann was invited by the international pop singer Lara Fabian (30 million records sold worldwide) to record a duet ('On Se Retrouvera') on the album 'Les Enfants du Top 50', which met great reception of the French public when performed live on French TV channel M6.
Ever since, Yoann has been performing as a solo artist for sold-out shows all over France and abroad (Mauritius, USA, Canada , Belgium , Switzerland , Nigeria, etc...). He has also been invited to be the opening act for stars as Will I Am (for his AccorArena concert in Paris) or for collaborations with composers such asVladimir Cosma (one of the most prominent soundtrack composers in France).
Always involved in the act of giving, Yoann has been dedicating an appreciable amount of his time to sing for humanitarian events and charity galas in the whole world as well (Eva Longoria's Global Gift Gala, Les Restos du Coeur Belgique, Les Femmes Dynamisantes de Clarins, Tout le Monde Chante Contre le Cancer, Les Petits Princes, Arthritis, Leurs Voix pour l'Espoir, etc).
Official Soundtrack of "Beauty and the Beast" (French adaptation by Christophe Gans)
(biggest French movie budget of 2014)
BETWEEN USA & FRANCE, PERFORMING AND COMPOSING...
On May 2016, Yoann obtained the US Visa for 'Artist with Extraordinary Abilities', for 3 years , and has been living between New York City and Paris ever since.
In US, Yoann has been performing in front of thousands for prestigious venues, as in one the most mythical place for Soul Music in Manhattan: 'The Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar'. He did so under the mentorship of the legendary Motown composer Valerie Simpson ('Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'I'm Every Woman', 'You're All I Need To Get Bye', etc...) and multi-awarded movie-director Euzhan Palcy ('A Dry White Season', 'Sugar Cane Alley', 'Ruby Bridges', etc), who chose him as her artistic nephew.
He also sang as Gospel singer in renowned US churches (as Donnie McClurkin's PFC, Hezekiah Walker LFC, Harlem Kelly's Temple, Pleasant Grove, etc), for International Music Conventions in Las Vegas (Thomas A. Dorsey's 2017 GMC, James Cleveland's 2017 GMWA ), and special events as the Annual Holliday Tree Lighting of Manhattan's Washington Square Park, or the NYC Couture Fashion Week at Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan.
Currently, Yoann is dividing his time between his performances for special events world-wide and the songwriting of his next album, in English, which will reunite with complete artistic freedom his various and rich musical influences, with the assistance of the best musicians.
Listen to YF 1st album (2014) :