French musician Mehdi Benjelloun’s current U.S. tour is his third time through the States, which this time includes a Nov. 5 stop in San Diego
Mehdi Benjelloun has no idea what he’d be doing right now if he wasn’t already an international pop star. And why should he? Under the stage name Petit Biscuit, the classically trained French teenager first started making music at age 11. By the time he was 14, he’d already released his first single.
Just a year later, he released Sunset Lover, the lead track from his self-titled debut EP. The song made it to No. 13 on Billboard’s Hot Dance and Electronic Songs chart, No. 6 in his home country, and has amassed nearly 400 million streams to date.
Last year, the DJ and producer dropped his full-length debut album, Presence, which includes features from the likes of Lido, Bipolar Sunshine, Cautious Clay and others. The 14-track collection of exquisitely produced electro-pop showcases the continuing evolution of the young producer who still has a few weeks to go before reaching his 19th birthday.
Benjelloun’s current U.S. tour is his third time through the States and comes hot on the heels of the beat maker’s first big swing through Australia. But despite his grueling schedule and continued output — he just released the dual Suffer/Safe single on Oct. 10 — Benjelloun makes sure that audiences experience something new each time they see him.
“I made an album since the last time I was in America,” he said recently from his Paris home on a much-needed short break from the road. “So I’ll be playing a lot of new tracks. And it’s also a completely new live show with new visuals and new instruments. It will be really different from last time.”
Classically trained on cello, guitar and piano, the young composer is adding more live percussion to the mix on this new run and has plans — “when I can find some time” — to learn a few new instruments as well.
He’s hoping it will dovetail with the release of a full-length follow-up to Presence. But all of that is contingent on creating a bit of space where he can do nothing but expand upon the foundations of songs that he’s already collected during his continued travels.
“I’m always working on new ideas,” Benjelloun said. “But working on the road is difficult. If I’m inspired and get an idea, I always try to record it on my iPhone knowing I can let the magic happen later in the studio. But I just released a few new tracks before this U.S. tour and plan on taking some time off to work on a new album for next year. At least that’s my thought right now.”
Currently, he has live shows scheduled through the middle of November and then starts up again in January. But it’s impossible to squeeze all of that creativity into the one window he has in his upcoming calendar. Benjelloun has always made music in a multitude of ways, but he’s looking to do more than just rely on old methods this time around.
“It’s always different,” he said. “That’s why I think all of my tracks are different. Sometimes I start with a melody on my piano or guitar. Sometimes it’s just some voices or me singing. But I think when you do electronic pop music, the best way to start is with the melody — hopefully something really catchy — and build from there. But I really want to find new ways of creating my music.”
When: 8 p.m. Monday. Nov. 5
Where: Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave., North Park